Two years on from the moment when Charlie Cox’s Man Without Fear was introduced to subscribers and Netflix’s Marvel portfolio has evolved into a hive of activity, one that quickly made room for Jessica Jones and, later, Mike Colter’s musclebound Luke Cage.
The latest addition to the fold is Iron Fist, the fourth and final member of The Defenders as played by former Game of Thrones star Finn Jones. It’s pegged for a premiere on March 17th, and as D-day looms large, Marvel and Netflix have now officially lifted the show’s embargo. Yes, the early word on Marvel’s fourth solo series is in, and down below, you’ll find a collection of admittedly mixed reviews, beginning with our own.
We should warn you that there are minor story spoilers peppered throughout each verdict, so if you’re wanting to go into Iron Fist‘s premiere with a relatively blank slate, we kindly direct your attention toward the show’s new featurette up above, which welcomes Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) into the spotlight.
Still with us? As March 17th creeps closer and closer, here’s a sampling of the early Iron Fist reviews that have hit the web.
WGTC: “Marvel fanatics will relish another addition to the growing Netflix canon but should be forewarned of the diminishing returns inherent in the fun but subpar Iron Fist.”
THR: “Through six episodes, in addition to failing to introduce a main character I care about at all, Iron Fist hasn’t given me any season-long arc/objective that I could describe for you, much less one I’m curious to see resolved — and that’s before it hits that wall between episodes 7 and 12 that none of the Marvel shows has been immune to. For heaven’s sake, Iron Fist has already wasted the “Is our hero actually crazy?” gaslighting episode, a structural conceit that doesn’t work when you ask the audience to question everything we think we know about a character before we actually know anything about the character. With a big four-hero mashup allegedly unfolding out of Iron Fist, this misstep couldn’t have come at a worse time for Marvel and Netflix. It’s a good thing I really like Daredevil, Jessica and Luke.”
The Verge: “With any property that touches on the politics of the day, there really is a rush to judge its merits before it comes out, when patience might better serve the would-be critics. After all, Marvel has earned enough goodwill since Daredevil premiered in 2015 to hope that wrestling with its inherently problematic source material might give its latest series a charge, and make it current and relevant. The sad truth, however, is that Iron Fist is the weakest of Marvel’s Netflix series to date. As far as diversity, representation, and appropriation go, the series fails in a number of ways. But, over the course of its first six episodes, it also manages to fall short on basic levels like storytelling. Its creative laziness bankrupts the entire show. Marvel’s new series is a disappointing case study in studios needing to try harder to tell difficult stories well.”
Variety: “Iron Fist is the most frustrating and ferociously boring example of Netflix Drift [pacing problems] in some time…It takes forever for anything to happen on Iron Fist, and as it stumbles along, the uninspired production design, unexceptional cinematography, and painful dialogue fail to distract the viewer from the overall lack of depth, detail, or momentum…Good luck, bingers: Getting through two episodes was a challenge.”
UPROXX: “If Iron Fist was an otherwise boring series with a hero who kicked butt in exciting ways early and often, I’d forgive the bland expository parts in the same way I do for a lot of action shows and movies. And if Finn Jones couldn’t fight but was otherwise a riveting screen presence blessed with sparkling dialogue and a compelling character arc, I’d get past the alleged living weapon’s lame physical prowess. But when neither part works at all, why would anyone but the most devout, masochistic Marvel completist want to watch?”
Iron Fist makes its bow on March 17th. But tell us, are you tempering your expectations for Danny Rand’s origin story following these reviews? Or are you still willing to give Marvel’s fourth Defender the benefit of the doubt? Drop your thoughts in the usual spot below.