When I first heard that Netflix were collaborating with Marvel to produce a series of adult superhero shows, I was dubious for two reasons. Firstly, my friends had tried to get me to watch Zack Synder’s Watchmen; I’d found it extremely disappointing. Secondly, I’d been a late comer to the Marvel world, with my brothers and I all being strong supporters of Christopher Nolan’s rival Batman series. It wasn’t until last year that I finally watched my first Avengers film; even then, l remained underwhelmed. When I needed a new Netflix series to distract me from necessary degree reading, then, Iron Fist was the last thing that I expected to find myself watching.
When Iron Fist appeared under my suggestions, the appeal of both Game of Thrones’ Finn Jones (Sir Loras Tyrell) and Lord of The Rings’ David Wenham (Faramir) was too tempting to resist. Again, I was let down. I struggled with the initial ridiculousness of Danny Rand’s backstory, and by the end of the series, I felt that the entire thing had been a long, drawn out intro to The Defenders. The character and story writing certainly fell far behind the quality of the acting.
I needed a new means of procrastination; for reasons unknown, I went on to watch Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil. These three Marvel series came before Iron Fist, drawn by the presence of one of my favourite actors in David Tennant as the leading villain.
Surprisingly, I was impressed! The great gulf in the quality of the writing and character development between this trio and Iron Fist is remarkable. Their ability to attract lesser known but talented actors, while casting the occasional big name, such as Tennant and Dallas Buyers Club’s John Bernthal, makes Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil very appealing. It feels like they aren’t just falling back upon the occasional big shot, like Hollywood so often does these days (see the box office disaster that is the new adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey). Instead, the casters of these shows scout the talent they see as necessary for the roles.
Overall, the Marvel-Netflix crossovers, excluding Iron Fist, work incredibly well, and even the development of Danny Rand in The Defenders makes me more positive for season 2, coming in 2019.