The final defender is here, aiming to take his place on our team of New York native misfits, but with his standalone series missing many crucial points that made the others beloved, this series fails to claim its spot along the critically acclaimed Netflix shows.

Daredevil struggled with the idea of killing for an entire sea¬son in a way that felt genuine and heartfelt. Luke Cage had to cope with the fact that he could nev¬er truly escape his past. Jessica Jones struggled through PTSD to become part of a greater good. If you were to ask me to identify Danny Rand’s primary conflict, I simply couldn’t.

It’s clear from the beginning that the Iron Fist is an enemy of the Hand. The Hand, which we remember from Daredevil, is quite a vicious organization, so it should stand to reason that any¬one with the intention of wiping them out should be a dedicated warrior and incredibly grounded.

Danny Rand fails to encompass any of this, showing from the beginning a profound in¬ability to deal with emotional struggles. His actions often lead him to horrific flashbacks about his greatest struggles, which, if coupled with a more realistic backstory and believable portrayal, had the potential to be compelling. Finn Jones failed to do the character justice, with expressiveness in combat scenarios often coming off as contrived and ill-prepared.

Marvel properties that fail to deliver on compelling narrative and character often manage to compensate by creating incredibly appealing surreal scenarios revolving around the powers and fictional elements but it takes numerous episodes before we see the Iron Fist in real action.

Most of the tension in the show is incredibly undercut by horribly unbelievable scenarios. Unlike the rest of the shows, which weren’t afraid to crack a few eggs or kill some people off to make us feel for our hero’s struggle, Iron Fist felt significant¬ly more campy, turning in the harsher gritty elements for what really feels like your typical super story. It was ineffective at best, and at worst, comical.

Where “Iron Fist” manages to excel is with its supporting cast. Characters like Ward Meachum and Colleen Wing serve as great catalysts to tell a story of a living breathing New York, similar to what we were used to with the other Netflix Marvel shows.

“Iron Fist” fails to live up to the other Netflix Marvel shows, but it also fails as a standalone story, lacking strong characters with realistic convictions. The villains are unfocused and hard to keep track of, and the narrative simply lacks any real tension. Thank¬fully, it does so little to set up for The Defenders that only a few episodes are really crucial toward watching the upcoming summer crossover.

Mustapha R. Price
Mustapha R. Price is now an alum of Southern New Hampshire University, pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts with the new Genre Fiction program. An advisor for COCE students, Mustapha has a history of game journalism behind him and a bright future sharing his stories with the world.

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