**Some spoilers in this review**
This show takes a long time to find its footing, and even then, may only appeal to Marvel Comics and martial arts fans. The series just doesn’t clearly define what it is about. By the end of the first episode or two of the other Marvel Netflix shows, I could tell you what the overall story was, the hero’s motivation, and who the main villain is that they will eventually have to defeat.
Here, that information doesn’t really come into focus until the final few episodes. The stakes are never that dire. The city is never in danger. There seems to be no reason to call in a super hero. This does allow for a bit more personal conflict, but that it just never engaging enough.
Iron Fist himself is likable at first. Optimistic and usually smiling. He’s immediately likable. As the series progresses, his angst leads him to lash out frequently. He comes off like a child throwing a tantrum. Even worse, there is no clear reason for why he’s in New York or what he aims to accomplish. Fortunately, he has his fighting skills to fall back on. It’s underwhelming at first. A Kung Fu master that struggles with every one on one fight. He seems flourish against multiple opponents, as he kicks one direction and punches another.
The Meachum family is a mixed bag. Harold, Ward and Joy continuously keeping you wondering if they’re friend or foe. And not in an interesting plot twist way. Just character motivations that shift repeatedly. The show’s standout character is Colleen Wing. She’s likable, has some strong action sequences and a nice, but rushed, story arc. The rest of the ensemble is hit or miss. Some bring depth to the show, some just muddle things up
My biggest complaint is the total lack of a clearly defined “main villain.” Daredevil and Wilson Fisk. Jessica Jones and Kilgrave. These pairing were established early on their respective shows, and there was an anticipation for the remainder of the season to watch them square off. “Iron Fist” fails here. There are five characters introduced that at one point or another I felt like we finally met the hero’s archenemy. The one that ultimately stepped up at the end was a bit of a let down and didn’t feel like a worthy challenge.
In the end, the show had its strong point. There were some fun martial arts battles and cool comic book references. But, it felt too much like stuff was just happening. Too many shifts in the plot. A likable hero that loses his charm.
** out of *****