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Mark Suszko
Netflix Iron Fist
on Mar 27, 2017 at 4:19:36 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Mar 27, 2017 at 4:45:08 pm

I binged the first season over the weekend and really enjoyed most of it. I knew zero about this Marvel comics character before the show, but this series is well- executed and fills in the newbie viewer fairly quickly as to the character's origin and powers. Because the protagonist is himself a little damaged and not altogether of sound mind, we get to learn about him as he learns about himself.

10-year-old Danny Rand is the only survivor when the plane carrying his wealthy family crashes in an uncharted area in the Himalayas. He's rescued and healed by monks from a mystical, Brigadoon-like parallel dimension/city called Kun Lun, who spend the next 15 years teaching him their special warrior martial arts, and through them he gains the super-power of the Iron Fist: a way of channeling spiritual "chi" energies and focusing them into his hand, making it an unstoppable weapon.

His job is to use the Iron Fist to protect the gates of Kun Lun from the evil organization known as The Hand. But Danny shirks his guard duty and travels back to New York to re-join old life and claim his inheritance; majority stock holding of his dad's company. His childhood companions, the son and daughter of a co-founder, are the current heirs and management of Rand corporation and are not sure Danny is who he says he is. Danny has no way to prove it and has repressed memories and PTSD from the crash to deal with... The corporation has it's own agendas and Danny is a nuisance to those plans. That sets up the first three-quarters of the season. The last few episodes, Danny spends in fighting against The Hand's plans in New York, in a story line parallel to the first season of Netflix's DareDevil. Indeed, characters from DareDevil and Jessica Jones cross-over into Iron Fist to great effect.

The first three quarters of the season, I found very entertaining; the martial arts stunt work is good, the special effects maybe not theater-quality, but acceptable for TV. The overall look is relatively low-budget, compared to the other shows in this series, but even so, there's some pretty nice cinematography and use of color when the scenes are set in New York. A number of guest directors contribute, including RZA of Wu-Tang, who did a remarkably coherent job. The ultimate plot arc near the end of the season becomes a bit muddled and confusing because there's a double-cross of *somebody* happening every five minutes. There's no big master story payoff - so the bad guys will be back next season.

I think if you watch the first three episodes you may get hooked on it. The first episode alone may not do it, but the technique of crossover characters and situations/ plot lines from the other shows increases my enjoyment of them. There's a LOT of fan community controversy surrounding this one, regarding how true to the original comic it is. From my limited viewpoint, I think they got it mostly right, making compromises of the sort required when translating print to the screen. It's not as good as DareDevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage, but it's competent and entertaining. Especially if you are a martial arts fan.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Netflix Iron Fist
on Mar 27, 2017 at 9:44:01 pm







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