**Please note that this review only emcompasses the first six episodes given to critics**
Objectively the least popular Defender is back for his second season! It’s a real shame that Scott Buck’s debut season dampened the excitement for Iron Fist as a character. There is a lot of potential when it comes to Danny Rand, potential that was never really found in the show’s first outing. But now under Raven Metzner’s guidance, Iron Fist season 2 gives us a much improved, yet still flawed, story of the Immortal Iron Fist.
Now I’m sure everyone is wondering about the the fight scenes (their marketing sure thinks you are). They were easily some of the worst and most embarrassing parts of the first season. I can happily say that they are now leagues better, and the new Stunt Coordinator Clayton Barber makes things look much more fluid and convincing than what we have seen previously. Right off the bat, the show makes a point to show this much needed improvement, even ending the first episode with one of their best fights to date. Now they still don’t reach Daredevil levels, but the fight sequences seen in the first six episodes are a blast. Danny no longer looks unconvincing, and every blow delivered packs a punch. Danny now fights with a calm yet strict demeanor that is really neat to see in play—especially when fighting against others who are using more chaotic methods. So when it comes to this aspect of the show, there’s no way you won’t be impressed.
Sadly, that can’t be said for the show as a whole. While things are much improved overall, there are still flaws to be had. In the first six episodes that critics were given, the first half was rather tedious and unevenly paced—until suddenly the story found its momentum and picked up speed. While the writing in general is still better, that doesn’t stop the show from having constant expositionally heavy scenes (AKA whenever Colleen and Danny are alone in a room). As for their characters, the show centers around Danny Rand. Yet sadly almost all of the other characters tend to upstage him, and often are more interesting than the lead character.
Yes, that isn’t the best thing to say about a show and its lead character. But let’s talk about Danny Rand. Finn Jones returns to the role, and clearly shows that he wants to do this role right—but he still can’t fully nail it. He may look great in the fight sequences now, but his deliveries can come off as stale—something that becomes glaring as everyone around him upstages him at times in both performance and in character depth. While he isn’t what Charlie Cox is to Daredevil, hopefully by the season’s end Finn’s effort will bring him that much closer to being so. As for the character’s look, the show has seemingly heard all the complaints about there being no costume, and I’m happy to say that they are ever so slowly making progress to him hopefully donning the classic suit one day. While out fighting crime, he can be seen in a green hoodie and yellow bandana, and you can even see him in the equivalent of a prototype suit in one of the early flashback scenes. As for his abilities, the show is making baby steps when it comes to getting the Iron Fist as powerful as he should be. Really small baby steps.
Alongside Danny, we have Colleen, who is still happily in a relationship with him. Things are different for her however. While he goes out to fight at night, Colleen has chosen to hang up her Katana—choosing not to lead that same life. Now obviously, she can’t avoid it for long, but it goes to show how important the events of The Defenders were. Jessica Henwick is great in the role, if not sometimes cheesy. She really starts to shine when Misty Knight comes into play, and they get to pick up that dynamic again. The two of them bounce off each other extremely well, and I hope that the future holds more storylines for the both of them.
Now I’m sure everyone is curious about Mary. Good ol’ Typhoid Mary. It’s hard to discuss much about her, but I can say that Alice Eve chooses a wonderfully unique approach at portraying the character. The performance can be a little off putting, but given time, it pays off in the best possible way. Fans of the character should expect a different adaptation of the character, and not a copy and paste (much like what Daredevil did with Kingpin). I can’t talk too much about her role in the story, but I will say that she does play an integral role in plot—sometimes in some very surprising and refreshing ways.
When it comes to the antagonistic forces, Davos is posed to be the leading threat. Sacha Dhawan does a fantastic job, and he really took the new season as a second chance to better not only his performance, but the character as well. Dhawan delivers a truly menacing performance, and Davos may be at his scariest when he is simply not saying a word. His backstory is further explored, and while not up to the heights of some previous villains, the new information brought to the table helps to further flesh out Davos’ unrelenting determination to see his goal achieved. It goes without saying that Davos also excels in the show’s new choreography—in fact he may be the best of the cast.
When we last saw Joy Meachum, she was sitting across from Davos in Paris. That thread is picked up immediately as we quickly learn that Joy and Davos are working together—with a mysterious and unknown goal in mind. Jessica Stroup ups the ante and really excels as Joy Meachum. After all the trauma that she went through in the first season, it’s easy to see how she ended up in her current state. Joy is calculating, mysterious, and has determination almost as strong as Davos’. In fact, Joy’s rather menacing this season, as you know she has a plan—but you can never quite see what is going on in her head, or what her true intentions.
As for Joy’s brother, AKA the best part of the first season, Ward is back as well. His role in the story isn’t quite as substantial as last season’s (really how could it be?), but he still plays an important part—even if it doesn’t seem like it at first. Tom Pelphrey remains fantastic in the role, even delivering some of his best scenes yet. One thing that did catch me a little off guard with Ward this time around, was his rather sudden camaraderie and friendship with Danny. It is fun to see though, so while I’m not against it in the slightest, it did seem to come out of nowhere.
Iron Fist’s second season, while still flawed, remains a clear improvement of what was given to us by Scott Buck. Everyone across the board has further enhanced their performances and characters, while the plot and conflict becomes increasingly tense and more interesting as the season goes along. Hopefully the momentum that they reach by the end of the episodes that were given to us is maintained throughout the rest of the season—and hopefully the quality continues to rise with it.
- Jessica Jones is now the only show to glaringly avoid any connection with the events that happened in Defenders.
- While mentioned, they still very much ignore the fact that K’un-Lun has vanished. It’s as if they are happy not having to pay so much money to recreate a mystical city.
- Can you believe that the title sequence is still blue instead of green?
You can catch Iron Fist when it airs exclusively on Netflix on September 7th.