The announcement of a second season of 'Iron Fist' probably came as a surprise given how critically slammed the first outing of the Marvel series was, but this is Netflix, and they do what they want.
And you know what... season 2? It's not so bad. Not great, don't get us wrong, but if you've already invested time into a few Marvel Netflix series than you will likely enjoy it for what it is. It seems the streaming service is also taking note of criticism about the length of the previous season and shortened the series to ten episodes coming in about 50 minutes each.
The rest of this review has spoilers, so away with you now if you don't want to know.
The season kicks off with Danny (Finn Jones) and Colleen (Jessica Henwick) living out their best lives in their doju-come-apartment but of course, trouble is brewing as a power vacuum has emerged in Chinatown following the taking down of The Hand. There's these guys called the Hatchets who fight with eh, hatchets and some folk called the Golden Tigers and basically they all want the docks and are going around killing each other and what not, but not on Iron Fist's watch. Who's hoping some good old fashioned diplomacy will sort out the whole debacle, but naturally his involvement only makes things worse. Dammit, Danny!
In the meantime, you've got Davos - Danny's bro-turned-foe - in the wings looking to claim what he believes is rightfully his and has teamed up with Joy of all people for an elaborate revenge plan against Danny that involves stealing the Iron Fist. We get Davos' reasons, he's just cray cray, but Joy? Her motives seems like a bit of a push, she wants revenge on Danny because her life went to pieces when he arrived... eh, feel like that was probably your evil not-so-immortal-after-all dad that's too blame for that or the global crime organisation that made him that way, but sure, let's just blame Danny for everything, helps the plot along in season 2.
The other Meachum sibling is busy sorting his shit out in Narcotics Anonymous, oh and also banging his sponsor. Somehow though, Ward becomes far more likeable this season and his brotherly relationship with Danny was actually quite sweet to watch.
We all know though, this season belonged to the ladies, and we're not just saying that in a "year of the woman" way, the female characters were simply far better to watch, given much more depth (well, as much as possible for a Marvel series), kicked way more ass, and well, just weren't half as irritating as their male counterparts. Except for Mary, give us Walker any day.
It was a welcome surprise then in later episodes to see that this was recognised when Danny decided that it was Colleen who should take back the Iron Fist after Davos had his wicked way with him. Yas queen. Colleen was given the best fight scenes of the series (the tattoo shop anyone?) and was consistently the voice of reason throughout the earlier episodes when it seemed behind every Iron Fist there was a woman rolling their eyes.
Some of the best scenes of the series also went to the emerging buddy cop relationship between Misty and Colleen - we would watch the hell out of that spin-off series.
Overall though, as much as this season ultimately came together, it relied on a narrative of remarkable coincidences, incredibly basic dialogue and a plot so clunky you can practically hear the writers scrambling around to make it work. Shout out to 'helpful Commuinity centre' dude who just happened to be eavesdropping when Colleen said she needed sedatives ("we have sedatives in the centre!") and that they wanted a getaway van ("You need a van? We got one out back!")
Come on guys, try just a little harder.
'Iron Fist' just seems to lack the same slickness of the other Marvel Netflix shows. While season two made a solid attempt to make up for the failings of its first outing, it still doesn't quite hit the mark. Davos as a villain certainly doesn't have the same appeal as the likes of The Punisher or David Tennant's Kilgrave, and earlier episodes in the season feel like a haphazard attempt to pull a story from the ashes of The Hand, which has been the over-arching villain in most of the shows to date.
As we said, watch it if you want, it definitely has its moments, but you won't be missing much if you give this season a skip. Well, maybe just watch the final few minutes to see Colleen's sword spark up like a lightsaber. There. We've saved you ten hours of your life.