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While you were drinking: Marvel’s Iron Fist, Episodes 1-4

Iron-Fist-PosterWhile you were enjoying St. Patrick’s Day, I was binging MARVEL’S IRON FIST on Netflix. I have four episodes down, so that’s my perspective. It’s based on a 1970’s Marvel comics character who is a mix of Tarzan and Bruce Lee with a dash of Lost Horizon. He can be fun in the comics or he can be a boring martial arts guy. So far the show achieves neither of those. It’s a glacially paced origin story with mild action. It’s either building to something awesome or I’m watching paint dry. Sometimes it’s pretty paint though.

It’s the first Marvel show to debut in DOLBY VISION HDR and it looks phenomenal. There’s a night time street fair in the 1st episode that shows off the expanded color gamut and high contrast. It’s the best looking scene in any Marvel show yet. However, I can’t binge HDR without burning out my eyeballs. The screen pumps out too much light to sit and watch for more than a couple hours. Netflix should take note of this as they offer more HDR programming.

The characters are well written and the cast is solid. I like Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist and everyone is believable, but there’s certainly no Vincent D’Onofrio or Mahershala Ali in this group. Also, the tension is so subtle and the story so drawn out that I expect a lot of viewers will tune out. This is a show based on a comic book, but much like Luke Cage, it feels like it wants to forget it’s roots due to budget constraints.

The action is sparse and the choreography is uneven in quality. It’s not on par with the work in Daredevil and that’s shocking for a martial arts based show. It’s partly the choice to keep the fights in accord with the show’s meditative theme. Iron Fist fights with a Tai chi meets Akido vibe most of the time. When he lets loose with a strong style I can glimpse more potential, but the lack of believability is a sin. The fights are cut slowly and the actors look choreographed. That is not acceptable for a show about a kung-fu super-hero. This show needs to evolve into something more imaginative than a character study with fight interludes. It needs more fantasy elements and it needs to open a can of whoop-ass.

***I have completed the show and an expanded review is not necessary. It has no fantasy elements and poor martial arts scenes. The writing is good enough to elevate it above Luke Cage, but Iron Fist will require better action scenes if they want the character to work on screen.

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© 2019 by Maximilian Gray
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