60% PROOF: IRON FIST (SEASON 2)
The final Defender has a second season on Netflix. While it was enjoyable to see him make a small cameo in the second season of Luke Cage, everyone has been waiting to see if the show makes good on its promise that this time Danny Rand would be more relatable than his first outing. As a rich kid, with a heart of gold, and ancient glowing fist that can penetrate steel, I understand where the critic’s viewpoint. This second installment of this hero has not vowed to up the ante, but to ground the characters. Does this season do this; read the review.
This season, to start off with, has ten episodes instead of twelve meaning a tighter story and pacing of said story. Me, having seen six of the ten, hence I have sixty percent of the series under my belt as of the time of writing this article. As with how I have said in the past, my system entails my consumption of the first three episodes of any series, and then writing my critique. However, it should be evident that I have enjoyed season two of Iron Fist since my number of viewed episodes is double that of my quota. So, getting into why I like the show can be separated into the story, and the characters.
The story picks up some time after Defenders, Danny has moved into Colleen’s dojo, now converted into a small living quarters. Both of them are trying to live normal lives after the destruction of the Hand and the disbanding of their meta-human group. However, Danny struggles with hanging up his proverbial glowing glove, while Colleen has, very literally, hung up her sword, which puts the two love birds into an obvious conflict. Meanwhile Ward, Danny’s childhood friend, who is recovering with his drug addiction, as well as trying to repair the charred remains of his relationship with his sister Joy. Joy for that matter, spoilers on season one, is plotting against Danny with Davos, Danny’s “brother” from K’un Lun.
Joy and Ward have switched positions in my mind in the ranking for biggest tool. In the first season, Ward was the obvious choice. However, in this season, Ward is actually a sympathetic and likable character, and presents a window into the psychological and physical abuse that he endured with his late father from the inflection of the actor’s dialogue alone. Excellent acting by Tom Pelphrey prevails in this character at his low point trying to understand himself and rebuild who he is as a person. Davos, who is the antagonist of this season, is undergoing a similar process.
Davos arrived in the first season of Iron Fist with the objective of retrieving Danny and returning with him to K’un Lun, but when Danny refuses a rift begins to form. After the destruction of K’un Lun by the Hand, Dova seeks revenge on Danny, as well as his “birth right” to become the immortal Iron Fist. While this may seem like a stereotypical villain wanting to claim the power for himself because “it was always mine”, or “you don’t deserve the power”, there is more to Davos’s psychology when it comes to reasoning behind his desire. However by far my favorite character is Colleen. She stops and thinks about the situation, asks questions, and when the time comes drops the BS and plays it straight; those that end up watching the show will know the scene.
The big question is, is Danny Rand a better, and more relatable character? I can’t tell per say if the writers spruced up the character in terms of altering the characterization of Danny, but I do think that they have put very well placed obstacles in his way in order for the hero to grow and mature. Colleen feels at fault for allowing Danny to continue his crime fighting escapades. Joy blames Danny indirectly for being the catalyst for unraveling her life. Davos blames Danny for taking his “birth right” and the destruction of his home, and his weakness, his compassion and lack to do his duty. The external conflicts between these characters are accentuated the internal conflicts, with two characters in the story have an interesting from of internal conflict that I found fascinating when they were on-screen.
Overall, I think that the series made good on its promise to bring a more engaging story with a tighter emphasis on pacing, more than likely due to having only ten episodes, as well as better written characters and character interactions. Danny is more grounded in his role struggling with relatable, personal issues with his relationship with Colleen, Joy, Ward, and Davos. A fear that was present, but avoided masterfully were references to Defenders. While there was dialogue and obvious plot points that were drawn from the prior series, Iron Fist does not linger on the past, but moves forward with what it posses on its own. By this you have probably successfully collected that I have enjoyed my time with Iron Fist Season 2 and am looking forward to finishing it to its conclusion, and seeing where the Netflix Marvel Universe takes the characters.