Marvel’s “Iron Fist” Review: The Last Defender Arrives

Marvel’s Netflix shows, all building to the upcoming “The Defenders” crossover event, have so far been dark, character focused and have taken their time to establish every character, good or bad. “Iron Fist,” though obviously sharing many connections with the other shows, is a much different show than its predecessors.

Compared to the slow burn intro of “Daredevil,” “Iron Fist” starts things off with a refreshingly offbeat prologue. The presumed dead Danny Rand (Finn Jones) arrives in New York City bright eyed, bushy tailed and bare footed, waltzing right up to the front door of Rand Enterprises, wishing to pick up where he left off. Of course, this doesn’t go very well with the current management, notably Ward and Joy Meachum (Tom Pelphery and Jessica Stroup), who have been running the company with a firm hand.

The Meachums- and the viewer- have questions. Where has Danny been for the last fifteen years? Why does he return now? What is this so called Iron Fist he claims he has? Wisely, the show waits until crucial moments to play these cards, as opposed to “Daredevil” which began with Matt Murdock instantly a vigilante. “Iron Fist” is exquisitely paced; the show doesn’t waste a scene.

While not as dark as the noir tinged title sequence would have you believe, the show is nonetheless firmly planted in the Marvel/Netflix world. Fight scenes are plentiful and each one stands out from the other. The tropes of comic book origin stories are here, with the occasional subversion, notably where the show’s second episode decides to spend most of its time. And yes, there are cameos and connections to the Marvel Universe, but the less said, the better.

“Iron Fist,” though lighter in tone and more action driven than fans of the Netflix world are used to, is nonetheless compelling and tightly focused. Seeing as the series is the last before “The Defenders,” it could’ve very easily felt like filler until the crossover, but it manages to stand apart and lead into the mega show with precision and confidence.

“Iron Fist” debuts on Netflix on March 17.