While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty much untouchable at this point, at least in terms of movies that generate blockbuster numbers, on the small screen the results have been more mixed (does anybody still watch “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.“?) On Netflix, however, the brand has started strong, with fans warmly receiving “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” and “Luke Cage” even if the quality hasn’t always been there. But it looks like Marvel and Netflix have their first real misfire with “Iron Fist.”
Debuting later this month on the streaming service, the early reviews have landed, and the verdict is clear — the show doesn’t work. From the premise to the unsettling Orientalist vibe, those are just the start of the problems with the show, which apparently is, to put it bluntly, boring.
Here’s what the critics had to say. “Iron Fist” debuts on March 17th.
Variety: ….’Iron Fist’ is the most frustrating and ferociously boring example of Netflix Drift in some time.
Not one element of this plodding piece works. The action scenes lack spark, snap, and originality. None of the flat, by-the-numbers characters makes any lasting impression. And as origin stories go, the tale of Danny Rand (Finn Jones), at least as rendered by this creative team, is about as exciting as a slice of Velveeta cheese left out in the sun too long. 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?
THR: …’Iron Fist’ feels like a step backward on every level, a major disappointment that already suffers from storytelling issues through the first six episodes made available to critics and would probably be mercifully skippable in its entirety if it weren’t the bridge into the long awaited Defenders crossover series.
CutPrintFilm: Even without the specter of whitewashing, Iron Fist in this incarnation would be a disappointment. There simply isn’t enough here to warrant a compelling, or even passable, show. And for a series that is essentially about a man who is an unstoppable fighting machine, the fights in Iron Fist are curiously lacking. Be it through poor choreography or editing, none of the battles seem particularly believable or impactful, especially when compared to the more impressive beat-downs from fellow Marvel Netflix show Daredevil. And yes, in case you were wondering, there is a big fight scene in a hallway, because I guess Marvel thinks that’s what people want from these shows.
Den Of Geek: …there’s something missing from Iron Fist. Visually, it’s a little bland for many of these early episodes, often lacking the cinematic pop that made Daredevil or Luke Cage such visual standouts. While every Marvel Netflix series has pacing problems, and many feel like they spread eight to ten episodes’ worth of story over thirteen chapters, it usually takes a few instalments before you feel the show begin to spin its wheels. But Iron Fist is a particularly slow starter, and it takes nearly three before you get a sense of why anyone behaves the way they do. Flashbacks are awkwardly placed, characters make baffling decisions, and the general impression is sometimes that the show is filling time.
The Verge: …the show’s race problems are intertwined with other nagging issues. Jones, whose blandness in the role might be read as Zen-like in another, better series, is miscast as Danny Rand.
…Worse, he paints an unconvincing portrait of a martial arts expert, which is the basic draw for a superhero show about martial arts.
Collider: Iron Fist isn’t terrible, and some of it is actually very good, but it should be so much better. What could have been the boldest series is instead the quietest. Seriously … in the comics, the man gets his powers from punching a dragon in the heart, but that’s withheld from us? If I wanted to focus more on reality I wouldn’t spend so much time watching superhero TV.
Polygon: I admit I was allowing myself to hope that Iron Fist, [not] necessarily the most fantastical of its Marvel Netflix siblings, would distinguish itself by embracing the post-modern superhero trend of The Lego Batman Movie, Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy.
But I’m not surprised that Iron Fist isn’t a comedy. I’m surprised that it’s so bad.
And it is laughably bad.