Thursday, March 30, 2017

Marvel's Iron Fist Season 1 Netflix Series Review

Marvel's Iron Fist (2017-)
Season 1 - 13 episodes (2017) 
Watch Marvel's Iron Fist Season 1 on Netflix
Created by: Scott Buck
Starring:  Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Jessica Stroup, Rosario Dawson
Rated: TV-MA

The fourth of Marvel's comic book based shows that will lead into The Defenders mini-series, combining all four leads. Finn Jones (Ser Loras Tyrell on Game of Thrones) stars as Danny Rand, the Iron Fist, who returns to New York after being presumed dead in a plane crash fifteen years ago.

This isn't bad, it's just a very banal super hero tale. Danny Rand punches really well and he knows martial arts. The other Marvel/Netflix series had a bit more depth and interest. Luke Cage was a black man that could wear a hoody only because he was bullet proof. Jessica Jones was a reluctant female super hero who decided to be an investigator in a male dominated profession. Daredevil brought cinematic fight choreography to a series, while walking the line between justice as a lawyer and a vigilante.
Iron Fist is a collection of the usual super hero tropes that doesn't try to be anything more. It's twists are apparent episodes ahead of time.
Rand is easily the most bland character of The Defenders. He wants to save the world. He's nice, but boring. Colleen Wing is far more interesting, but relegated to sidekick status. Danny Rand is that goody two shoes that doesn't get invited to birthday parties because he isn't any fun.
It depends.

Iron Fist, along with Daredevil (read my season 2 review), Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage (read my season 1 review) is the lead in to The Defenders, a mini-series coming out later in 2017 that combines the lead characters. Sigourney Weaver will be the villain in the mini-series.

Iron Fist a story that feels as derivative as any super hero tale. Danny Rand sure can punch. Though, he can't activate that power any time he wants, he has to recharge his chi. The whole story feels like someone read a synopsis on martial arts and then quickly adapted it to a super hero tale. Typical martial arts terms are thrown around, but they never feel grounded. It would be far more interesting if the twist was that Danny Rand didn't study with monks, and that his whole persona was a sham. He wanted to do good, but felt like he needed a cover. At least that way he'd have more depth. His only struggle is to prove who he is. That and he wants to rid New York of the Hand because it's a proverb or he has nothing better to do... I forget. Rand always wants to help people and that's just boring. There's never any question as to whether he should or whether he will do the right thing. That's different from the other three marvel series. Sometimes doing the right thing differs from short term or long term.

Danny Rand is back in New York after having been declared dead for fifteen years. One of the best parts is Danny listening to Outkast So Fresh, So Clean as he strolls through New York shoeless and disheveled. Danny doesn't wear shoes because he's so eccentric. The show draws water from that long after the well is dry.
He goes to Rand Enterprises and is stunned when no one believes who he is. He demands to see his father's business partner Harold Meachum, but Harold is dead... or is he?

The show dangles the mystery of where Danny has been for far too long. It so quickly sets up his childhood tormentor Ward Meachum as an enemy that I knew there was somebody pulling his strings. There is! And there is somebody pulling the strings of the strings too.
More than a few times the show needs to move the plot along quickly and does it in the most hamfisted way possible. In the first episode, Danny is staying the night at the park. A homeless guy gives him a cell phone, explains how Google works and nearly tells Danny to Google himself and figure out what happened so that the show can continue. It's less than subtle. It's funny, but for all the wrong reasons.

While Joy Meachum is more sympathetic to Danny, Ward forces her to follow his lead. They commit Danny to a mental ward. I didn't understand why Danny didn't fight his way out. Through the power of M&M chocolate candies, Joy believes that Danny really is who he says he is.

Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) street fights to raise money for her dojo and decides to help Danny for no real reason. Claire (Rosario Dawson) enters the picture just to tie the universe together and tell Danny what he needs to do.  This kid would be lost without people telling him what to do.
Danny gets his percentage of the company and quickly messes things up in the name of trying to help people. He wants to save people by selling drugs at cost, but no one explains to him that you need to make a profit to research future life saving drugs. They just tell him, don't do that, it's bad business. Danny doesn't understand business. That conflict could have been solved much easier.
Danny for the most part has the mindset of a fifteen year old. The short term/long term scenario with the drugs could have been adapted as a mirror to the plot to the series. Let's have Danny learn some hard lessons. That doesn't happen. The plot is just to fight bad dudes. Framing this entire series as short term suffering can reach a long term goal could have thrown Danny's mantra into question and forced him to make some hard decisions. That doesn't happen.

The series offers a lot of twists, turns, and double crossing just for the sake of it, but I can't remember whether Danny ever says why he came back and I just finished watching this show. It could be that the magical portal to K'un-Lun only opens every so often and he was ready to get off that ride. The show ends on a cliff hanger, I do remember that. I've watched all of the Marvel/Netflix series and this was easily my least favorite.

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