When I was about ten years old, I started actively reading comic books and, in that time, became very familiar with the Heroes for Hire, a.k.a. Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Very shortly, they became some of my favorites. They were funny and tough, with amazing powers. The Netflix series Marvel’s The Defenders shows have been a bit of a dream come true for my inner child, even in their less successful moments. I just wanted to make sure that my bias was clearly stated before we get into this.
Danny Rand has returned home and is seeking to rejoin his company. As his company struggles under the control of the villainous organization The Hand, Danny tries to prove himself, protect his friends, and find his destiny as the Iron Fist. He is confronted by a number of villains, including Madame Gao, Harold Meachum, and Bakuto. Each and every one of these villains are more fleshed out and entertaining than Danny really gets to be; actually, Danny might be the least exciting character in the series. Not to say that Danny isn’t likable. He’s childish and naïve, which gets irritating. We want him to succeed, but wow, he is so dumb.
Iron Fist is much better than the critics say it is. Agreed, it is one of the lesser of the Defenders series, but it is certainly better than the second season of Daredevil after the Punisher story was completed. It really is the supporting cast that makes this show work. Colleen Wing is phenomenal. Her arc and growth is completely believable and engaging. Her combat is always more impressive than Danny’s. Madame Gao is so intimidating simply because of how cruel she is. She delivers all of her words with poise and calm, which makes her even more sinister. Ward Meachum, Danny’s childhood rival, starts as a bland aggravating jerk but evolves into this complex and troubled man. Truly, the entire Meachum storyline is consistently more engaging than Danny’s.
The creators of this show sought to skip the origin story of Danny and did not spend any time showing him becoming the Iron Fist. They created a bigger problem for themselves, however, as that is exactly what this series is. Danny does not understand his powers, he struggles to understand why his parents died, he cries a lot. It is all classic origin story stuff. This is fine, but I wish I had known this going in. I wanted Danny Rand in his green and yellow suit, flying through the air and punching people through walls. I did not get that. That is okay! This is not a martial arts show, though. This is a show about growth and how our heroes need to let go of their past so they can move on. Meachum, Wing, and Danny are all grappling with that and, in that way, this show is very successful.
It was at the end of the series when I realized why this show did not completely feel like an Iron Fist show. It is because we were missing Luke Cage! Luke and Danny are the perfect pair. I can’t wait for them to meet in Defenders and, God, I hope that we get a Heroes for Hire show soon. Danny needs that in order for him to be the Iron Fist that we all want him to be.
Give Iron Fist a watch. It is streaming now on Netflix.