IN THE COMICS, IRON FIST’S PARTNER IS LUKE CAGE, WHO HE’LL BE TEAMING UP WITH IN THE DEFENDERS.
Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Tom Pelphrey, Jessica Stroup, David Wenham
Marvel’s latest Netﬂix series Iron Fist has been treated as a ‘proceed with caution’ kind of show since the start. This is mostly due to the fact that it’s a show about a superhero with Kung Fu powers played by Finn Jones, a white actor, which seemed to be yet another story about a white character going to Asia to learn martial arts and mysticism and returning to show everyone how it’s done. Many members of the cast and crew defended Jones’ casting, with Colleen Wing actress Jessica Henwick, who actually is Asian, saying that show’s star smashes it out of the park.
Jones is ﬁne as Danny Rand. He says his lines properly and does cool ﬁght stuff, but it’s nothing to gush about. He’s ﬁne, the story is ﬁne, the payoff is perhaps a little less than ﬁne, and then it ends. If Iron Fist is anything, it’s consistent. The series acts as a semi-origin story for Danny Rand in the same way that Daredevil did for Matt Murdock. When we ﬁrst meet Danny in ‘Snow Gives Way’, he’s wandering around Wall Street with bare feet and a backpack having just returned home from K’un Lun after being presumed dead for 15 years. With Danny already in possession of his Iron Fist powers when we join him, the show charts Danny’s journey to mastering these skills and putting them to good use.
But the show has a noticeable lack of big-reveal moments. Of course, bigreveals aren’t compulsory, but Marvel usually thrives off them. Iron Fist’s revelations are small and quiet, but to the point where it’s easy to miss them.
You need to pay close attention to get as much out of this show as possible, but sometimes concentrating hard just isn’t enough. The glossing over of plot twists is chronic, and it would be disappointing if there were much else to care about. It’s hard to get excited when you can either guess what’s coming next, or you can’t guess but you’ve stopped caring.
However, while Iron Fist leaves much to be desired in many places, it still packs a handful of plus points. From his ﬁrst week in New York, Danny Rand’s ﬁrst new friend comes in the form of Colleen Wing as a martial arts expert who also runs her own dojo. Colleen is basically who you think of when you think of kickass comic-book TV characters.
Colleen and Danny’s relationship manages to remain continually interesting as the series progresses, but it also sometimes overshadows the main story arc, which involves heroin, or something. It’s hard to say. The show’s narrative often ends up all over the place, contributing to the ever-lingering feeling of ‘do we even care what’s going on?’.
Rosario Dawson makes a welcome return to the Defenders universe, with a surprising amount of screen time. Once she joins the show it’s hard to get rid of her, but we’re absolutely not complaining. Her presence brings Iron Fist fully into the world of the Defenders and reminds us that Danny Rand is very much a part of it, rather than just being this random billionaire who wandered in by accident.
When it comes to the ﬁghting – and Danny’s own Iron Fist – the series doesn’t need to put that much effort in to wow. Much of the cast took the time to learn how to ﬁght properly while preparing for their roles, and it certainly paid off. It’s just a shame almost everything in between is lacklustre.
During the times when the story gets particularly silly, Iron Fist begins to feel more like an item you need to tick off on a check list so you can watch The Defenders later in the year rather than its own show. Perhaps some careful but ruthless editing would have been a good call, so the series could be cut down from 13 episodes to about ten. As it is, this is hard work.
How is David Wenham as Harold Meachum?
He’s great, but we haven’t really decided whether he’s the villain or not just yet.
Wait, isn’t he the villain?
Kind of… There are several villains, each with different motives and justiﬁ cations. Meachum is just one of them.
Is Davos in it?
He is, but Iron Fist wants to keep it super secret for some reasons so we’re not telling who’s playing him. You have to watch to ﬁnd out.
Is he good?
He’s pretty good. He doesn’t have a costume or anything, and he doesn’t make quite the entrance we were hoping for.