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TV Review: Marvel's Iron Fist - Season 2

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SYNOPSIS: Season 2 furthers the transformation of Danny​, a character with a fish out of water coming of age story making his way in a harsh new world, battling to work out who he is. This season, Dann​y​ has promised that with Matt Murdock gone, he will step up and protect his city. ​But a sinister plot twist threatens his very identity ​and he must conquers his villains to protect the town and people he holds close to his heart.

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REVIEW: Of all the Marvel Netflix series, I disliked Iron Fist the most. The first season was incredibly cheesy outside of a few nicely choreographed episodes which were neutered by the limited range of Finn Jones' portrayal of Danny Rand. While Jones definitely had some elements that could have made him an interesting lead character, the heavy-handed scripting that resulted in the naive Danny having temper tantrums and saying "I Am The Immortal Iron Fist" at least once an episode virtually ruined the entire series. I am beyond happy to report that the second season of Marvel's Iron Fist is superior in every way. In fact, I would go so far to say this was the most well-balanced season of a Marvel Netflix series since the first season of Daredevil. Full of action, tension, character development (really!) and two great villains, Iron Fist is the realization of the character we have been waiting for.

Iron Fist picks up, like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, after the events of The Defenders. Unlike those series, Iron Fist mentions the events at Midland Circle and how they have changed Danny Rand. Picking up where Matt Murdock left off, Danny is now working during the day but still defending the city by night. While Colleen has hung up her sword after taking down Bakuto last season, she is drawn into Danny's desire to stop the battling crime syndicates in New York, specifically in Chinatown. At the same time, Danny's relationship with Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) has improved and the two have an amicable relationship, something missing in season one. I mean, Ward tried to have Danny killed, but Danny is a very forgiving guy. Ward is even in Narcotics Anonymous and trying to make himself a better person. Both have their lives upended when Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup) returns as does Danny's fellow K'un Lun expatriate Davos (Sacha Dhawan).

There is a lot going on in the six episodes made available for review by Netflix, but all of it is good. And by good I mean really good. I love everything about the second season of Iron Fist. With role reversals for many of the supporting characters, namely Joy and Ward, the first half of the season definitely sets up a drama that takes a lot of cues from the source material of the comics while delivering a original story that fits in with this Marvel universe. Without divulging the twists and turns that populate these episodes, there is clearly a lot more care taken to ensure that these characters are more balanced and three-dimensional than they were in season one. With The Hand a memory, the story is streamlined to put all of the characters on a single path that pits Danny Rand against Davos, the battle of Iron Fist and Steel Serpent that fans of the comics would have been anticipating since this series premiered. There is also a continuation of the budding partnership between Colleen Wing and Misty Knight that could eventually lead to them spinning off into their own adventures as the Daughters of the Dragon.

The biggest surprise to this season is the addition of Alice Eve (STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS) to the cast. It has been well reported that she is playing Typhoid Mary, a villain usually associated with Daredevil in the pages of Marvel Comics. Here, Eve is given a new take on the character which gives her the chance to stretch her acting abilities when playing a character with multiple personalities. This version of Typhoid Mary shares a lot in common with the Netflix version of Frank Castle and I easily envisioned the two characters meeting up in a future season of The Punisher. Some fans may find themselves initially turned off by Eve's take on the character or how exactly she fits into the season narrative, but I encourage you to give it time and everything will make more sense as the episodes progress.

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New showrunner Raven Metzner (Sleepy Hollow, Heroes Reborn) definitely had his hands full in rescuing Iron Fist from where the first season ended up, but he and his team have done an excellent job. Each episode of this season is named after individual comic stories from Iron Fist titles through the years and the comparison is apt.  The musical score is vastly improved as the cliche Asian-inspired music is gone, replaced by a memorable soundtrack from Baauer. The Shaolin inspired fight scenes from last season have been replaced with more of a street-fighting style that blends Danny Rand's training from K'un Lun with his evolution on the streets of New York. There is also a more organic hero's journey built into this season and events halfway through that are reminiscent of the struggles faced by the hero in both SUPERMAN II and SPIDER-MAN 2. I won't say what, but fans of both of those films will know what I am talking about. Put that together with multiple references and callbacks to the Iron Fist comic books and you have one heck of a season on your hands. 

For the first time with any of these Marvel Netflix series, I binge watched all of the screeners I was provided in a single sitting. I usually try to digest each episode indivdually, but this run of episodes kept me on the edge of my seat. While they are not exactly jam packed with action like AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, each episode is well executed and constructed with no lean moments. In fact, this may be the most impressive run of episodes I have yet to see from any Defenders-related show. Everything you hated about Iron Fist is gone and the remaining elements are tightly reconstructed into a superhero thriller that ups the ante for every Marvel television franchise. Pulling off such a turnaround from a reviled first season is impressive, now lets see if the second half of the season can live up to the first.

Marvel's Iron Fist premieres September 7th on Netflix.

Source: JoBlo.com

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