[M]ost of the review websites are already calling Iron Fist a disaster. However it is not entirely that poor in packing a punch. Rather, the recently released much awaited Netflix mini series suffers from poor acting, direction and story telling. The source material not being so bad as it has turned out to be. This comes as a huge disappointment to Marvel fans and Netflix viewers alike as the expectation for Iron Fist was pretty much blown over when the trailers and the short clips were propagated all over Facebook and social media. There was another catch to the build up – the much awaited release of the ‘Defenders’ series.
The much awaited series is slated to amalgamate into a Netflix blockbuster with the likes of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and the legendary Daredevil all teaming up to confront a host of evil. While the rest of the shows that pertain to the individual characters were not such a bad experiment in poor lighting, Iron Fist decided to sway away from the gloomy, eerie and dark emo-ish backdrops and aura the other shows brought forth. Luke Cage was a bit different however, bringing a sort of positivism to the atmosphere with Luke becoming the neighborhood’s favorite hero as he beats around a host of baddies and demolishes the strength of Harlem’s biggest crime ring. The story arc towards which the arcs focused brought impressions of a brighter future for Luke Cage and whoever would end up assisting him in the life that he was stuck in. Similarly, Jessica Jones followed the same routine although the story spoke parallels of ritual abuse and carried heavy undertones of attempting to draw imagery of the mental horror an abuse survivor goes through masquerading the experience as a super hero epic. Then came Daredevil – which was an excellent work keeping up with the originality of the comic book series and bringing the effects of great writing and acting to the screen giving the audience what they exactly deserved from the emotionally complex and well thought out character. The direction of the mini-series actually boosted the emotional high in the engaging flash back scenes that mainly involved young Murdoch and his father.
Finally, we got Iron Fist on our table as the second biggest premiere of a Marvel show on Netflix.
The Iron Fist Plot
The story starts off with a barefooted Finn Jones walking around downtown New York attempting to recollect his memory and identify the locations from his past. This act, eventually leads him to a tussle with the son of his late father’s partner’s children, Ward and Joy Meachum (played by Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup). We are revealed later that the young Iron Fist has actually been presumed dead for the past 15 years and during this time the children of Harold Meachum, the not so seemingly dead partner of Danny Rand’s (Finn Jones) father have built the business into a considerable empire. The first few episodes of the mini-series read out like a soap opera where Danny Rand is locked in a struggle with the Meachums to take back control of his company. Succeeding, he now uses his new found wealth to complete what he knows to be his purpose in life – take down an evil organization of Ninjas known simply as ‘the Hand’.
The rest of the plot involves a host of story elements with young Danny locating his love interest and unlikely ally in Colleen Wing, and then attempting to target and locate the conspirator that was behind the death of his parents and the apparent infiltration of his company by the Hand. The story does not have the necessary arcs that are required to keep such a ship sailing smoothly and attempting to binge watch on any amount of episodes beyond the third and fourth one will cause a serious loss of focus ultimately causing the viewer to sift through the episodes to know the ending.
Cinematography and Direction
The cinematography is not as fulfilling as it was in the other Netflix shows with a supreme focus on having as much darkness in the atmosphere as possible to know real effect in creating a unique atmosphere to the series. The Daredevil also had a particular focus on night time scenes but that was it right there. It had a particular focus on creating a certain atmosphere that Iron Fist continuously lacks. The direction also suffers from the same aspect, with no apparent direction (no pun intended) in creating a certain mark or ascent in the way the fight scenes were portrayed or the intense dialogue scenes were carried out. The cut through scenes and the assembly of the different camera angles was beyond sub standard. After a a few minutes into the show, one feels like he/she is simply being dragged by the story and not by any other aspect of the mini-series. The reason is that the mystery only remains in the desire to know what is going to happen next. The viewer is no longer enraptured by the experience any more. This is the reason that people start to fast forward to see the ending, since they are no longer interested in the quality of direction and cinematography.
Characters and Acting
Colleen Wing portrayed by Jessica Henwick is one of the better actresses in the show. Finn Jones has done an OK job of portraying Iron Fist and Jessica Stroup as Joy Meachum is bearable. The particularly interesting job has been done by none other than Tom Pelphrey playing Ward Meachum. The sarcastic over tone that he builds up to his character portraying the complex personality that a person over burdened by the maintenance of his own image undergoes was an arduous task but not impossible. Although Pelphrey was not able to pull it off on an Emmy award winning level he was however able to do the role some justice. The villains in the show led by the infamous Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) carry no substance whatsoever. The acting plays a major role here in discrediting the intended effect the villains are supposed to create. Unfortunately, the bad guys come off as nasty as a bad guy from the Power Rangers. The mystery element is not present and the actors seem to be only working for the paycheck absolutely devoid of any passion whatsoever.
- Ward Meachum
- Colleen Wing
- The Buddhist Monastery
- The Cinematography
- Joy Meachum
- Harold Meachum
- The Hand