Netflix Marvel Retrospective – Iron Fist Season 2

We’re winding down to the last few entries in this series. At this point in history, it seemed the Marvel Netflix showrunners were certain there would be future seasons, as evident by the number of cliffhangers in Phase Two. In reality, Marvel was removing itself from Netflix so it could stream more MCU-centric shows on Disney+ in the future. During this time, Netflix was trying to rectify past mistakes when it came to Iron Fist; the series got itself a new showrunner, a fight choreographer with an impressive resume (mostly known for the fight scenes in Black Panther), and generally set out to make a better product than what we got the previous season. In my opinion, it did just that. Let’s take a look and be forewarned, there will be spoilers.

Major Improvements

It might not have been the mask we were expecting but at least Finn Jones’ stunt double got more work.

During the promotion of the second season, there were many promos that promised the fight scenes had improved a great deal. And they had! One of my favorite fights from Netflix Marvel occurred in this season: the tournament fight between Davos and Danny. As I said before, I love fights scenes that are both beautiful and brutal and this scene delivered (bonus points for showing a little bit more of K’un L’un and for Danny wearing the traditional mask, even if for one scene). Of course, Colleen still got her fair share of fight scenes and teamed-up with Misty Knight this season. I thought Misty was a nice addition to the series and that’s not just because Colleen and Misty are one of the more famous duos in Marvel Comics. While Claire Temple was no longer in the Netflix shows, there was a bit of a gap when it came to down-to-earth characters that could reel Danny and Colleen in. Misty filled that gap while also kicking ass in her own right.

Speaking of the supporting cast, Ward and Joy Meachum returned. If you recall, Joy was on the path to becoming a villain in the last season while Ward was on the path to redeeming himself. Ward was very much an ally this season but he still had a lot of personal demons to overcome, which was what made his character so strong. Once again, Tom Pelphrey delivered as a highly underrated actor and, if this series were picked up for another season, I would have loved to see where his character arc would have gone. As for Joy, I liked her relationship with Davos who also got a chance to shine and have his character fleshed out. While he did appear in the previous season and was a pretty good foil/ally for Danny, his turn as a prominent villain this season was a welcomed one. I honestly didn’t notice he was one of the shortest members of the cast at first since he had such a strong presence.

And, of course, there was Typhoid Mary. Now, I was initially annoyed that they included another Daredevil villain in the Iron Fist series since the Hand played a prominent role in the first season (seriously Netflix, Iron Fist does have a rogues gallery) but I liked both Alice Eve and Typhoid Mary, so it worked. I should mention that Typhoid Mary was created by one of the most underrated writers in comics, Ann Nocenti who also penned my favorite Spider-Man story of all time (perhaps the topic of a future blog) so I am a bit biased. At any rate, I do like what they did with Typhoid Mary this season, even if she is primarily a Daredevil villain.

A New Direction

Aside from improving the fights and story, this season took the show into some uncharted territory. First of all, the season was only eight episodes long since Netflix no longer required all seasons to be 13 episodes. Iron Fist was the only one to take advantage of this but it benefitted from it as there was no Netflix Problem. The story flowed very organically and ended right when it needed to. The season also seemed to love throwing whatever it wanted against the wall to see what stuck, which is normally a bad sign, but worked in this instance as the creators were trying to salvage the show.

Taking the Iron Fist away from Danny was a good way to get to the core of his character. Now, I was a little disappointed that they kept the emo/angry Danny personality to a certain extent. While he had obviously matured and mellowed out a bit since the first season, I thought The Defenders and his Luke Cage episode set him up as a more upbeat character, matching the comics. This season hinted that the allure of the Iron Fist affected his personality, making him more aggressive and unstable, so removing it was a way to give his character an overhaul. I kinda wished they just skipped ahead with Danny already chilled out, but losing his powers was an interesting story idea anyway (although I never quite understood the subplot of him having to relearn how to fight after breaking his leg).

The season also set up Colleen as the daughter of the original Iron Fist, placing her at the center of a prophecy, which was a good way of explaining how her and Danny just happened to meet at random to begin with. The first season set it up as a weird coincidence that two enemies from different realms just happened to bump into each other in New York, whereas this season set it up as fate. Giving the Iron Fist to Colleen was also a good way to give her more to do since she was beginning to fade into the background despite being a strong character played by a good actress. As for the bad guys, Davos was gearing up to be some sort of crime boss while Typhoid Mary set out to learn more about her third persona, which were obviously set ups for future stories that never came to fruition. These weren’t the only dangling plotlines, though.

Left Hanging (some more)

Like the second season of Luke Cage, we were left with a lot of unanswered questions. Colleen’s ultimate destiny was up in the air and there was a lot of mystery surrounding her unseen mother. Oh, and Misty briefly mentioned enlisting Colleen in her fight against Luke Cage, which further hinted at the larger event concerning him turning into a crime lord.

Meanwhile, Ward and Danny were last seen paling around Asia on a mission to track down Orson Randal, of all people, who was playing an unknown role in the storyline. The final scene had Danny and Ward in a sake’ bar in Japan, confronting some bad guys with Danny popping out two chi-powered guns. There were references to fighting through a warehouse in Jakarta, stealing Randal’s chi-weapons, and a bunch of other adventures that would have been great to see if the series hadn’t been cancelled. Guess we’ll never know how things were supposed to turn out.

Final Verdict

All in all, it was a decent season. It improved quite a bit since the first one and while there were a few minor issues to iron out (no pun intended), it was good. Sadly, this season was slept on due to people really hating the Netflix version of Iron Fist. He wasn’t a perfectly written character but I think a lot of people got a little carried away with how much they hated Danny Rand. I remember this show getting cancelled about a week or two after it premiered. Luke Cage’s cancellation was announced later with a lot of people speculating Netflix was planning to combine the two shows into Heroes For Hire or something. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of the end. While the MCU is slowly bringing back the Netflix stable of characters, I’m not sure Iron Fist will join them because of its poor reception. The third and final season of Daredevil is coming up next.

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