Netflix's Iron Fist series premiered March 15th, 2017. The latest installment to Netflix's Marvel line-up would serve as the final precursor to the anticipated Defenders series which will include the main characters from Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Many reviews from critics about the Kung Fu billionaire appear to have thus far been anything but favorable. I'd like to give my take on the Iron Fist.
The story is based on the Marvel comic book character Iron Fist created in the mid 1970's. The transition to TV has created some changes small and not so small to the original story line and supporting roles. The general overview of the Netflix story is during a private jet flight over the Himalaya mountains 10 year old Danny Rand son of Wendell Rand and at the time head of Rand Enterprises along with mother Heather are victims of a tragic crash. Both parents are killed and young Danny is left clinging to life in the bitter cold of the Himalayas and then rescued by monks from the mystical city of K'un Lun. While in K'un Lun Danny learns the ways of Buddhism, Kung Fu and eventually attains the title of the Iron Fist. Danny torn between his responsibilities as the Iron Fist and his past life as heir to Rand Enterprises makes his way back to New York City in search for answers to his parents death and his own destiny.
The cast, let's start with:
Danny Rand, I think Finn Jones has a good likeness to the comic book and cartoon representations of Iron Fist. He does a great portrayal of a what is essentially a living weapon still in the mindset of his past 10 year old self working to reintegrate into general society and contending with evil forces attempting to twist his perception of the truth and use him for their own malevolent purposes. If I had one shallow complaint I would say maybe he could bump up the weight training a tad and harden up physically but other than that a more than acceptable TV adaptation of the Iron Fist.
Coleen Wing played by Jessica Henwick plays an attractive no nonsense martial arts teacher who runs a dojo in downtown Manhattan. Her onscreen personality is said to be a good semblance of the printed comic book character and overall she does a great job and has good onscreen chemistry with Finn Jones. Her initial encounters with Danny leave her skeptical but at the same time curious about the young zen-like Kung Fu master. As time goes on will things change?
Claire Temple played by Rosario Dawson manages again to find herself in the midst of the street level superhero battles of New York City. She lands a fairly large amount of screen time and surprisingly a few fight scenes. Rosario definitely carved a niche for herself in the series and I am curious as to how much of a role she will play in the upcoming Defenders series if any.
The Meachums (Harold, Ward and Joy), played by David Wenham, Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup. There is no surprise that the return of Danny Rand could potentially cause some major contention here being the Meachum's now run Rand Enterprises. The character of Harold appears to be one of the larger separations from the comic book story line where he lives a more publicly known life and dies mysteriously at the hands of a ninja after being spared by the Iron Fist which is not the case in the TV series. David Wenham known widely for his role in "300" is a good fit for playing the manipulating father of Ward and ignorant Joy. Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup play great silver spoon brats kicking and screaming not to have their corporate financed lives ripped out from under them upon the return of young Danny.
The Hand - Bakuto and Madame Gao played by Ramón Rodríguez and Wai Ching Ho. Wai Ching Ho continues her convincing role as Madame Gao the never frazzled, calculating leader figure with The Hand. Ramon Rodriguez stars as Bakuto a cool and collective martial arts expert, Coleen Wing's sensei and later reveals his unsavory group affiliation. Tensions rise with the appearance of the Iron Fist sworn destroyer of The Hand.
Last but not least we have Davos played by Sacha Dhawan. Davos comes in search of the missing Iron Fist the Protector of K'un Lun which just so happens to be his good friend Danny. They both trained to be the Iron Fist but in the end Danny was ultimately chosen. Sacha portrays the determined but confused Davos who doesn't understand how Danny could walk away from being the Iron Fist, the legendary title he trained his whole life for but was later denied with the arrival of Danny to K'un Lun.
Overall each episode left me wanting to move on to the next one. Jeesh, at times I had to force stop myself from watching just so I could spread out the series over a couple of days and having some for tomorrow to watch. In retrospect reading over some of the negative reviews out there I find them to be way overcritical. The deviations from the original comic book scripture might be a contributing factor but let's not forget how many of our favorite comic book stories stay completely intact upon their arrival to the video screen. I give Iron Fist two thumbs up, fire up the popcorn machine and get ready to be wanting to sign-up for a local neighborhood Tai chi class once your done!