When a billion-dollar business, a mysterious plane crash, and kung fu action collide, the result could either be an enticing drama or anti-climactic disorder. Netflix’s newest release, Iron Fist, however, manages to straddle these polar avenues in a rollercoaster-esque whirlwind.
Based on Marvel Comics character Iron Fist written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Gil Kane, this new web television series hit Netflix on March 17. The project is spearheaded by producer Evan Perazzo and features the talents of Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick, both best known for their roles as Ser Loras Tyrell and Nymeria Sand in HBO’s Game of Thrones. The show is the fourth in the series of Netflix originals that will culminate in a superhero mashup entitled The Defenders, which will include characters from shows Jessica Jones and Daredevil.
Iron Fist opens with a pair of bare feet maneuvering through the bustle of leather-shoed Manhattan pedestrians. The camera pans up to reveal a disheveled Danny Rand (Finn Jones) searching for his destination. He finally enters Rand Enterprises, his family’s company, only to be deemed homeless and consequently thrown out of the polished establishment. But these bodyguards are no match for Danny, whose 15 years away from civilization training to become the all-powerful “Iron Fist” clearly paid off in combat skills.
In a tornado of kung fu mastery, Danny defeats each of the many guards and slip into the penthouse office to speak to his childhood friends Joy and Ward Meachum (Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey). His kind imploring about the state of affairs within his company is met with immediate hostility—the siblings do not believe this man is a part of the Rand family because the Rands perished in a plane crash 15 years ago. Despite his efforts to convince, he is officially tossed out and set to slumber in a park alongside a homeless man he befriends.
Danny, as viewers begin to learn, is of the persistent species. He continues with valiant tenacity to confront the Meachum duo with the truth that he is the real Rand child and not indeed dead. With equal perseverance, the two continually deny this and conclude that this must be a drastic prank on them or an attempt by some competitor to thwart their newly expanding business.
This mindset starts to evolve when Danny expresses intimate details about his life and friendships with the Meachums and exhibits superhuman powers, like somersaulting over a taxi charged straight at him, and his typically peaceful, childlike demeanor turns into (literally) glowing frustration.
Not all of Danny’s time, however, is spent begging the Meachums to accept his real identity. In his free time he meditates and practices the art of kung fu. It is through these extracurriculars that he meets Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick). While initially wary about Danny’s identity and offer to teach kung fu at her dojo, she witnesses the attempted assassination of him by several Meachum guards and begins to realize the true gravity of his situation.
While Iron Fist does aim for unique intrigue in theory, the arrow seems to just miss its target repeatedly. The creators bit off slightly more than they could chew in trying to execute such a scattered plot, situating possibly crowning moments in the most anticlimactic positions. Danny’s being followed is covered in such length that their eventual attempt to attack him fizzes out without much thrill.
And even when a fight scene would arouse interest, such involvement was lost in slow-paced choreography and unrealistic physical conventions. While the ingenuity of kung fu was channeled through intricate movements, the execution of such moves always acted in slow motion, with the camera capturing the action an additional one or two steps behind.
The overall visual and audible appeal, however, did seize the overriding message of innocence and good prevailing against evil. The sleekness of the cinematography played on the silky essence of the story’s protagonist, and strategically placed music at times aided the childlike wonder of a wandering boy and at other times cultivated anticipation for foreboding calamity.
Albeit the minor bumps in believability that are guaranteed with comic book adaptations, the plot itself does manage to hold a viewer’s attention. So if you happen to enjoy kung fu and outlandish storylines, or you just need a new show to binge, Iron Fist will undoubtedly have you clicking “Continue Watching” on Netflix until its very last episode.
Featured Image By Netflix