Iron Fist Season 2 Reviews

When Marvel’s Iron Fist series debuted on Netflix, it was quickly regarded as the worst of the comic book shows on the subscription streaming service. Lined up alongside the likes of Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, the mystical superhero just fell flat.

Thankfully, the producers and writers have learned lessons from that misstep, and they’ve improved in the second season of Iron Fist, at least according to critics who have screen the first six episodes. But is improvement over the first season enough? Find out what critics are saying in their Iron Fist season 2 reviews below.

Allison Keene at Collider found many things improved in this season:

Iron Fist’s second season falls prey to the same issues as the other Marvel series on Netflix, which stubbornly refuse to change their formula (I care less about episode counts than how the shows tend to those episode counts) or acknowledge the problems that should be fixed. You might be forced an overly long runtime, but there are ways to make it work. That starts with populating that time with more story than these series ever do, cutting down scene length, adding in more dynamic soundtracks and editing, and taking a pause from gritty street-level realism to actually have some fun with, y’know, these superheroes.

Having said that, Iron Fist does actually make a few key adjustments (under a new showrunner, Raven Metzner) that help its cause. And let me also be clear: Iron Fist Season 2 isn’t terrible. It just … exists. And a few things have actually changed for the better. Danny Rand (Finn Jones) fights less, and he’s in a quasi-mask more (at least as of the first six episodes), Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) gets a lot more focus, and Alice Eve’s new character Mary introduces an interesting new dynamic (eventually). Misty Knight also joins the team a few episodes in, and Simone Missick’s presence is always a delight. And the season is only ten episodes instead of thirteen, which suits it much better.

Kofi Outlaw at ComicBook.com liked the elevated action sequences, but thinks the villains still need work:

The main fan-focus will of course be the action, and the fight sequences in season 2 – even in the first episodes – are much more frequent, with much better fight choreography by stunt coordinator Clayton Barber, and much more extensive fight training on the part of the actors and stunt performers. Thankfully the action scenes are not just gimmicky fights: the fight sequences involving Danny, Colleen, Misty, Davos, etc. are firmly rooted in season 2’s larger gang war story arc – which is not too far removed from the narrative structure of Luke Cage season 2. The stakes of each fight make the sequences more thrilling – especially since the visual effects are also much stronger, making Iron Fist season 2 a much better offering of fantastical Marvel super hero action.

Iron Fist once again suffers in the villain department. The first six episodes do set up an arc with Davos and Joy Meachum that could pay off in a big way during the back half arc – but to call that buildup a “slow burn” would be an understatement. Joy and Davos aren’t exactly compelling villains on their own (in fact, their mutual turn towards villainy seems forced), and their chemistry as co-conspirators is strange at best, awkward at worst. Luckily, Typhoid Mary comes in to balance things out, and help set up the larger villain arc for an exciting finale. Regardless, it’s still bad sign that a show built on marital arts action fantasy struggles to find worthy foes for the heroes.

Alex Maldy at JoBlo offers up even more praise for the second season’s improvement:

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.

Merill Barr at Forbes agrees that Iron Fist has improved in some regards, but doesn’t think it’s better as a whole:

On the positives, the action, acting and motivations of almost all the players involved are much cleaner this time around. Jones has actually learned how to deliver satisfying hand-to-hand combat on screen (minimal as it may be unmasked)! Instead of being an ugly failure, the improvements to the series this season actually do make it mostly watchable.

However, the biggest problem with Iron Fist remains its eponymous protagonist.

This really has less to do with Jones’ performance now and more to do with how the character’s written. The reality is Danny was written so weakly in season one that it was going to take a fairly impossible level of re-working to make him interesting going forward.

In this new season, Danny is more accessible, but that hasn’t stripped him of his rich-boy persona that, while could have been played for a Bruce Wayne esthetic, is just a hindrance to his overall story.

David Betancourt at The Washington Post pays special compliments to Sacha Dhawan’s performance:

The show is markedly better this time around, with such strong and entertaining efforts from the supporting cast that you can briefly forget about the initial groans surrounding lead Finn Jones’s casting.

First, there’s Davos (Sacha Dhawan), Danny’s adoptive brother. He’s a martial-artist equal who feels the Iron Fist power should have been his by birthright and that Danny isn’t deserving of the honor. Davos is already furious because Danny abandoned the magical land of K’un-Lun where they trained to be warriors, and now that K’un-Lun is missing after events in Season 1, he’s even angrier. Guess who he’s going to take that out on?

Every scene with Davos and Danny is intense — even when they’re just trying to have dinner together or have a basic conversation. Their brotherly bond has been broken and Davos’s anger is palpable: He’s only got one emotional gear and never shifts out of it.

Mike Cecchini at Den of Geek thinks Iron Fist has improved considerably, but also noted the show still feels overlong like most of the Marvel shows on Netflix:

Iron Fist Season 2 is a massive improvement in virtually every way that matters. A new showrunner (Sleepy Hollow‘s Raven Metzner), a new fight coordinator, and Danny Rand’s evolution over the course of The Defenders and a fun episode of Luke Cage’s second season, all help tremendously, along with better villains, a more focused story, and a willingness to put the show’s supporting cast to better use.

The first episode alone (I screened six to write this review) is almost like a brand new pilot, starting things off with a fun street fight sequence which is already better than any comparable action scene in season one. And in case things aren’t clear, it follows up with an even better one to bookend the hour. And don’t worry, there are even more in the following episodes (including a terrific, intense tournament fight in the Rachel Talalay directed third episode). Finn Jones is far more comfortable and convincing in these scenes this time around and Jessica Henwick shines when Colleen Wing gets in on the fun…which is often. When the Iron Fist itself is deployed, it feels like a video game special attack, which underscores that this season clearly gets how much fun can be had by reveling in the craziness of a mystically powered urban brawler.

Andrew Husband at Uproxx is also frustrated by the length of the show, despite the superior second season:

The good news is, the second season of Iron Fist is a massive improvement over the first 13 episodes that Marvel and Netflix gifted (or cursed) audiences with ahead of 2017’s crossover mini-series, The Defenders. The bad news is, simply saying that “the second season of Iron Fist is a massive improvement” is nowhere near the same thing as saying “Iron Fist season two is a good show.” Because that would be a lie, and lying is bad.

The pacing remains largely subservient to the 13-episode length (despite being only 10 episodes this time) meaning that what could have been a much shorter, tightly-written season feels more like a bloated story. Sub-subplots that would have been nothing more than a footnote to a conversation…are given far more screen time than necessary. These bits of fluff often coalesce into some of the Marvel-Netflix shows’ most ridiculous moments (like a double dinner date scene in episode three).

***

The consensus on Iron Fist season two certainly recognizes the lessons learned from the criticism of the first season. However, simply because the fight scenes have been revamped and new supporting characters give the show some much needed spice doesn’t mean the season as a whole is truly great. Though many of the critics commented on how much better the second season is, they also note that this doesn’t necessarily mean Iron Fist is actually good. Others are more forgiving, but most still seem to think the show is still on the lower end of the Netflix’s Marvel totem pole.

The second season of Iron Fist hits Netflix on September 7.

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