Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 2 Was a Big Step Up
Before I jump into this one, I must admit one thing. I am one of those out there who enjoyed the first season of Iron Fist. There was no high expectations for me, I cared very little about the forced diversity people wanted from it, and I understood the version of Iron Fist that they wanted to create for the Netflix universe. I even loved the appearance he made in the new season of Luke Cage. He changed, and he showed maturity. So there was a lot for me to look forward to this season. I mean, was a satisfied? I do believe the title of this post speaks for itself.
After the version of Danny we got in Luke Cage, it did make you wonder what point in time we were following for him in his own series. Finding out where he picked up from the events of Defenders was, they couldn’t have picked a better starting point. This set him up for a new purpose beyond the Hand or his need to prove himself as the Immortal Iron Fist. From the start of this second season, his story had now revolved around what it meant to have a responsibility to the city. This was the next best step for Danny, aside from this being the request of a friend who died. As for picking up from the events of the first season, they made the wise choice in everything that involved Danny’s relationship with the Meachums, his relationship with Colleen, and the kind of life he wanted to live with a full integration back into society. This season took itself more seriously, and I think that worked for the best. Not many jokes, not many that needed to stick either. It was all about these people and where they needed to figure themselves out. No one was really exempt from that line in the sand between whether you have it together or if you don’t. These characters may be adults, but deep down I would to some extent have called this coming of age since for some of them their pasts held them back so much. That aside, the showrunners did get a bit playful when it came to easter eggs, connections to the other Netflix shows, and connections to where this show stands in the MCU. Some were direct, others things you had to look a bit deeper, but it was there.
For both Danny and Colleen, this was a season of self-discovery. Their characters were elevated to new heights when they were able to shed the weight of their past and the things they labelled themselves as. This was their time to reinvent themselves for better or for worse. Danny was a lot more tolerable for his ability to see responsibility over inflated self-worth. Protecting a city meant doing more than brooding that he could only do this himself, or there was no one to turn to for help but himself. A great lead into dependency on his power. Something that wasn’t explored before. I don’t think the Netflix series really got into the dangers of obsessing over your own power. Luke Cage had his moment, but he never experienced what it was like to lose his powers. Danny got the full experience, and that is the most genuine teacher when someone needs a reality check. That aside, this version of Danny was much more engaging as well. Worked off of other characters better, it helped that he could have moments with Ward, and things only got better when we were finding it more convincing that he and Colleen actually like each other. There’s still some work to do on that last part, but the romance was much more believable.
As for Colleen, her journey hits you so much harder when there was matters of family addressed, matters of trust when it came to how she protects people, and asking what it would take for her to be able to rise to the occasion again. Her presence was always appreciated as someone who not only could get through to Danny better than most, but also connect with regular people better as well. For Colleen and Danny to take that next step as heroes in progress, they needed that familiarity with the world around them. Her ability to delegate was challenged, and for the better when not every situation needed violence to dissolve it. While I found her relationship with Danny something to be desired, it was her relationship with Misty Knight that grabs your attention more. Those two together simply makes sense in a crime-fighting duo kind of way, and as a friend-ally kind of way as well. While their methods weren’t as rash or direct as Danny, they consistently got creative and had fun with each new challenge that brought them. Now when it did come time for the gloves to come off, I was definitely more impressed by with what Colleen brought to the table as a fighter. There’s something you can’t overlook about someone like her who is easily outmatched in power, or numbers, and able to overcome those hurdles through skill and willpower. Her evolution by the end of this season was thrilling. Iron Fist breaks new grounds when there are two heroes you look forward to more from, than just one.
My favorite character this season had to be hands down Misty Knight. She is one of those characters who pretty much crosses over wherever she fits, but I feel as though she was more at home in Iron Fist. From the moment that Colleen saved her from certain death, to the arm that was gifted to her, Misty’s place belonged with people who legitimately cared for her as a person. Every time she steps into the scene she commands attention. Things get tense because she plays by the book (for the most part), but her presence is always appreciated for how she creates that line in the sand between right and wrong. I think they definitely had more fun playing around with what changes came with this arm. She is more formidable in combat, and definitely more resourceful given that added strength. Ward on the other hand, almost lost me in the beginning. At first it seemed like his character was just going in a cycle of rinse and repeat through his behavioral patterns. I understood the perspective they wanted to give to someone more normal than the rest, but that’s just how he came off at first. It wasn’t until he was constantly pressed upon to grow-up that you could feel invested in this character’s development. Every time he got knocked up, he got back up stronger and smarter than he was before. By the end of the season I couldn’t help but want to know what the future held for him.
Joy on the other hand was a thrill. There is nothing more fun than a woman in power such as herself who can put on a game face and always know what to say to get the job done. She made her return grand, she played a game that had impact, and she truly took on that role of someone who finds out the hard way what happens when consumed by revenge. I was perfectly fine with the idea that we could relate to Joy and sympathize with her. Many out there have family issues that run deep, and forgiveness doesn’t always come easily when they are the ones to hurt you. Things can definitely get messy as well. The slippery slope she found herself on was one you could predict where it would lead her, but everything to that point was met with a fiery ambition.
I was pretty shocked by the villains of the story. From Davos, to Joy, to Mary Walker, they were more than just the cliche for each of them. Davos I felt so impressed with because he was a someone far gone from the start. This second season was our opportunity to understand his background and what drives his obsession to have the fist, but it was also our chance to see what happens when you have a villain who isn’t the kind that you save. Yes, this was another case of villain who thinks he’s in the right, but that’s a lot of villains out there. It mattered that he represented the risk in what happens when the wrong person takes this power, and how the power of the Iron Fist can be abused. I think we also got a good idea as to the destructive power as well for those who weren’t seeing this as something to be feared. For as good as the action scene were from Davos, it was his ideals which stood out even more. His danger went beyond physical means. I enjoyed that his true terror was in what he could inspire through what could only be seen as fanaticism. Mary is the one who really caught me off guard. The approach toward this character was pretty crazy. They tapped into a true sense of horror surrounding this character and her unpredictability. She was sweet one minute, ready to off you the next minute. She may not have had her power like in the comics, but Walker was deadly enough of a personality to make up for the lack of super ability. What I appreciated about this character is that she was a villain, but you also wouldn’t say that they humanized her too much. The tendency tends to be that they will look for ways that we can sympathize with someone like her or relate to her. We don’t need that, not really, not when Mary/Walker’s actions never strayed from dangerous for fearful to the right person. The best thing about this selection of villains overall is that none were disposed of in the way that seemed like a cop-out. Nothing is certain about these character’s future, and there is always room for a return.
Everyone likes to make fun of the action for season one of Iron Fist, but I honestly never cared too much about how perfect that the choreography needed to be. We get so caught up with how flashy a fight should be, or how convincing it should be, that we ignore everything else of actual substance. Now with that said, I will say that the action from season two was a big improvement. It made a big difference this time around having more suped-up elements to added to the action, on top of excellent effects.
Comparing this season to the recent season of Luke Cage, I like the similarity in storytelling. We were able to see the contrasting what happens when you properly seal a power vacuum, and what happens when you do not. What we got at the end of the day is a reflection of a hero who lives long enough to become the villain, and a hero who stops themself before reaching that point. That aside, the set-up for the next season was awesome. Big changes are coming when the landscape is nothing like it was on episode one. I cheered that there was some bold decision-making in how they evolved the use of the Iron Fist and use of chi in general. Longtime fans of iron Fist will enjoy what new tricks Danny picks up thoroughly.
If you were looking for a score here, I decided to pass on that. I would rather you pay attention to the words than the score. Especially when we are talking about the season as a whole.