I didn't like Iron Fist. However, let's start with what worked for me so I don't come off like a blind hater.
Finn Jones as Danny Rand is not as bad as everyone would like to have you believe. In terms of the direction of the show and the writing, I feel like he did the best he could. That doesn't mean he isn't outshined on his own show. One of my favourite characters, I think, is named Davos... he has the energy and commitment of someone I can get behind in a show like this.
I thought the execution of the fight choreography wasn't the best but it was cool that most characters had their own distinct style and it didn't just feel like a re-hash of Daredevil fight scenes. It was an attention to detail that I thought was sorely missing from other aspects of this show.
When Danny accepts Madame Gao's challenge to fight a bunch of people in a Mortal Kombat style tournament it was excellent. Because it featured different styles of fighting. And we can't forget how awesome it was when Danny fought the drunk guy.
I'm afraid I can't go any further without commenting on what I didn't like.
Let's be clear, some of what I didn't like about the show might have been solved if there was different casting of Danny Rand. But, that wasn't this show's biggest problem. Even though I wanted to see Iron Fist in his suit, because, unlike Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, I think that Iron Fist's suit is one of his defining features. I don't even think the suit could really fix things.
So what's wrong with Iron Fist you ask?
At this point I don't think these Marvel/Netflix shows are competing with any other shows but their own. Which is to say that a lot of the backlash against this show (that isn't based on the fact that people would have liked an actor of Asian decent) comes from it not feeling like something more exciting than what came before. For all the faults I could cite for Daredevil season 1 and season 2 and the faults people saw in Jessica Jones and Luke Cage they at least kept momentum going for this TV universe.
Iron Fist didn't do that for me. I felt like the show was treading water and I was forced to do the same. A sentiment I've heard echoed by the great Marc Bernardin on Fatman on Batman, is that there isn't a concrete idea of what Danny wants to accomplish throughout the show. Sure he can tell me he's the Iron Fist and he needs to protect K'un Lun but that never seems to jive with his actions.
I guess he kind of wants to know who killed his parents but doesn't even think of the most obvious person till the end which played like a twist for me. I definitely thought he was one step ahead of the Meachums... turns out no. All of this would be fine if the show committed to Danny being in arrested development ever since he was 10 in the plane crash but I don't think they ever did that. Leaving me to feel like I'm watching one of the most ineffectual leads of the 4 defenders.
For me each Netflix season that preceded this one had an easy to define goal that needed to be achieved even if there was extra stuff going on. Season 1 of Daredevil? Expose Wilson Fisk for the crime KINGPIN that he is. Jessica Jones? Stop the man who can control anyone and has threatened to essentially rape women till our hero submits to him. Season 2 of Daredevil? Force Matt to come to terms with his Daredeviling by introducing potent outside forces in the form of Elektra and Punisher. Luke Cage? Save Harlem from the clutches of the Dillards and Diamondback.
Now I'm sure people can infer what the point of this season was but I would argue there isn't enough in the text to substantiate any of those inferences. The show feels like it has too many plates spinning which in turn leaves me not being able to invest in much because too much is played like a mystery. Even stuff we already thought we had a handle on like The Hand.
I also never felt like I got a good handle on what affected Danny's ability to make his first iron or whatever. I'll cop to being put off by the pacing for the show so maybe that's on me. I just wanted full disclosure on what didn't work for me. I'm more than happy to re-watch and see if I missed the answer to that.
This is a big nitpick but can we please dead characters being incredulous to things like dragons or superpowers? Especially if they're Claire Temple! I keep seeing people online saying these Netflix shows aren't connected to MCU... that isn't true to the best of my knowledge. There are clippings from the events of The Avengers in Daredevil. There is Justin Hammer tech in Luke Cage. Everyone talks about the incident... the incident where a big flying armoured worm came out of a hole in the sky with some aliens. The possibility of dragons existing can't be that crazy to a woman who is aware of all that and has helped Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage.
Let's get to the Meachums. They were problematic for me. In one corner you have the fact that they clearly had their own cool show going on that didn't need Danny's presence. And in the other corner I guess I just feel like they weren't used effectively. Especially when you consider the lack of a definitive goal for the season. Sure they're interesting characters but... like... why did they feel so far removed from Danny's story until they needed to interact with him? I mean even down to the tone.
Again a lot of my issues might stem from being somewhat checked out due to the fact that the first batch of episodes feel like homework instead of an unravelling mystery filled with thrills. I'll make you a deal! On the next episode of Spoiled Rotten I will give a follow up to my feelings on this show. Maybe rewatching it will answer a lot of the questions I had.
For now let's just say I was unimpressed. That doesn't make the show inherently bad. It just means I felt like we lost momentum with this series and it didn't dig deep enough with any of the storylines it introduced. BUT the soundtrack was dope and at least we can safely say it isn't bad because Finn Jones was cast instead of an Asian actor!
There I said it!