After a strong run on Netflix with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, Marvel has its first stumble of sorts with Iron Fist. However, for all the shortcomings of the March 17-launching martial arts series, there is real muscle to be found in the performances of Jessica Henwick and Rosario Dawson.
In fact, as I say in my video review above, if it were a series without these two women, to riff off this International Women’s Day, Iron Fist wouldn’t pack much of a punch at all. It is Henwick and Dawson’s dynamic — individually and together — as “Daughter of the Dragon” dojo-running Colleen Wing and ex-nurse Claire Temple, respectively, that pumps the irregular heart of the 13-episode first season from showrunner Scott Buck.
The reality is that the Finn Jones-led, New York City-based middling Iron Fist is much more in line with a Big 4 show like Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.E.I.L.D. than what we’ve come to expect from the Marvel-Netflix team-ups. The fantastic Henwick’s cage match-winning Wing and Dawson’s Temple (back for her fourth Marvel series) kick it, but Jones’ Iron Fist simply lacks the swagger, originality and, despite thrusts at the corporate world, relevance of predecessors like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. With as well none of the artistry of FX and Marvel’s Legion, Iron Fist is too slow-paced with little payoff.
Game Of Thrones alum Finn is fine as the once-thought-for-dead-in-the-Himalayas Danny Rand, now back in the superhero-populated New York of the Marvel Universe. Like when he was first introduced in the comics in the 1970s, the very rich but not yet hero-for-hire is looking to help run his dead father’s giant chemical and drug company and eventually use his extensive training as a warrior he seemingly received in Asia. While this Iron Fist has the longtime comic hero’s signature chest tattoo, the scar is in the scripts, which often lose their footing.
Another Marvel-Netflix vet, Carrie-Anne Moss, is also in Iron Fist as are David Wenham, Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey.
You can see more of what I think of Iron Fist the series, and Henwick and Dawson, by clicking on my video review above. In many ways, though, like too many Marvel movies, Iron Fist succeeds in relative terms if you look at its function as primarily getting to the next level. In this case, that is the now-filming The Defenders, where Jones, Henwick and Dawson will join Daredevil’s Charlie Cox and Elodie Yung, Jessica Jones’ Krysten Ritter and Luke Cage’s Mike Colter. We’ll see if it worked when that Marco Ramirez-run and Sigourney Weaver-starring eight-episode miniseries debuts this year.