I finally did it. After about 2 months of forcing myself through each episode I finally finished watching Iron Fist. This is a series that’s riding the wave of success that the previous Marvel Netflix properties have garnered. The previous shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage all brought something unique to the table for this universe. People were impatiently waiting to see if Iron Fist could do the same thing. Well the series found a way to stand out from the others, but not in the way it was likely intended. Iron Fist is a horrible series from start to finish.
It’s honestly hard to think of a good place to start when talking about what’s wrong with this series. I guess i’ll just start with the narrative. Iron Fist follows Danny Rand as he returns to New York to take back his family’s company after being assumed dead for 15 years. He also has some glowing hand power known as the Iron Fist. There are tons of ways to make this simple and unoriginal premise at least entertaining, yet the series is nothing more than a badly paced mess. They want you to feel like there’s a lot going on, while nothing interesting ever happens on screen. We follow Danny as he tries to convince people that he is Danny Rand, get his company back, stop The Hand from terrorizing New York, stop the other Hand from doing essentially the same thing, find out what happened to his parents, and struggle with his identity all while trying to maintain one of the most poorly written relationships I’ve seen on TV in a long time. In short there are a lot of terrible plot elements introduced in Iron Fist. After a while the story with the Hand started to get a bit interesting, but they tried to juggle that with the Meachum story and both landed up falling on their face.
We need to take a second and talk about these characters too. They’re really bad. Danny Rand is a terrible character. He might have the intention of being a noble guy who fights the hand and protects people, but he’s actually just an idiot. He is naive, immature, whiny and reckless. He’ll often times just run into a fight even after his friends tell him that it’s a bad idea. He’s a hard character to get behind when he keeps making one boneheaded decision after another. Colleen Wing is introduced in this series. She runs a dojo and eventually befriends Danny. Her character is actually pretty cool. While she’s also a bit naive (especially later in the season) she is actually shown to be both an intelligent woman and a great fighter.
Then there are the Meachums…I really dislike them. Ward Meechum is an idiot, Joy Meachum is an idiot, and Harold Meachum is just a laughable villain. Ward’s character does get a bit more compelling in the later half of the season, but it’s hard to appreciate because of how bad the acting is in this series.
HOLY SHIT this acting is bad. Pretty much every actor not named Rosario Dawson in this series is fucking awful. Finn Jones (Danny Rand) has no idea how to deliver a convincing line. His tone seems off in every scene and it makes all of the meaningful dialogue laughable. I can’t watch him do all of these martial arts stances without bursting out laughing either. He was miscast for sure and has the charisma of a grape. Tony Pelphrey (Ward Meachum) comes across as some guy they picked up off the street. I couldn’t by a single line that came out of his mouth. Whenever him and Finn are on screen together I know i’m gonna get lulled to sleep by the lifeless dialogue. David Wenham (Harold Meachum) LOL BOOOOOOOY! He has to sound slimy all the damn time. He can’t say anything without sounding like a Power Rangers villain. He tries to be intimidating, but lands up coming across as a cartoon character. He also can’t throw a punch to save his life. Ramon Rodriguez (Bakuto) just doesn’t work at all. Not only do I not believe him in that particular role, but he really goes way over the top with his performance. He’s trying to be as over the top as Wenham was, while having the acting talent of Pelphrey. It’s not a good a mix. Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing) is actually okay…as long as she’s not in a scene with Finn Jones. It’s rare to find 2 actors who lack on screen chemistry the way these 2 do. We’re supposed to believe they care about each other, but a lot of the time their dialogue sounds like they’re in different rooms. Jessica Stroup (Joy Meachum) is actually okay here. Same goes for returning actresses Wai Ching Ho (Madame Gao), Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeri Hogarth), and the previously mentioned Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple). I doubt it was all the actors’ fault in this case, which brings me to my next point.
The direction in Iron Fist was pretty bad too. Not only could the directors not get convincing performances out of these actors, the camera work was atrocious. This is especially true during the action sequences. Barely any of the fighting is done in camera, and when it is done with the actual actors it looks awful. The only believable character in the fights is Colleen. There are countless fights with Danny that look piss poor. Whether it’s the oh so noticeable stunt double or aggressively edited together fight montages, the action looks terrible. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t clear that the fights take inspiration from Martial Arts movies. They attempt to emulate certain moves to pay homage to these movies, but it doesn’t go over well. Not only that, but i feel like whoever the choreographer is for these fights needs to go home and stay there. There are weird uses of wires that are obvious (thanks director), and it seems like the point was to do the most over the top unnecessary type of strike whenever they got the chance. Danny Rand was going around looking like Guile from Street Fighter because he kept doing this awkward looking back flip kick.
Iron Fist is not good. The only reason I can see someone watching this is because they’re looking forward to The Defenders coming out later this year. Other than that there really is no reason to waste your time on this lazy excuse of a series. The story goes nowhere, the characters are forgettable, the acting is on the same level as a generic CW series, and the action scenes are unbearable. I’m happy i’m finished with this so I never have to see it again.
Iron Fist gets a 20/100 and is awarded the title of…