I must start off apologizing for arriving so late to the Iron Fist review party. However, in my defense, it turns out having a full-time job and a part-time job and watching a lot of television is more exhausting than you might think. I’d say it’ll never happen again, but I just don’t think I could watch less TV than I do. (I could watch more, but less would be just ridiculous.)
That said, I have to address this show. If you Google “Iron Fist reviews,” you’ll find a lot of what one might generously call unfavorable writeups. On Rotten Tomatoes, arguably the leading resource for what critics think of television shows and films, it currently holds an insulting 17 percent on the Tomatometer. After seeing some of these scores, I knew I had to say something—and not to add my voice to the negativity. I often feel I have become the “Let me tell you what’s wrong with this popular show” guy, but I can still love something while noticing its flaws. With this show, it was the other way around: although it show definitely has its problems, I think its critics have in some cases been more negative than is deserved.
Take Matt Zoller Seitz’s article on the show for Vulture. Seitz makes some good points about how Iron Fist fails where Jessica Jones and Luke Cage succeed in regard to the risks in tone. Jones and Cage were much darker, and it made them more interesting to watch; it also made the humor, when it appeared, more profound and memorable. Plus, Iron Fist could use more humor. Even though I agree with Seitz on that, I feel he misses the point on certain issues. For example, he makes many references to protagonist Danny Rand being entitled, something with which I strongly disagree. Yes, Danny is indeed a rich kid, but he also spent years in a poor and humble atmosphere where he was trained in the martial arts—and upon his return to New York, he does not seek money but rather what family he has left. In fact, he does not seek money at all until his childhood friends blatantly reject him, and doing so is merely to to upset those friends for said rejection. Not the best move by a superhero, but who among us can say we’d do things any differently?
Over at the Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Feiberg claims that Iron Fist has no villain. Now, among the Marvel series on Netflix, I don’t think the villains get any better than Kilgrave and the Kingpin, and Iron Fist didn’t come close to someone of that caliber. But to state there isn’t a villain at all is nothing short of an oversimplification. Like Daredevil, Iron fist constantly fighting with members of the the Hand. Plus (spoiler alert!), let us not forget about Harold Meachum, the best friend and business partner of Danny’s father, who is truly evil if you take the time to watch the show. Harold starts off as rather benign despite the circumstances around his . . . living situation. But the second Harold first appeared on screen, although I was not sure who he was yet, I said to myself, “This guy is evil. This guy is our villain.” I was right, and even though the story involving Harold wasn’t perfect, it was there, and I wouldn’t even say he was Marvel’s worst villain on screen.
My point is that there is merit to not loving Iron Fist as much as Marvel’s other offerings, but to write it off as a full-on miss is going a tad overboard. I fully admit that the show is a bit slow; some things could have been sped up, such as how slowly they build to Danny fully being identified as himself and not a fraud. However, many critics haven’t seemed to mention the intrigue that is the just-mentioned Harold Meachum. Half the fun for me was trying to figure out what this guy’s angle was because once I thought I had him pegged he’d do something I thought was out of character. I also haven’t seen much about Jessica Henwick, which I find puzzling—her character, Colleen Wing, is not only sexy but a legitimate bad-ass! If you see the underground fight episode, you’ll know what I mean. Despite the show’s flaws, there are far too many entertaining parts to give it what essentially amounts to an F minus.
On that note, I want to remind people that Batman and Robin, the one with George Clooney, sits at 11 percent on the Tomatometer. Think about that for just a minute: Iron Fist is a mere six percent better than Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze shouting ice puns? Six percent better than bat nipples? I’ve conceded that it has its flaws, but 17 percent? Take it from me, there are far worse shows out there, ones with far better reviews. Is it obsession worthy? Most likely not. Will you you like it? If you’re a fan of such shows, I’d say so. It fell short of its massive potential, but it is entertaining enough.
So check it out, if you haven’t already, and leave a comment below with what rating you think it rightfully should have. Deal?