She Geek Critique – The Way of the Iron Fist

Considering I’m a Marvel chick, I’ve obviously already binged all of the new Iron Fist series on Netflix. (Plus, of course, we’re talking about it on this week’s Geek Watch One.) And, me being me, you had to know I’d have a little something to say about it. (BTW, for a quick background on the character check out the Comics Cosmos post from back in January.)

First off, it’s a good series and holds up relatively well with the rest. If you watched Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, you’re obviously going to watch Iron Fist and, in a few months, The Defenders, which brings all four characters together. But you could watch it without having seen the others and really wouldn’t miss much because it doesn’t have much in the way of direct tie-ins to its predecessors. Sure there are a few Easter eggs (including a Stan Lee cameo, of course), but those are for the fans and don’t have any real bearing on the story.

Now I said the series was good, not great and that’s exactly how I feel about it. I can’t see anyone putting this top of the list in ranking these shows. It lacks the exciting, edge of your seat action of Daredevil and Luke Cage, and the characters don’t have the depth of those in Jessica Jones. But even an OK Marvel show is better than most other superhero shows (especially the current run of DC shows) when it comes to storytelling and an engrossing mythology. Iron Fist is a slow moving story, but it’s an interesting one that, I think, pays off in the end.

Another good thing about this series is how different it feels from the others (which is something that critics, not surprisingly, think is a bad thing). Unlike the other three soon-to-be Defenders, Danny Rand (aka Iron Fist) is a true fish out of water, not at home in the big city. So some time needs to be spent on getting him acclimated to his new world. Plus, he’s a rich kid fighting to make things right in the company his father founded, so a large part of the story takes place in boardrooms instead of back alleys. The setting is Manhattan, not Harlem or Hell’s Kitchen, which is a refreshing change.

But as I’ve intimated, the series is not a standout. Though there is good storytelling, an impressive accuracy to the Chinese and Japanese fighting styles featured and things are relatively faithful to the source material, there are a few issues that I think casting can be blamed for. Most characters were well developed (though a couple were obvious “types”), but the Meachums didn’t fit together well as a family – aside from a complete lack of resemblance (they didn’t even bother trying), there was a noticeable lack of chemistry especially between the siblings Joy and Ward. (For me, Ward was poorly cast as a whole.) I also didn’t feel much chemistry between Danny and Colleen – and they apparently really liked each other!

Overall, Iron Fist is not the flop that so many critics have claimed it to be. Remember, they saw only the first six episodes on which to base their reviews. Plus, I think there are many just waiting for a Marvel failure. This isn’t it.

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