The latest Marvel Netflix show, Iron Fist, has dropped and it has gotten some pretty scathing reviews so far. It currently has a very low score on Rotten Tomatoes. I don’t really like Rotten Tomatoes as it does not allow for nuance. Now I don’t think that it deserves the score that is currently has. That means that it is unwatchable. But I can’t really disagree with most of the criticisms aimed at the show.
There has been much talk about how outdated the character and concept is. White man trains in Asian culture and becomes the best and gains a unique ability. I do think more modern interpretations of Danny Rand and Iron Fist (particularly Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction’s run) have done a great job at curbing these critiques. But if they did make Danny Rand a person of Asian descent, I wouldn’t have cared. The problems with the show ultimately lie with the production of the show.
A big problem with all the Marvel Netflix shows has been the episode count. No season so far has been really able to justify a 13 episode season. Iron Fist has been the worst example. It feels like it should have been 8 episodes at most and 6 at the least. There is no strong through line to carry through to the end. None of the family dynamics, the conflict with The Hand, Danny reconnecting with society.
Another big issue is the characterization. You know your show is a big problem when you find it hard to really like the main character. Now I do think Finn Jones got better in the role as Danny Rand but the first few episodes are rough. You never really learn why he returned to America. You never really learn as to why he wanted to become the Iron Fist. His approach in the first two episodes is obnoxious and frankly dumb and you get frustrated with his frustrated attitude as to why no one believes him. This carries over into other characters as they are frankly archetypes and not fully fleshed out.
Since this show is based in kung fu, you would expect this aspect to at least shine. Nope. The action scenes are never really that great. They’re not bad. But they do nothing to stand out. As with my general feelings towards the show, they got better as they went along. It is really surprising that they did not get the same stunt crew from Daredevil to work on this show.
My general feeling is that this show is underwhelming. I would like to see the show get a second season. There are a lot of shows that have bad first seasons but go on to be great shows. Who says this is not to be the case? There is enough potential there where you can see a kernel of potential. I guess it all frankly depends on how Danny Rand is portrayed in The Defenders. It could be a case of the showrunner (Scott Buck) not understanding the character and potentially a new one can change the show for the better.