By Thomas Novak
If you’ve been following the series of Netflix shows based on the Marvel properties, then you’ve probably seen the trailers and teasers for Iron Fist, which premiers on March 17th. But, as is the case with a lot of these shows, some of us are left wondering “what’s the draw?” and “is it worth watching?” especially after receiving less-than-stellar-reviews ahead of its debut.
The show Iron fist is based on a character of the same name, created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane. He debuted in Marvel Premier #15 in 1974, and was part of the publishers’ 1970’s trend towards martial arts-based characters. Iron Fist tells the story of a young man named Danny Rand, who wields a power called the “Iron fist”. He’s the son of a very successful entrepreneur who, before becoming rich and famous, was raised in the land which “gave birth to the art of Kung-Fu”. On an expedition to the far away city of K’un L’un, Danny loses both his parents after they are murdered by his father’s business partner. Following their deaths Danny finds comfort and balance in the mystical city, while also preparing to avenge them. Upon his return to New York he becomes a masked crime fighter known as Iron Fist, and pairs up with another fan-favorite character, Luke Cage (who was also the subject of a recent Netflix series). For decades, the pair have been seen in various Marvel titles; most notably Heroes for Hire.
Now, what does all this mean for viewers? Well, the show essentially picks up when Danny Rand, played by Finn Jones (who’s most known as Loras Tyrell from the HBO series Game of Thrones), returns to New York to try reclaiming his family’s legacy. Along the way he discovers just how corrupt the city has become, and of course this means Rand will be met with extreme opposition from his late father’s former partner, Harold Meachum (played by David Wenham, whom most will recognize as Faramir from the Lord of the Rings films).
Because it is a Marvel show, fans can expect a lot of action sequences; especially since this show and the character are the publishers’ nod to the Kung Fu movies of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Iron Fist also shares plot elements with other Marvel-Netflix shows, like organized crime and its connection to big business. Fans who watch “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” and “Luke Cage,” will also see a few shared characters such as Claire Temple, played by Rosario Dawson.
On a side note, Dawson is not only set to appear in Iron Fist. She will also be reprising the role in The Defenders, which is currently in production. If you haven’t heard of The Defenders, think of it as Netflix’s version of The Avengers; you get all the major characters from the previous shows in a single series. Oh, yeah, and the Punisher too.
Ahead of its debut, Iron Fist made headlines for negative reviews. The website Engadget.com was one of several outlets who published a review by Billy Steele. He said, “Netflix’s run of generating buzz with its Marvel original series has come to an end…The prevailing sentiment is that the show suffers not only from appropriation and a lack of diversity, but that it’s also just plain boring to watch.”
Following reviews like this, some fans are left wondering if they should even bother giving the show a chance. I say, what’s the worst that can happen from watching a couple of episodes? I mean, even if it’s terrible, fans shouldn’t be all that worried. When it comes to failing, Marvel has already mastered that (on the big-screen nonetheless) and we all recovered just fine after seeing Iron Man 3.
Even lead actor Finn Jones is leaving it in the hands of viewers to figure out for themselves. When asked about the reviews that the show received prior to its debut, Jones told the website Metro.co.uk, “Well I think there’s multiple factors. What I will say is these shows are not made for critics, they are first and foremost made for the fans. I also think some of the reviews we saw were seeing the show through a very specific lens, and I think when the fans of the Marvel Netflix world and fans of the comic books view the show through the lens of just wanting to enjoy a superhero show, then they will really enjoy what they see. I think it’s a fantastic show which is really fun and I think it stands up there with the other Defenders’ shows without a doubt.”
Now that you’re all caught up, don’t forget that Iron Fist premiers March 17th, 2017 on Netflix.