Iron Fist review round-up: what does everyone think of Marvel and Netflix's kung-fu tale?

It's almost time for Danny Rand to join the likes of Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage as a critically-acclaimed Marvel hero with a home on Netflix. Or is he? Review embargo for the show's first six episodes have lifted, and critics are letting their thoughts be known. And so far, Netflix's newest venture is receiving a bit less love than its predecessors.

The Verge on Iron Fist's casting of Finn Jones

"Jones, whose blandness in the role might be read as Zen-like in another, better series, is miscast as Danny Rand. We learn over the course of the season that he’s wrestling with his identity and the fear that he’s unworthy of his title. But Jones’ performance is lacking, and he can’t believably project the character’s inner turmoil. He fails to make Danny’s reality resonate. Daredevil’s Charlie Cox, while never exactly one of Marvel’s finest leading men, conveys an almost palpable Catholic guilt in his turn as Matt Murdock. Jones, by comparison, seems flat, lacking that crucial gravitas."

Nerdist on Iron Fist's pacing

"Iron Fist‘s biggest issue sits with the aforementioned dragging plot, and unfortunately, the victim who suffers most from it is Danny himself. When the show doubles down on showing the same flashback three episodes in, you start to wonder if there’s anything new you could possibly learn at that juncture. Given that all the other supporting characters are driven forward in the story by their choices and underlying issues, it appears as if Danny Rand, by comparison, is the only one standing still."

The Hollywood Reporter on Iron Fist's (lack of a) villain

"Iron Fist counters with petulant, spoiled Ward Meacham and the occasional domineering paternal presence of Harold Meachum (David Wenham), but the season's real villain is, I guess, The Hand, the organization that was responsible for the Too Many Ninjas monotony that eventually ran the second Daredevil season into the ground. An interesting bad guy with objectives central to the individual show feels important to the crafting of the hero, and Iron Fist/Danny suffers from the absence of exactly that."

Polygon on Iron Fist's fight scenes

"The fight scenes in this martial arts hero show are, well, bland. Nothing in these episodes approaches what Luke Cage or either season of Daredevil did by combining choreography, cinematography and emotional stakes into scenes that riveted the viewer. An entire episode about Danny fighting Themed Assassins was barely worth sitting forward in your seat for."

ScreenRant on Iron Fist's messy focus

"The presumption that the audience would care about a company as vaguely defined as Rand Enterprises, to the degree that an outsider assuming control of it would be of immediate interest, speaks to the issue of uncertainty by the writers in what the story of Iron Fist is really about. … Rand Enterprises … is a vaguely sketched monolithic empire; it represents nothing more than a want for a pair of secondary characters, since Danny’s interest in the business, or even knowledge of it, is nebulous at best. What’s most frustrating about Iron Fist throughout the first few hours is how the lack of definition surrounding Rand Enterprises extends to nearly every other aspect of the show."

Iron Fist season 1 arrives on Netflix on March 17, 2017. Stay tuned for GamesRadar+'s full season review. 

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Sam Prell

Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.