This information was rather surprising to me, seeing as Marvel has done a truly wonderful job with their TV properties. Daredevil is a huge hit, and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have performed nicely for the Marvel audience. In fact, on the popular movie critic site, Rotten Tomatoes, Luke Cage has a 76% rating, Jessica Jones has a 93% rating, and Daredevil has 76%. Overall, these ratings are fantastic and entirely predictable, as, overall, Marvel has done well in recent years.
Iron Fist definitely has a different feel from Marvel’s other shows, as its sole purpose is to prepare the Marvel cinematic universe for Defenders, an upcoming Marvel mini series centered on the four protagonists mentioned previously.
Marvel has been working its way towards this series since the release of Daredevil Season 1, and has continued to do so with Iron Fist, which is what most critics seemed to miss. Iron Fist wasn’t supposed to be groundbreaking.
In fact, Iron Fist is a story we’ve seen before. It centers around Danny Rand, the son of the owner of Rand Enterprises. When Danny is 11, his plane crashes in the Himalayas, killing both of his parents. Danny is found by two monks, and taken to a monastery called K’un L’un, which exists in another dimension. While at k'un L'un, Danny is trained to become the Iron Fist, also referred to as the Immortal Weapon. For 15 years, Danny learns how to channel his chi into physical force, so that he can protect K’un L’un. The show focuses on the events immediately after Danny returns to New York in an effort to take back control of his family’s company. He meets several adversaries, and the show takes many interesting twists, involving a dead associate who worked with Danny’s father and a mysterious organization called The Hand.
Danny Rand is portrayed by actor Finn Jones who, admittedly, leaves much to be desired. His acting falls flat, and he doesn’t show any emotion besides anger, which is compelling at first but quickly grows stale. Fortunately, the two many supporting characters, martial artist Coleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), and emergency room nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) keep the show lively with their character arcs and stellar acting. Both have hidden agendas, and they keep Danny on track when he would otherwise mess up.
Honestly, Iron Fist wasn’t horrible. Its acting was less than stellar, but it fits nicely into the construct of Marvel’s TV universe, and is an engaging story, with a lot of martial arts action. The series’ antagonists aren’t faceless villains but are, instead, three dimensional characters shrouded in mystique and are often seen as friend, rather than foe.
Essentially, Iron Fist does its job. It readies the other Defenders for what is to come this August with the release of Marvel’s latest conquest and tells an interesting, if not original story with fresh, engaging characters. Iron Fist has earned itself four fists out of five.