On Netflix

Iron Fist is No Daredevil

Catholic-perspective review of Netflix Marvel series Iron Fist

When my husband and I started watching “Iron Fist”, we had high hopes for it. So far, Daredevil was the only Netflix Original Marvel universe show we had watched, and we had kind of loved it. We were looking forward to more of the same quality in “Iron Fist.”

As we watched the beginning of the first episode, because it was the first non-network show we had watched in a while (read: we’d been watching a bit more lameness than we would have liked lately), I was commenting on how it was nice to not have to be making fun of things like crappy dialogue. But I said it cautiously, with a, “So far…” And my husband commented that we had already made fun of a random bird-shot (I’m still not sure what’s with that recurring crow…).

It’s a short season, 13 episodes. So one would think quality could be kind of consistent through that span. But it wasn’t.

The first few episodes pulled us in pretty well. Who was this guy with mad kung-fu skills that is dressed like a bum? Why does everyone think he’s supposed to be dead? And, holy crap now his fist is lighting up? All promising enough. But unfortunately, things then started getting silly.

The trouble with the love interest character…

I loved the love-interest character Colleen, at first. She was introduced giving money to someone she thought was homeless, for goodness sake. And then we saw quickly that she was pretty b.a. Some kind of martial arts master, students respect her tons… and now she’s doing cage fighting? A very nuanced character.

She also started out very independent. It was clear Danny kind of liked her, but she didn’t go all mushy over it or anything. At least not at first.

I couldn’t believe by the end of the season that the gushy, whiney, love-sick girl was the same badass we were introduced to earlier. Did we change writing staffs or something midway through here? What happened?

Suffice it to say, by the last few episodes, every time things started to get “romantic,” my husband and I would start cringing and saying things like, “Just shut up,” “Oh not again,” and, “Go fight some more people, please!” Because they were that sickening.

The religious ambiguity

I don’t normally expect to find Catholicism in superhero stories. But after watching Daredevil, I did have some hope that this show might contain some similar elements.

Instead, it was non-stop Buddhism. And lots of talk about “chi” that didn’t make a ton of sense and after a while kept making me laugh (which was not their intention).

And I mean, superhero stories = fantasy, so I don’t necessarily have a problem with the Buddhism of their reality. Except that it’s the same universe where Catholicism was real. So things get a little ambiguous.

And of course the killing…

I really liked the ongoing debate in Daredevil: Is it okay to kill bad dudes? But in this show, this whole topic was very squishy. The side character Claire (the same nurse chick from Daredevil) voices opposition to murder, but to everyone else it kind of seems like, “Okey Dokey. No big deal.”

Then all of the sudden near the end, it’s brought up out of the blue: “You might screw up stuff if you murder your enemy.” (I’m paraphrasing here). Over all, there was no clear conclusion, or even much of a hint of what we’re supposed to view as right in the matter.

As for content issues…

It’s rated MA, but it wasn’t terrible. One sex scene in the entire season, a few scenes of vicious violence (not quite as gory as what we saw in Daredevil), some drug use, some language.

So nothing too terrible.

But unfortunately, nothing great either.