After a disappointing first season, ‘Iron Fist’ now has a lot to prove.
Navigating the Marvel Netflix shows can be a bumpy ride. And those of us who’ve stuck with them have certainly binged through some dark times. The worst of which, in the eyes of many fans, is the bland, lifeless first season of Iron Fist.
But despite that disappointment, Marvel and Netflix are proceeding with the second season, for which we now have a full trailer. And, honestly? This looks to be quite an improvement.
The trailer opens with an establishing shot of the city Danny Rand (Finn Jones) swore to protect. In a voiceover, Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) reminds him that he’s “not been home in days.” Back in The Defenders‘ finale, Danny promised Matt Murdock he would keep the city safe, a promise that’s clearly been spreading Iron Fist pretty thin.
In a display of the show’s improved stunt work, Danny makes quick work of a group of armed enemies. While also wearing colors that strongly resemble his comic book costume. Colleen appears to be concerned, as Danny tell her he’s “just trying to keep the peace.” Which appears to be an increasingly difficult task, following Murdock’s apparent death.
We then see Colleen in another impressive fight scene, before the two discuss what drives them. There’s an unfortunate hint of what plagued Danny’s character in the first season here when he tells her “I didn’t ask for the Iron Fist.”
We spent much of that season without a clear idea of who Rand is and what motivates him, and I can’t help but recall that feeling with this line. One can only hope this is just the beginning of some major growth for the character, as he enters his second (although technically fourth) outing.
We then meet up with Danny’s former friend Davos (Sacha Dhawan), who now seems well on his way to becoming the Steel Serpent, a recurring enemy of the comic book Iron Fist. The two ended on rough terms last season, as Davos met with Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup) to discuss killing Danny following their fallout.
Speaking of Joy, we get a quick glimpse of her overseeing… something villainous. It’s unclear what she’s looking at, but this may be linked to her teaming up with fan-favorite Daredevil antagonist Typhoid Mary (Alice Eve), as suggested by the stills released back in July.
Next, we see what may or may not be a flashback of Danny and Davos fighting, yellow mask and all! Goofy as it may look, it’s nice to see the show embracing the costume, as well as having Danny actually covering his face to fight crime.
Davos’ words to Danny get increasingly sinister, as we see Danny attacked by an unknown assailant in the subway, in what might be our first look at Typhoid Mary in action. After a beat down, Danny gets a look at a snake tattoo on Davos’ back. Davos proceeds to tell Danny that “now you will give me what’s mine, brother,” taking the Fist for himself.
The two are then seen in a fist fight, with Davos’ fist glowing red instead of the usual yellow. Danny tells Collen that “we can stop him,” albeit with help. Which arrives in the form of Misty Knight! Misty and Colleen’s team up was undoubtedly one of the highlights of Luke Cage‘s second season, and the prospect of seeing more is exciting.
“I have become the thing you never had the strength to be,” Davos tells Danny, as he further demonstrates his impressive power. We briefly see Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) again, in addition to more of the newly improved fight choreography. The trailer then closes with a charming little moment of Danny and Colleen eating out at a restaurant, and it’s nice to see their relationship looking more stable this season.
All things considered, this looks to be a significant step up. Davos turned out to be one of the more enjoyable characters of Season 1, so his promotion to lead antagonist is promising. The much-maligned fight choreography from the first season is also vastly improved here, thanks to the hiring of Clayton Barber, fight coordinator for Black Panther. Speaking about the new approach, Barber said the following:
“Old school kung fu, that’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to turn this thing into a punk rock song and that’s what we did. You’re really going to enjoy it.”
Which is exactly the type of thing we needed to hear after much of last season hid poor fight choreography behind jumpy, disorientating editing. The action in this trailer shows much-improved stunt work, with significantly more clarity in the editing and camera work. Exactly what we should be seeing from Marvel’s kung fu show.
The season will also have the benefit of a new showrunner, with Raven Metzner taking over from Scott Buck. While it might be unfair to blame everything in Season 1 on Buck, his handling of both that and Inhumans failed to impress. And having a fresh perspective on the show can only be a good thing.
We’ve also seen from their appearances in Luke Cage‘s strong second season that both Danny and Colleen can be enjoyable characters when used correctly. And if Cage can redeem a first season filled with missed opportunities, there’s no reason Iron Fist can’t do the same. And with a reduced number of episodes — 10 instead of the usual 13 — we can expect a much tighter and better paced season.
It is worth noting, however, that the trailer does put us in well-trodden territory, as far as these shows go. The New York setting and a villain that seeks destruction on a large scale is something we’ve seen time and time again, and this doesn’t look to be any different.
One thing Jessica Jones‘ second season excels at is scaling down and focussing on more personal stakes, avoiding many of the usual tropes. That’s not to say the former can’t work, as Kingpin and Bushmaster are two of Marvel TV’s most entertaining antagonists, but it’d be nice to see a change of pace at some point.
That being said, what they do have here is promising. If Metzner and team can figure out what to do with these characters, keeping what works and throwing out what doesn’t, we may be in for a very different Iron Fist. And from what we’ve seen here, they’ve at least made a promising start.