Iron Fist season 2 is a lot better than last season, but that’s not saying much

UPDATED 9/7: Please note that the review has been updated to reflect the newest episodes that Netflix sent us. We were initially given six episodes and then sent the final four recently. 

When the first season of Marvel’s Iron Fist came out last year, critics weren’t the biggest fans of the Marvel superhero, calling out the bad storyline, horrible martial arts, and terrible dialogue. The villains, which Marvel television is known for giving deep storylines to, were lukewarm at best, leaving them entirely one-dimensional. There was much to improve on from last season and I think season two did a good job with what they were given.

With season two, the series welcomed a new showrunner and fewer episodes – reducing from 13 episodes to 10, which helped hone in the major storyline and theme for the series. It seems that this season, the series has figured out what to focus on that was lacking last season. Last season, everything was quite slow and dragged on. We didn’t even learn much about the characters in all that time nor did we really care about them. With the second season, the pacing was much better. We really got to know each character and their motivations, especially Joy (Jessica Stoup) and her reason for working with Davos to take down Danny Rand (Finn Jones). I was completely confused at the end of last season why she had decided to say yes to becoming full evil. As for Davos (Sacha Dhawan), he is the main villain of this season. He finally gets to be so much more than a resentful K’un-Lun member. His story was finally expanded upon where you truly sympathize with him, like the other villains in the Marvel TV universe. So much so, that in many moments, you’re actually rooting for him to obtain the Iron Fist power.

Unfortunately, the problem still remains that Danny (Finn Jones) still isn’t likable. It’s not that Jones isn’t trying, but the writing seems to have no idea what to do with him. He’s a rich kid living a modest means, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he still isn’t getting the family fortune. He still owns a large percentage of the company and has no idea what he’s doing with it. There was a point where business graduate Ward (Tom Pelphrey) advises Danny on a business deal, but Danny ignores him and signs the contract anyway because “it’s the right thing to do.” I understand they want him to be righteous, but this is too much.

There is another scene where Danny is frustrated that he must deal with his K’un-Lun brother, Davos, and tells Colleen (Jessica Henwick) that she wouldn’t understand growing up with someone and then having them turn evil. This frustrated me so much because the entire last season had Colleen’s sensei, Bakuto, a man who essentially trained her, betray her trust. So, she definitely understands how it feels, but whatever.

Fortunately, the show knows it cannot rely solely on Danny, which is why Colleen and Misty Knight (Simone Missick) have much bigger parts in the series. After the positive response for the two in Marvel’s Defenders and Luke Cage‘s second season, Netflix knows the audience wants to see the Daughters of the Dragon united and kicking ass. The duo has many scenes together, sans Danny, and it’s honestly some of the best parts of the series.

The series picks up after the seventh episode and surprises you with so many twists. Twists that I feel the new showrunner is trying to fix from previous showrunner, Scott Buck’s, unfortunate first season. Fans have been wanting more from the series and the characters and it seems that the Iron Fist responsibility becomes a shared one. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but the final two episodes will blow your mind.

The writers for Iron Fist understand last season’s mistakes and rectify it by focusing on their strengths than weaknesses. By having the series focus on an ensemble cast rather than the individual, the series takes a slight pressure off Jones’ performance. Instead, fans can revel in the fact that we have Colleen, Misty, Ward, Joy, and Davos to get a lot of screen time.

As for the stunts and martial arts, Jones has improved a lot on his hand-work, but the series also has become smarter in dealing with Jones’ lack of martial arts background. Danny’s face is covered in most of the fight scenes, which allows for a stunt double to do the hard work. The action sequences flow better and require fewer edits than last season.

Overall, the new season is watchable and has moments of annoyance from Danny, but they made an attempt to improve which shows.

Marvel’s Iron Fist premieres this Friday on Netflix.

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