21 September 2018

REVIEW: Marvel's Iron Fist Season 2

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Iron Fist Season 2
Starring Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Alice Eve
Release date: September 7th 2018 on Netflix
Minor spoilers ahead

Season 2 synopsis:

Season 2 begins with Danny Rand fulfilling Matt Murdock's final wish - protecting New York City. But with the Hand's defeat by the Defenders and K'Un-Lun gone, the immortal Iron Fist questions his place in this new world.
Other sinister factions strive to fill in the gap in the market and old friends become foes. The triades are on the edge of war and Joy colludes with Davos in an attempt to fullfill his destiny.

  • STEP-UP FROM SEASON 1: recognizing & developing the strengths of the 1st season

Although still the weakest link in the television side of the MCU, season 2 saw a huge leap in quality: according to Rotten Tomatoes, season 2 of Iron Fist broke records for the biggest score leap between season 1 and 2, up by 33%. This is definitely noteworthy and goes to show just how much a series can be turned around with a few tweaks here and there. Raven Metzner took over as the new showrunner and made a few crucial changes in order to improve the series.

Season 2 was better paced in terms of plot development and character arcs. Unlike the 1st season there was no loss in momentum and the build up towards the penultimate episode was well executed. The shows lead Danny Rand is more mature and down-to-earth, which was expected after his appearance in season 2 of Luke Cage (and which happened to be one of the strongest episodes). He may still be too quick to act but he is less gullible and a stronger protagonist. With that being said, the show recognized that this character alone isn't strong enough to lead the show: season 2 highlights the supporting characters such as Colleen, Misty and Ward. 



The action scenes although numerous (and impressive) didn't overshadow the plot in any way. Mostly hand-to-hand combat, the choreography and long shots are worthy of applause. They grounded the show: s2 only used CGI-glowing-fist-wire-work scenes when necessary. The very end of the season however introduced guns to the equation, which not only felt a little silly and out of place but ultimately felt like 2 steps back from a season that delivered such brilliant hand-to-hand combat sequences.

Iron Fist recognized its strongest elements in season 1 and developed them: Colleen Wing effortlessly leads the show, with Danny encouraging and supporting her every action. Initially hoping to take a step back from fighting, Colleen gets pulled back in to it via Danny and the ongoing conflict in Chinatown. It's not long before she takes the lead in season 2, the ending showcases her strength and potential (not that we needed a reminder; Colleen is one of the best characters in tv Marvel!).

Misty Knight, who made her debut in s1 of Luke Cage & appeared in several episodes of the Defenders, is one of s2's strongest elements: her attitude and humor brings a breath of fresh air and energy to the show. She doesn't hesitate to point out Danny's incompetence and the absurdity of the Iron Fist. The chemistry and friendship between her and Colleen which was first seen in s2 of Luke Cage was further explored here, through personal conversations or duo fighting sequences.

  • INTRODUCING MARY WALKER, A NEW ANTI-HERO (OR VILLAIN?)



Season 2 introduced a new anti-hero called Mary Walker (portrayed by Alice Eve). A former special ops soldier, Walker is now a mercenary and private investigator recruited by Joy & Davos to capture Danny in order to perform a ceremony which will transfer the power of the Iron Fist to Davos. 

Walker was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder which manifests through multiple  personalities: 'Walker', the tough, dangerous and ruthless killer and 'Mary', kind and artistic. 'Mary' befriends Danny by chance, whereas 'Walker' is paid to capture him. She is both friend and foe to Danny. This story-line was without a doubt one of the strongest elements of the season. Not only were we given a wonderful performance by Alice Eve, we were also captivated by the character's interesting background which made a direct connection to the greater MCU. 
Mary revealed that she spent two years captured in Sokovia (the country destroyed by Ultron in Avengers 2) and it turns out that a 3rd personality was brought to life at that time, but has remained quiet ever since. Who is this 3rd persona, and since they are responsible for escaping captivity in Sokovia, do they have enhanced abilities such as Wanda Maximoff? The show hasn't given any indication, but if season 3 stays true to the comics then perhaps we can expect to see them eventually.


  • WEAKEST ELEMENTS

Although this sophomore season is a huge step-up from it's predecessor, it still has a way to go to reach its full potential. Season 2 was infested with cliches, such as bad guys playing poker in abandoned warehouses and a few sub plots which felt poorly executed. The leaders of the factions fighting for power in Chinatown lacked charisma and depth, which was a shame considering how well-written the bad guys are in Luke Cage and Daredevil. As for Davos, Danny's brother from K'Un-Lun, his desire to cleanse the city felt unjustified in the sense that he had no emotional ties with it. Apart from fulfilling his destiny as the rightful owner of the Iron Fist, what was his goal really? (you could say it was making his mother proud, but then what?). Another weak element of season 2 was Joy Beachum (Jessica Stroup). Most of the issues here are due to poor writing in my opinion: she is unlikeable (however not all female characters need to be likeable) but her character has little depth and consistency which ultimately led to disinterest. However we have progress since s1, I personally believe that given the opportunity her character will flourish in s3. I believe Stroup is a strong actress, it's a shame she is limited to the poor writing. 

Ward's arc this season turned entirely around his NA counselling and his attempt to fix things with his sister Joy: this season depicted his struggles as he confronts his personal issues and attempts to fix his relationships with those closest to him. Tom Pelphrey's charm and effortless performance is a big strength of the show. He really pulls the audience's heartstrings when the opportunity arises.


It's still the weakest link in the Defenders world, but the improvements made this season make it worth watching. The series has proved it has potential when it's in the right hands, whether they will reach it next season or simply through cameos is yet to be seen. However, season 2 was encouraging and deserves recognition for this leap in quality, and worth watching for Colleen & Misty alone.

What can we hope for in season 3? We need to go deeper into the character's minds and figure out their true intentions, even if they remain somewhat clouded for the characters themselves, the audience needs to understand where they're coming from. Davos made a good villain this season but his motives were a little poor. We need backstory. We need more depth. Understanding. Goals, hobbies, passion, likes and dislikes - we're getting there but slowly. Iron Fist needs to catch up. Thankfully the loyal fans are willing to give their time to this show, and as we have said, there is a lot to praise. We truly have some talented actors on board and a bloody great stunt team. Step-up the writing and things will flourish.

What are your thoughts on this show? Let me know! Summer x
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