I finished Netflix’s “Iron Fist” last night and decided that my blog on it will be a little different than what I normally do. I’m going to go down some general points I liked/disliked about it. My main reason for this is because I could go on and on about this show otherwise. That said, let’s start on the positive side first.
Things I Liked
- I thought the acting was pretty good. Yes, people have harped on Finn Jones’ performance as Danny Rand, but he didn’t bother me much. I do feel he’s overshadowed by some of the other actors, though.
- Even though Danny was a bit bland (more on that later), I thought he was alright. I still prefer the leads from the other shows, however. Aside from him, I grew to like Colleen Wing for her abilities and relationship with Danny, and I also enjoyed Danny’s rocky friendship with fellow K’un-Lun warrior Davos. I initially disliked Danny’s childhood friend Ward, but by the end he redeemed himself. Claire Temple’s return I mostly liked, and there’s also a returning villain who I was happy to see despite the show’s handling of them. Aside from that, I did like one of the newer villains, though their story ended up being very cliched.
- While the fight scenes could be hit or miss in terms of entertainment, I adored Episode 6 for both its memorable showdowns and all-around comic book feel. I’d say it’s still my favorite episode of the whole season. I also enjoyed one fight that moves from being your typical hallway fight to include an elevator as well. And there was this one hilariously awesome fight with a drunken member of The Hand that was a ton of fun to watch.
- Finally, I liked some of the visual effects, most notably to show off Danny’s powerful fist. While it was nice to see in fights, I appreciated when it was used for practical reasons such as smashing down a door.
Things I Didn’t Like
- The plot often threw in a lot of things at once, like villains, and it seemed unfocused at times. Many ideas here could’ve been saved for their own season, and I didn’t care about Danny’s involvement in the corporate plot because I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere for him and it felt too similar to what “Arrow” tried to do. Season 1 felt like a rollercoaster for me quality-wise, and I don’t feel either half was stronger than the other.
- The returning villain eventually gets cast aside for both the “main” villain as well as a secondary villain. It felt like all three could have carried a season and made me long for the simplicity of “Jessica Jones” for having one major villain alongside a couple morally ambiguous characters.
- I found I didn’t care for many of the other characters, and I thought they overused Claire. As much as I love Claire as a character, I felt she shouldn’t have been in the majority of this season. It kinda took away from building up a stronger supporting cast to me.
- This show needed either a bigger budget or better storyboarding because I got sick and tired of Danny having to constantly “tell, don’t show” when he spoke about K’un-Lun. I equally got tired of them reusing the scene of him and his parents’ plane crashing. I would have gladly traded in half the corporate stuff in favor of seeing flashbacks to him training to become the Iron Fist. I also would’ve liked to see him in full costume, but the reference to it was acceptable.
- My biggest gripe of the entire show is the writing. It lets it down not only with the above “tell, don’t show” aspect, but it also makes Danny comes across less interesting than he should. I would argue that fails the character more than Jones’ performance like many people have blamed. It makes him naive to the point of annoyance and stupidity at times, and he and everyone else seemed to get at least one cheesy and/or clunky line of dialogue. While I liked that Danny was a little more lighthearted and innocent than the other Marvel leads, I’m hoping he’ll fair better writing-wise in “The Defenders.”
Overall, Iron Fist is currently my least favorite of the four Marvel Netflix shows. However, I think it’s okay and isn’t nearly as bad as critics made it out to be. I came in not sure what to expect like I did with “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Doctor Strange”, but I came out still thinking more could have been done with this first season. That said, I’m still looking forward to seeing Danny interact with the others in “The Defenders.” As for “Iron Fist”, if it does get a second season, I really hope the showrunners focus on improving the writing before anything else.