IRON FIST Season 1 Review; "A Solid Entry Into Marvel's Line-Up Of DEFENDERS"

IRON FIST Season 1 Review; "A Solid Entry Into Marvel's Line-Up Of DEFENDERS"

The first wave of Iron Fist reviews have not been kind, with most focusing on apparent "whitewashing." Hit the jump for my verdict on the Marvel series to find out why you should give it a shot.

The first six episodes of Iron Fist were provided for review before broadcast.

Iron Fist is not a series afraid to take it slow. Danny Rand doesn't unleash the power the show shares a name with until the end of the second episode, and even then, it's only used sporadically throughout the course of the first six instalments. This relaxed pace is likely to be a turn-off for some craving non-stop action, but after Daredevil season two and Luke Cage rushed through their respective stories so much that they basically needed to create a whole new story arc for the second half of their runs (the shift from The Punisher to The Hand and from Cottonmouth to Diamondback, for example), it's good to see Marvel and Netflix sticking closer to the way Daredevil season one and Jessica Jones played out. 

That's not to say Iron Fist is boring, however. Danny fighting his way back into Rand Industries as he clashes with Joy and Harold Meachum makes for compelling viewing, while the slowly unravelling mysteries in regards to their father and The Hand set up a lot of very interesting plot points which look like they should start tying together nicely in the second half of the season. When the action does come, it's pretty damn excellent, though undeniably a tad disappointing when you get through an awesome fight sequence only to see Danny use his powers only once or sometimes not at all. The show seems to be handling that as something he can't just access on a whim, and like Matt Murdock's radar senses, it's almost as if this is another Netflix series afraid of embracing its comic book roots.

Now, I obviously can't go any further without addressing whitewashing. Danny Rand is white here just as he's always been white in the comic books. While Marvel decided against casting Jackie Chan as the lead (possibly to avoid making Iron Fist a total cliché), the show does feature a kickass Asian lead in the form of Jessica Henwick's Colleen Wing. So, yeah, in case you can't sense the sarcasm, whitewashing is not an issue here no matter how many ill-informed critics attempt to tell you otherwise.

Talking of the cast, Finn Jones is superb as Danny. His naivety never becomes frustrating; instead, he's a massively likeable character clearly setting out to try and do the right thing. All the while, it's clear that he may be hiding something about his departure from K'un-Lun, and he's right up there with the rest of The Defenders in terms of being someone you'll want to get to know. As I mentioned above, Henwick is also excellent as someone who can give Rand a run for his money in terms of sheer toughness and it's nice not to see her portrayed as little more than just another love interest. As the Meachum's, Jessica Stroup, Tom Pelphrey, and David Wenham all deliver some solid performances, but I'm sad to say that Rosario Dawson stands out as being perhaps the weakest addition to the series thanks to an appearance which feels really shoehorned in and unnecessary. If there's one thing Iron Fist seems to be lacking six episodes in, it's a clear-cut big bad, but that will hopefully change in its second half. 

Chances are Iron Fist will put some viewers off with its slow approach to unravelling the story of Danny Rand, while the lack of a costume and sporadic use of the titular hero's powers early on could disappoint some comic book fans as well. However, based on what I've seen of the series, it very much still has the potential to sit alongside Daredevil and Jessica Jones as one of the best shows Marvel and Netflix have produced. Put it this way, after seeing what showrunner Scott Buck has delivered here, my interest in The Inhumans has skyrocketed from zero to one hundred remarkably quickly and I can't wait to see more of Jones as Rand when The Defenders finally rolls around. 

Strong action, a compelling story and a terrific performance from Finn Jones point to Iron Fist being a solid entry into Marvel's line-up of Defenders. Forget the whitewashing nonsense; fans of the character are going to love this. 


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