Friday, March 17, 2017

Marvel's Iron Fist

© by Gerald So | 5:30 P.M.

As with Marvel's Daredevil, I set premiere day aside to binge-watch Iron Fist on Netflix. Danny Rand (Finn Jones) returns to New York fifteen years after he was presumed to have died in a plane crash over the Himalayas along with his billionaire industrialist father Wendell and mother Heather.

Danny's reappearance dismays his childhood friends Joy and Ward Meachum (Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey respectively), who run Rand Enterprises since the death of their father Harold (David Wenham), Wendell's partner. Disapproving of some of Rand's current practices, Danny makes a play for his rightful share of the company.

Oh, yes, the superhero part: Shortly after Danny's plane crashed, he was taken to the extradimensional city K'un-Lun, where he was raised and trained by its warrior monks, sworn enemies of Marvel's previously-depicted killer cult, The Hand.

Just as Danny takes a while to get his bearings, so does the season. Its similarity to other origin stories (Batman Begins, Iron Man, Arrow) is a quibble compared to its largely unsympathetic, super-wealthy characters. Ward is a self-admitted "asshole" drug addict, but then he has the stress of keeping secret that The Hand brought Harold back from the dead, and Harold's machinations, credited to Ward, have kept Rand profitable if more cutthroat than Danny would like. Joy has soft spots for Danny and Ward but is an otherwise cold, self-made businesswoman.

I most liked and rooted for Danny's chemistry with karate teacher Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), but she also keeps a dark secret.

Iron Fist is fine, but clearly the least edgy of the four series setting up Marvel's The Defenders. Maybe we can hope for better now that the setup is done.

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