Aaron Worley | Arts & Entertainment Editor
Here’s a great plotline on paper: Daniel “Danny” Rand is a superhero who engages in martial arts techniques and special ‘chi’ summoning to defeat enemies. After over a decade-long stretch of being missing, he finds himself wanting to reclaim his family’s company. This sounds decent in theory, but he soon realizes that he is oblivious to one crucial bit of information: everyone thinks he’s dead, and seeing some man that comes out of nowhere who claims to be the presumed-dead individual surprisingly does not sit well with them. This is the start of the first episode of Marvel’s “Iron Fist,” which premiered on Netflix last Wednesday. The show serves as a blunder in the comic franchise’s Netflix adaptations, to say the least. Dissimilar to the fantastic “Luke Cage,” which was driven by both Blaxploitation and humor, “Iron Fist” shows neither one of those capabilities. Of course, no one expects the former element to be present, but there could have at least been a vintage Asian element added to the show, taking away from the fact that most fans argued for the character to be portrayed as an Asian-American. This is only the surface of the cornucopia of issues regarding the series, however.
From the beginning, Danny Rand, played by actor Finn Jones, is not a likeable character. The homeless garb he wears can be overlooked, but he simply does not have anything in his voice, tone, or manner to give him likeable capabilities. When he first realizes that people are tentatively recognizing him as the lost man whom they believed to have died (who would have thought?), he stalely begs them to “Just listen.” There is not a personality behind this request, only a cheap delivering of lines through a boring and bland character. He does not add anything fresh to the superhero, and comes across as needy and completely devoid of drawing empathy from others. It would not be surprising if any viewers, who are, of course, already aware that he is telling the truth to start questioning it because they are not convinced by his acting. This can be forgiven by most people, though, but it does not take away from one of the most disappointing components of the series: the fight scenes.
Yes, there are fight scenes. No, they are not entertaining, exciting, or even properly executed. They feel slapped together and choppy, not flowing well together at all. With a closer look, it seems like the villains Jones encounters simply remain stationary while he proceeds to twist their already-outstretched arms or limbs. It really looks like they want to be attacked and overcome. There is no precision in their attacks, no swiftness, and no creativity in how they want to ‘take him out.’ “Luke Cage” was not reliant on fight scenes (if a comparison is drawn), but the story and background was gripping enough to lead onto those action sequences, making them all the more exciting. With “Iron Fist,” the character and baddie movements are thrown in there, only taking up time in the series in the most uninspiring manner.
Nonetheless, there are good moments on the show. Rosario Dawson plays an excellent role as a nurse-turned-martial artist, gripping the show with her stern dialogue and the ability to throw herself into the character’s role. Carrie-Anne Moss is fantastic as attorney Jeri Hogarth as well, adding to her acclaim from the other Marvel series “Jessica Jones.”
All being said, “Iron Fist” is a downright blunder in Marvel’s Netflix string. It is boring, repetitive, mind-numbing, and will ultimately make you question why you actually want to watch all ten episodes of the first season halfway through the first two.