Iron Fist is the fourth installment in the Marvel & Netflix’s universe lineup of shows proceeded by DaredevilJessica Jonesand Luke Cage.

Enter Danny Rand, a former billionaire that’s been presumed dead for the past 15 years and returns to his hometown in the Big Apple to reclaim his family’s business. However when new threats arise, Rand must decide between honoring his family’s legacy or fulfilling his destiny and becoming the Iron Fist once again.

I’ve been very much looking forward to this show’s debut. I’ve liked everything I’ve seen from the trailers and the Marvel-Netflix Universe has a great track record to back it up. The second Netflix dropped the series, it was a given that I would binge it.

Unfortunately upon my viewing experience, I found multiple glaring issues that were preventing this show from packing a real punch like expected. No pun intended.

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Finn Jones does a fine job of portraying the main lead, Danny Rand AKA Iron Fist. There inlines a problem, he’s just fine. While I do find the character of Danny Rand and his story interesting, the actor just isn’t as engaging as past Marvel protagonists. This disconnect caused myself to lose focus on not just the character, but even the story as a whole sometimes. Direction may be at fault for the actor’s delivery. If it’s any consolation, Jones does do enough to become a likeable character in the long run.

Tom Pelphrey on the other hand is another story. Pelphrey plays Rand’s old, jerk friend that’s somewhat of an adversary towards Rand. Now how do I put this nicely? He’s a bad actor. I couldn’t tell halfway through the series if I didn’t like him because of his character or because of the actor portraying the character. Turns out, it was both. A lot of his dialogue and scenes came off very dull, almost lifeless at times.

I will say the rest of the cast is serviceable. Besides Pelphery’s performance, everyone involved does a fine job. While nobody in particular reaches that level as past supporting casts have gone, they know their roles and they don’t step out of line. Jessica Henwick and Rosario Dawson are definitely the best standouts of the show. 

Marvel's Iron Fist

This show dropped the ball hard with the fight choreography. While it’s by no means awful, a lot of the fights do look lackluster. The fight sequences don’t look very natural, everything looks too rehearsed. The idea is to make action set pieces look impromptu and not staged. I just expect a show involving Kung Fu to feel more legit. I’ll give it credit though, the action does pick up towards the end of the series.

The biggest issue holding this show back from being up there with the best, besides the on and off again corny writing, is the constant loss of momentum in its storytelling. Just when it’s getting good, the show comes to a screeching halt by cutting away to something that’s not very compelling. In doing so, the show derails its own sense of urgency, making upcoming important scenes feel meaningless. The story throughout always seems to be in an endless loop of gaining and losing steam. 

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When it comes down to it, Season 1 of Iron Fist did have potential to be as great as its predecessors, but ultimately falls short. While I don’t think the show is as bad as Rotten Tomatoes has made it out to be, there are decisions made that are less to be desired. The show is a slow burn deliberately in order to flesh out the characters, but what happens in between those character moments, feels like a lot of white noise and joyless action.

I’m going to give Iron Fist – Season 1 a “C-” on the TV grading scale. In the end, this fine show was just the final roadblock to The Defenders later this year and there’s no doubt, we’re all going to love that street-level team up.

As always, thanks so much for reading and make sure to stay posted to Frank’s Takes for more reviews. Until next time, keep it 100.

– Frank

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