Unlike the other Defender shows, the first season of Iron Fist wasn’t primarily an origin story. Danny Rand who is the main protagonist had already become the Iron Fist and instead of building on this and showing us what the Iron Fist is all about, we were given other story elements that hurt the quality of the season.
Warning Spoilers Ahead
Danny knows who he is, but doesn’t know if he wants to be Iron Fist
So as I mentioned, Danny Rand already proclaimed himself to be Iron Fist, he already knew what he represents and what he can do. So you’re expecting him, to then fulfil those duties and go on to be Iron Fist right?
Nope, instead he is too busy arguing with himself if he wants to be the Danny Rand prior to the plane accident and just be the guy who runs his company and re uniting with his childhood friends. The reasons for this weren’t that interesting, I got the fact he wanted the world to know who he is and that he is back. But surely after essentially growing up and training to become the Iron Fist, he would have already decided what he wanted to be?
At the beginning of the show he says he does, and you would think after finding out The Hand are involved in his company, who are the sworn enemy of the Iron Fist this would give him the platform to go on and fulfil his role. But no, there was too much family drama with the Meachums and for some reason not being able to summon the powers of the Iron Fist and even questioning why he was chosen to be the one in the first place
Which leads me to my second point…
Can we be honest with ourselves here, did any one of us care about the Meachums family drama? The father & son issues between Ward and Harold felt forced on us, Joy was just there as another character with issues. She didn’t know if she wanted to be a caring humanitarian or just a corporate business woman. The two siblings were more annoying than anything, although I will admit Ward did grow on me in the end, with him constantly having to answer to his Dad while continuously having to lie to his sister.
But Joy felt like she was just there as a plot device. One minute she wants to run the company in honour of her dad, next minute she wants to go back to Law. She cares for her brother and sides with him blindly, but then has a change of heart over her friendship with Danny. By the end of the season, she is now going to be plotting to kill Danny for some reason, apparently its because it was him that ruined her life. While in all honesty, all he did was expose her as a person who doesn’t know what they represent and what they want to with their life.
I felt the pacing of the action was inconsistent, and there were no standout moments like the Daredevil series had. I had high expectations of the show in this aspect, considering its based on a hero who performs martial arts. I appreciated the realistic tone it went with and the cage fighting scenes for Colleen Wing were directed really well.
But once again Danny felt short with his scenes, bar the one fight in episode 7, where he took on Zhou Cheng. We saw glimpses of the Iron Fist being used, but not nearly enough. For someone to be trained by Ancient Monks, I expected him to really perform moves that you wouldn’t expert a normal human to perform. He never really stamped his authority on his enemies and I feel like the writers decided to hold back the Iron Fist, for the Defenders or maybe the corresponding seasons to follow. I would have been okay with this, if the season was based on him becoming Iron Fist, but as mentioned earlier, he is already Iron Fist so I wanted to see some Iron Fist action!
Couldn’t decide who the main villain is
Was it The Hand or was it Harold? Ultimately I think it was Harold, mostly because he was the one that Danny faced off with in the end. Which by the way was rubbish, because we knew Danny could defeat him easily. But for some reason, being on the rooftop of a building on a rainy night and Harold holding a gun, meant Danny almost got defeated…
Also in the end it was Coleen who killed Harold, as Danny also decided that he will not kill his enemies either. The Hand, even though they were the sinister villains throughout the season and were seen as the real enemy, their arc was wrapped up on the second to last episode and I have a feeling will be the main villains for the upcoming Defenders series.
So there we have it, those were my main issues with The Iron Fist. Don’t get me wrong, even-though it may sound like it. I didn’t completely hate the first season, nor do I think it was terrible. It had its moments, like when it was about Danny being the Iron Fist and the episodes focused on this and his war with The Hand. But ultimately the Meachums family drama, lack of narrative towards a main villain and Danny conflicting with himself dragged the season back.