‘Uninspired’ acting, writing mar series

By Reggie Santini, Spotlight editor

Marvel’s latest Netflix series “Iron Fist” is a fun but flawed addition to their great lineup of TV shows.

The show focuses on the story Daniel “Danny” Rand, the son of a billionaire businessman, who survived a plane crash and is taken to a monastery known as K’un-Lun. Danny spends 15 years at the monastery learning martial arts and how to use the power of the Iron Fist, taught to him by K’un-Lun monks. Danny returns to New York after those 15 years to resume his life and continue the mission given to him by the monks.

As the fourth and the final solo hero series before the release of “The Defenders” (the upcoming superhero mash up) the series does little to bring any set up to the shows melding universes.

We spend most of the series watching another superhero origin story with nothing really new to add to the mix. If you have watched DC’s “Arrow” TV series on the CW than you already have a basic idea of what Iron Fist’s origin story will be like.

The show’s biggest problems come from its title character. The show struggled to give Danny any real personality and character development, which leaves the audience not caring about the fate of its lead character.

Finn Jones was miscast as the lead actor. Despite his great acting abilities, he was not able to pull off Iron Fists trademark skills and martial arts expertise. The fight scenes feel staged and slow compared to those of real martial arts films. Jones can deliver great emotional scenes, but the writing is not consistent with the character. It is an injustice to Jones’ acting ability to have him play a character so poorly developed by the writers.

When watching “Daredevil” the audience can almost feel the brutality and weight of the punches the main hero delivers and takes. We are able to watch a single shot of Daredevil fighting 30 people as he makes his way down the stairs of a building and truly believe he is capable of doing that. Sadly in this part, Iron Fist truly misses its punch.

David Wenham’s portrayal of Harold Meachum, the series’ big bad, is equally underwritten and badly developed. The character spends the majority of the show scheming and plotting as typical evil businessmen do. When finally setting his plan in motion, it is jarring just how extreme his actions are. Wenham’s portrayal of Harold comes off as bored and uninspired.

Jessica Henwick’s portrayal of Colleen Wing was the standout performance of the series. Henwick’s fighting skills and fantastic acting made her a far more interesting character than Iron Fist himself.

Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple often seemed like she was, once again, placed into the show to serve as our hero’s medic and link to the other Defenders. Nevertheless, her scenes were strong and emotional.

If you are expecting this to live up to “Daredevil,” “Luke Cage” or “Jessica Jones” you will be disappointed. Iron Fist is not perfect, but if you can sit through the slow start and some cheesy fight scenes, it is an enjoyable part of the Marvel universe. The show gets enormously better after the first three episodes, as we see a greater amount of fan service and more stylized scenes.