‘Iron Fist’ Season 2 is a Slight Improvement From Season 1 – Review
Last time we saw the Iron Fist, he was helping Luke Cage find his chi. Before that, we saw him fight alongside the Defenders and promised Matt Murdock to protect his city. Season two follows Danny Rand as he fulfills this promise to Matt. The second round of Iron Fist looks to be an improvement on the first. Thanks to Netflix, Geeks of Color was given the opportunity to watch the first six episodes of season two!
*Spoilers ahead for The Defenders and Luke Cage season two! You’ve been warned!
Now, this season we find Danny a bit more confident with himself and his powers than in the past. He seems to have a grasp on how to use his powers correctly. Danny and Colleen Wing’s relationship is moving forward splendidly. Things seem to be going great in Danny’s personal life, but he’s still fighting gangs and doing what he can to protect New York.
From the first episode, I felt that Danny was much more likable. There are clear improvements in Finn Jones’ portrayal of Danny Rand and the writing for the character. However, I had a hard time really caring about what’s happening to him. Both Finn and Danny seem more confident, however, Danny is still boring and little is done to make him interesting. This is evident in the way he uses the power of the Iron Fist, which is also boring and offers little excitement. In fact, we don’t see the power of the Iron Fist a whole lot, a similar problem to the last two times we saw Danny. The show starts off showing us hinting that the Iron Fist power could consume Danny, but in later episodes, it seems to be forgotten. Perhaps, there will be a payoff in the second half of the season.
One of the problems with season one was the fights; they were edited quickly and rather sloppily. So much so that you could barely make out what happens and when you do see a fight or a stunt, it’s not that impressive. Thankfully, this season all the fights are edited well; you can clearly see the characters in their interactions. The upsetting part about this is that the fights lack any excitement, physically or emotionally. There are a couple of fights where it felt like a constant back and forth with a punch, block, repeat.
With Daredevil, we get bloody action, with great fight choreography that had Daredevil effectively use his surroundings in a fight. It’s brutal, which helps make it feel impactful and entertaining to watch. In season two, there really isn’t anything that’s exciting or makes you go ‘WOW’ when you watch these fights. Obviously, it isn’t Daredevil, but they don’t seem to incorporate the insane fighting style from the comics.
Colleen is back and is given a rather strange subplot with a gang of teenagers, but she arguably has one of the best fight scenes so far in the season. When we begin the series, Colleen is done with fighting; she’s seen the sacrifices people make and decides to put it all to rest. She can’t catch a break though, because the fight continues to come to her. She’s trying to live a normal life and help her community. However, you can tell she yearns to get back into the fight and when she does, it’s pretty entertaining.
We don’t know the full lengths of this season’s story until we’re halfway through and by then you might not care enough to know what happens next. They pull a little more from the Iron Fist mythos within the comics, specifically in his training and fight with Davos on K’un L’un. The rituals seem interesting, but we haven’t really explored all of that just yet. I also really appreciate how they were able to incorporate the original Iron Fist mask from the comics – though it doesn’t transition into live-action well. We don’t see it for very long but it is a nice nod to the fans.
Now, let’s focus on this season’s antagonist (who was introduced last season), Davos. As we know, Davos doesn’t think Danny deserves the powers of the Iron Fist; he believes it’s his birthright to hold the mantle. Sacha Dhawan gives a good performance. He is able to deliver the stoic warrior monk, while also playing for some rather decent deadpan comedy. The problem with the character comes from how the show handles his origins.
It is the norm for every Marvel/Netflix show to have an episode dedicated to the villain. They set up more backstory for them and once we know who they were, we could begin to care for their side of the story moving forward. When it comes to Davos’s backstory, it’s somewhat emotional and oddly enough I understood exactly where he was coming from in his actions. However, I still have trouble actually caring for the character. There’s nothing relatable about him, nothing to really get behind. The same problems that lie with Danny’s characterization are sadly transferred to his villains.
Other characters that returned this season are Joy and Ward Meachum (Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey). Admittedly, I was not a fan of the characters last season and I thought they were rather dull and offered nothing interesting to the series. Six episodes in they aren’t as prominent, but they’re actually vital to the story concerning Danny. You might like one and dislike the other, but I for one actually enjoy watching them this time around.
New characters join in this season like Misty Knight (Simone Missick) who has great chemistry with Colleen. Every time the two are on-screen it is a treat. Alice Eve is new this season playing the comic book character Typhoid Mary, a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder. She’s depicted as a cold and capable fighter, as well as a sweet and lovely artist. Eve does a great job in the role, but the character doesn’t really fit with the world and overall tone of Iron Fist.
Unfortunately, the White Savior trope is still clearly there. The one white guy with the most power is defending Chinatown by fighting Asian affiliated gangs. There’s obviously more to the season’s story, but that is how it starts off and continues. This is why I have a hard time connecting with and caring for the character.
Again, it takes a while for the story to really kick in this season. There are enjoyable moments and I’ll admit, I want to know what happens after the sixth episode. Though Danny Rand may be more likeable, he still isn’t compelling enough even if this is a more personal story for him. This still isn’t as good a series compared to all the others, even with its improvements, but perhaps Iron Fist will surprise with the second half of the season.
Iron Fist season 2 will premiere on Netflix September 7!