The critics have not taken kindly to Iron Fist, but most of the fans seem to have enjoyed the experience.
The critical panning of the show, which does have its faults, seems very over the top. The show is certainly not as bad as some are making out. There seems to be some politics in play, politics that are very reminiscent of those surrounding Batman v Superman. Ignore what people are saying about this show (including us), watch it on your own terms. Try not to let ‘negative reviews’ and other elements influence your experience. We went into this with no expectations and the result was an enjoyable one.
The show has many positives, it also has some negatives, but it’s rare that a show doesn’t have both of these things. In Iron Fist you will see some brilliant character performances, a well-paced and coherent story and some exciting fight sequences.
So let’s start with the fight sequences. With so much focus on martial arts, you would imagine the fight scenes would be groundbreaking or astonishing. While some had nice moments or moves, some of the fight scenes were actually not that great.
There were a few times that you could see that a hit would not even connect, so it’s criminal that these very obvious mistakes slipped through the net.
The biggest problem with some of the fight scenes, however, was with the editing. There were so many cuts in such short fight sequences that they looked sloppy and chaotic.
The fighting was supposed to be a big selling point to this series, and on a few occasions, they did a bad job of putting them together.
Some of the fight choreography was sublime though, it has to be said, but overall it was a mixed bag. Some of them worked, others they didn’t.
In terms of the characters and performances, Finn Jones (Danny Rand/Iron Fist) was solid enough, but just like Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, the character lost a little its engagement towards the end of the series.
Jessica Stroup (Joy Meachum) was a character that went from interesting to forgettable as the series progressed, and by the end you feel the writers just gave up on her development and arc.
David Wenham brought his A-game to a D-list written character, just like Stroup, the story’s focus switch left another character behind, before being forced back in towards the end.
There were two actors that stood out, however. First of all, Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing) was an incredible supporting character. Her complexity and different layers made her a compelling character to follow and watch develop. She had her own mini-story that you could invest in and the writing was very strong for her character in almost every aspect.
But the standout performance has to go to Tom Pelphrey (Ward Meachum). After the first episode, you think you have his character sussed, you expect it to be cliché after cliché in terms of the ‘evil businessman’ character type.
But Ward’s journey takes so many turns throughout the series that he is one of the shows strongest aspects. Tom Pelphrey put in a tremendous performance, it was utterly spellbinding and hopefully, this is a character that will be around to call upon in the future.
So where does it rank with all the rest?
Well, just like Luke Cage and Jessica Jones it falls short of hitting the heights of Daredevil. Just like Luke Cage & Jessica Jones, Iron Fist had its highs and then its lows, and while it had better pacing than Cage and a more stable second half than Jones, It had fewer epic moments.
The ‘format’ also now feels worn out, and it missed the chance to bring something different to the table.
It was an ‘alright’ addition to Netflix’s Marvel universe. It did better at some things than the two previous offerings but lacked in other key areas, and this ultimately held the show back. It never felt big enough. It was too self-contained and grounded, it should have pushed the Netflix/Marvel format more than it did. It lacked the fantastical, and while it was enjoyable enough, it doesn’t do enough to separate itself from the rest of the shows.
Iron Fist is an enjoyable addition to the Netflix and Marvel TV universe and had many enjoyable moments. Well written characters were cancelled out by generic ones, and the show was not brave enough with its choices. It could have and should have been so much more.