When Iron Fist premiered on Netflix last week, there was reasonable cause for excitement. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s track record for good quality superhero outings had extended into Netflix, after all. Daredevil was a hit, and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage received plenty of strong feedback as well. Iron Fist was supposed to complete a quartet of great shows, in a set up for The Defenders.
Instead, what we got was a bit of a plodding mess. Iron Fist is scoring a mere 37 on Metacritic at the moment (for comparison, Daredevil has got 75.) And neither critics nor fans are being too kind to it.
Building It Backwards
For the most part, the series’ script leaves a lot to be desired. Everyone points out things that are too obvious; characters seem forced to follow tropes in every conversation. According to one Vox review, “The clunky dialogue often creates the sense that the show doesn’t trust its audience.”
If you were going to have Danny Rand wax philosophic, parroting Buddhist teachings and such, then you might as well have made it more interesting.
And sadly, even the fight scenes look bland when compared with Daredevil’s (props to Finn Jones for doing his own fight scene stunts, but the end result is just not as heart-thumping).
However, another huge issue with Iron Fist is the pitfall of the shared universe model introduced by the MCU.
Danny Rand is supposed to have an adventure of his own. The series is, after all, supposed to be a standalone – something that you can watch apart from Daredevil and The Defenders. Sadly, this one was clearly crafted with The Defenders in mind, and yes, that does take away from Danny’s thunder.
The Hand doesn’t just become an enemy for him to overcome on its own. Suddenly this is a group that hops on the “part of something greater” train. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the show seems simply intent on rewarding those who’ve seen Daredevil first, or will watch The Defenders after. It was constructed backwards – thinking too much about the future team-up first, and about the current solo effort second. People are disappointed because it’s nothing more than filler, a set-up.
Will the failure of Iron Fist hurt The Defenders in any way? That remains to be seen. Three out of four of its heroes have gotten positive reviews so far, after all, so perhaps Danny’s luck will be balanced out by his co-stars.
The mini-series wrapped up filming just earlier this week. And the mini-series is slated for only eight episodes instead of the usual thirteen (despite the five-month long shooting period). That means we can expect the series’ set pieces and action sequences to be bigger than ever.
When Finn Jones returns as Iron Fist for The Defenders, he’ll be right alongside Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter reprising their roles.
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