The final defender has arrived. Netflix premiered all the episodes of Iron Fist on 17th March amid all the double-whammy of whitewashing controversies and fleet of early bad reviews. For one it came as a shocker because if one thing Marvel’s Netflix shows have excelled in, it’s the critical acclaim, which got very contrasting for Iron Fist in comparison. But the comic book fans are going to watch it regardless and approaching with an open mind is a practical thing to do. That’s how I approached it.
Finn Jones stars as Danny Rand / Iron Fist, a martial arts expert with the ability to call upon the power of the Iron Fist. If you have been following the promotional videos and trailers, you would already be aware of the seemingly familiar origin premise it has that seems like a hybrid of Arrow, Batman Begins and even Doctor Strange. And because I was already expecting it, that particular plot point was not a let down for me. I wanted to see what they do with that and where they take it.
Now the kind of reaction and impact one has, depends on the level of expectations one approaches the material with. In my case, it was low because of the early reception. But be as it may, turns out that I actually had fun watching the premier episode. It might not be the most invigorating introduction to a superhero show but it’s pretty decent. If you take out the bad marks for the hybrid plot point from the equation that I mentioned above and see how they developed it, It has most of everything in balance.
While the tone of Iron Fist is not exasperatingly dark like Daredevil, It does have a similar flow and grounded nature as rest of the Marvel’s Netflix shows. The parallels to the Arrow and Batman Begins also come with a catch that unlike those shows where the protagonist is instantly recognized and glorified by media when he returns after years-long hiatus, here nobody is convinced It’s actually Danny Rand. He is just considered a freak or some conspiracy bait injected into play, to secure the 51% of stakes his father owns in Rand Enterprises which is currently held by The Meachums. And the show does a pretty convincing job of showing why nobody believes It’s the real Danny. Because of the huge 15 years of gap between his return, the appearance doesn’t just give it away, especially when he barefoot and dressed like a hobo picking up fights everywhere.
Although Danny’s character gets awkward sometimes, his unconvincing and over-the-top way of explaining things about himself and his whereabouts makes up for a good reason why anyone is not convinced with his story. Not even his partner in crime, who is also homeless and begs with him in the beginning. The action choreography is quite different from other Marvel’s Netflix shows, this is not like the brute force of Luke Cage or the super-skills of Jessica Jones or Daredevil, this is about the dojo and martial arts and it reflects on screen.
I have seen only 2 episodes so far and I can somewhat see where the early negative reception came from. It’s the glaring parallels Iron Fist borrows from some other superhero shows and movies. Especially when Netflix is known to give a very creative treatment to their shows. But even then the plot-points with it, are developed in an interesting way. And don’t even heed the white-washing controversy. If you are a comic book fan, Iron Fist must not be missed.
Iron Fist draws glaring parallels from the likes of Arrow, Batman Begins and even Doctor Strange. And this might come as a big block to how it’s received by the audience. But if you move past that point then there are plenty of things to like and get invested into. Episode 1 does a good job to setup the premise. The action and stunts feel fresh for a Marvel Netflix series and the raise some interesting question that you might wanna uncover in next couple of episodes.