Daredevil set the bar for the type of fight scenes and chorography that audiences could hope to see in a Netflix superhero show while still introducing compelling and complex characters.  Jessica Jones and Luke Cage showed that Marvel Netflix wasn’t afraid to delve into controversial and uncomfortable topics while incorporating the elements of the genre that both characters require.  Now, even though Iron Fist has only been out for a week, it has definitively shown both critics and audiences that the production of all these shows takes time, because the level of production value in the fight chorography, writing, and character development doesn’t even come close to the other Marvel Netflix properties.

Since there is a lot wrong with the series, I’ll just bullet point some of my main issues:

  • Danny’s motivations are never made clear
    • He spends the first few episodes trying to get his company back even though he clearly has no interest in material things.
    • If he’s lived with the monks of K’un-Lun for most of his life why is he so willing to abandon his duty as the Iron Fist and come back to New York?  Does he have resentment toward them or does he long to return to the world?  Or was it just because he saw that bird flying around?  None of this is ever made clear
  • Danny repeatedly tells the audience that he’s trained to control his body and his emotions but that’s not what we actually see.
    • However that doesn’t come across in the fight scenes when he has trouble taking down a single thug.
    • Danny also seems to have a bit of a rage problem and repeatedly gets angry at seemingly innocent things, lashing out at those closest to him even though he’s constantly telling Colleen and Claire how much he’s trained.
  • Why is Danny only able to prove who he is when it’s necessary for the plot?
    • It seems that he only starts trying to convince people he’s Danny Rand when he talks to Hogarth by describing things only Danny would know, rather than when talking to the Meachum’s.
    • You could say that he’s getting better at convincing people what’s going on by this point, but it doesn’t explain why he doesn’t even seem to try and convince people he’s Danny Rand beyond just saying “I’m Danny!”
  • What the f**k was Harold Meachum’s plan?
    • So he decides that the best time to reveal he’s alive is immediately after killing a board member, and making it look like a suicide?
    • Did he expect nobody would question why he wasn’t decomposing in a coffin and went ahead with a funeral?  Isn’t faking your own death illegal?
    • One possible explanation is that the reanimation process made him crazy but it doesn’t explain why he made the decision in the first place.
    • The only reason that Harold was even slightly compelling is because the actor did an incredible job turning a garbage script into something watchable (unlike Finn Jones who’s a good actor but unfortunately wasn’t able to do the same with Danny Rand)

Ultimately, it seems to me that a lot of these problems come from the fact the Iron Fist was rushed to production and the writers didn’t have time to fully flesh out a complete story.  Finn Jones has also talked about how little time he had to prepare for the role as well as for the fight scenes.  As a huge Marvel fan, I was incredibly excited for this but as I was watching it Friday night (and well into Saturday morning) I couldn’t believe how terrible some of the writing actually was.  Luckily it got better as the show went on and the dialogue became more natural but every once in a while something would happen that would remind me just how poorly everything seemed to be put together.

Despite all this, there were a few things I liked about the series.  Ward Meachum, Colleen Wing, and Davos were, in my opinion, by far the best parts of the show because they were the three most fleshed out characters and each brought a new and interesting dynamic.  Ward’s arc started out very conventional but evolved into a more complex relationship between him and Danny (and made more complicated by his relationship with Harold).  Colleen Wing added a unique voice to the Defenders universe and helped explore the structure of the Hand through her conflicted affiliation with the organization.  Davos was also great addition to the show and I wish he showed up earlier since he would have been a great way to explain some of mystery behind K’un-Lun rather than rely on an excessive amount of exposition from Finn Jones.

All in all, Iron Fist was clearly rushed to production in order to get to The Defenders as fast as possible, but I am optimistic that Danny will be a more compelling character when he’s with the other Defenders and not the focus of his own series.