Warning: This review contains spoilers for the end of Iron Fist Season 2. Not caught up? Click here to read our spoiler-free review of the opening episodes.
Following the difficult opening episodes of Iron Fist’s second season, the remaining seven episodes manage to pleasantly surprise, producing some much needed changes and a watchable conclusion to Marvel’s troubled drama.
Iron Fist’s biggest issue is that it suffers from a shameless lack of imagination surrounding its place in the superhero genre. Countless films and series into the genre, there’s no room left for tired tropes and tedious characterisation, and Danny and Davos’ conflicting ‘What if Iron Fist was bad’ back-and-forth is standard sequel fare at this point. Coupled with their endlessly rambling pseudo-religious rhetoric, the main protagonist and antagonist of Season 2 become dead weight for the show from the outset.
Luckily, it would seem that the writing team have a plan – relegate the one-note leads to give the spotlight to more interesting characters. Alice Eve’s Mary/Walker carries a few pivotal episodes, with an understated, effortlessly badass performance and intriguing backstory – she’s one of the major redeeming features of an otherwise predictable and arrogant show. Coupled with Jessica Henwick’s irrefutable on-screen dominance and some great support from Simone Missick’s no-nonsense cop Misty, the show’s unpretentious reliance on strong female characters is one of the smartest moves this season makes.
This is followed by a fantastic improvement in the action sequences, especially where Colleen Wing and Walker are concerned – well-choreographed, and humbly shot to allow Henwick to show off her talents, the combat seems to improve with every episode. While the showdown between Davos and Wing hits hard, it’s arguably outdone by an excellent exchange between Misty, Colleen, and stylish tattooists The Crane Sisters, which really puts the show on the map.
The decision to imbue Henwick’s ex-dojo owner and her heirloom katana with the power of the Iron Fist, as opposed to Danny, is surprising, brave, and sorely needed in a show where the Rand’s Hamlet-esque inaction is his defining feature.
Overcompensating final scenes aside, Iron Fist manages to reclaim a level of honour with its refocused second season, with the show’s women fighting their way from the shaky start (and unimaginative premise) to prove the show has some hard-hitting redeeming features.
Iron Fist Season 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.