TV Review: Marvel’s ‘Iron Fist’ S1 EP1 “Snow Gives Way”

The final Defender is unleashed in the latest Marvel Comics-based Netflix Original…

Starring:  Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Jessica Stroup, Tom Pelphry, David Wenham

Series created by:  Scott Buck (Iron Fist created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane)

Written by:  Scott Buck / Episode directed by:  John Dahl

What’s it about?

Fifteen years after surviving a plane crash in the Himalayas, Danny Rand returns home with new abilities and in search of a purpose…

Episode review

Launched on a wave of largely negative pre-release reviews, the premiere season of Marvel’s Iron Fist arrives on Netflix establishing the final member of the line-up for the Defenders.  Much like Luke Cage, “Snow Gives Way” presents us with a slow yet intriguing start to the series.

As Danny Rand, Finn Jones (Game of Thrones) makes for a likeable lead, a dishevelled, humble drifter with signs of an inner strength and a wise, shrewd perspective beyond his years.  Rand’s backstory is teased via a series of flashbacks where events from his childhood and a tragic plane crash in the Himalayas are revealed.

With the Rand family being declared dead during Danny’s absence, Rand Enterprises has come under the management of siblings Ward and Joy Meachum (Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup, respectively) who are in disbelief that this stranger could be their long-lost friend, Ward in particular only interested in protecting his hold on the company.

With a focus on personal strife and corporate conspiracy, the script by showrunner Scott Buck (Dexter) does tend to evoke shades of Dallas but despite those soap opera-like elements being a little generic it does help to build character and plot.  There’s also room for some comic book Kung-Fu action and whilst lacking the edge and brutality of Daredevil it has a grace and skill to it that goes hand in hand with the character’s philosophy and martial arts mastery.  Another highlight is the introduction of dojo-master Colleen Wing, played by Jessica Henwick, who gets to have some fun interplay with Jones in a couple of key scenes that help to define both characters and hints toward a developing camaraderie.

It’s fair to say that the origin story presented in Iron Fist isn’t the most original, already familiar to viewers through the likes of Batman Begins and Arrow but Finn Jones turns in an enjoyable performance and the mystery surrounding Danny Rand’s absence, eventual return and his path to heroism has potential for, at the very least, entertaining viewing…but hopefully something a bit more.

The bottom line:  Despite a slow start, there are still signs that Iron Fist could develop into another enjoyable Marvel series for Netflix.

All 13 episodes of Iron Fist season 1 are available to stream now via Netflix.  The Defenders is due for release in the summer.

The way of the warrior? Finn Jones is Danny Rand in Marvel’s ‘Iron Fist’.

8 thoughts on “TV Review: Marvel’s ‘Iron Fist’ S1 EP1 “Snow Gives Way”

  1. I’ve started watching Iron Fist as well, few episodes now, and despite a bit of a slow start I think its been really good. A great origin story portrayed for the character. Look forward to seeing how this series develops, and I’m glad its managing to dispel that cloud of early negative reviews as people find the show is actually rather good.

  2. Great and honest review. I’ve heard about all those critic reviews that made it sound like this was one of the worse Marvel TV show out there. I’m honestly surprised cause it really isn’t bad at all. It’s definitely slow though. I feel like it dragged more often than desired and didn’t manage to capture anything really memorable as a pilot episode. I can’t tell if its meant to be like for the story to slowly bloom or if it has something to do with the pacing and the actors. I guess we’ll find out when we eat up more episodes, or even once we finish the season! So far, Daredevil S1 had the best pilot and 1st season of all the Defenders though (doubt Iron Fist will beat it in any way possible). 😀

    – Lashaan

    • Thank you my friend! Whilst I get some of the criticism I can’t understand the bashing Iron Fist has gotten (maybe it’s just considered “cool” to hate stuff at the mo?), I’m just happy these Netflix Marvel shows exist. Sure, Daredevil season 1 set a high bar that hasn’t been matched or surpassed but it’s still great that Netflix are expanding the Defenders universe. Pacing seems to becoming a bit of an issue though, maybe a shorter episode count might be better (although at 8 episodes I fear the Defenders might end up too short and too tight), depending on the story?

      • True, true. Might also be kind of heavy for people to wait 4-5 episodes before the “main” plot gets its groove all. I’m alwo happy that the whole Defenders idea is happening that that we’re just this much closer to seeing it. I definitely believe critics are starting to have fun hating some of the superhero movies that don’t necesseraily fit the Marvel humour/family-friendly template

        – Lashaan

      • Totally agree with that mate (case in point: Batman v Superman), the Netflix shows and even Agents of SHIELD have it right, taking things fairly seriously and what humour there is doesn’t feel out of place. The overly slapstick jokey nature of some of the Marvel films is spoiling it for me a little. Doctor Strange in particular could have been better with the jokes dialled down!

  3. Rotten Tomatoes seems to have treated Iron Fist unfairly. I’m yet to see it, but based on your review, it sounds like a show with a good amount of brewing potential. I think they should fix Rotten Tomatoes for TV shows. If you look into it, the % rating of the series’ are indicative of the pilot episode, as opposed to the show as a whole. Last I checked Iron Fist had a score of 17%. That’s 1.7/10 from critics. Surely that’s a sign the system is broken. Like I say, I’m not a burned fan, looking for any excuse to excuse a show I love in my own blinkered way, just concerned we’re not getting a fair reflection from an widely trusted website.

    • You’re totally right about Rotten Tomatoes Gareth, it definitely needs a tweak. I’m nearing halfway on Iron Fist and I like it fine, certainly doesn’t match with Daredevil but if you’re into that and the general Netflix/Marvel universe then it’s an enjoyable addition that sets us up nicely for the Defenders in August.

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