‘Iron Fist’ Season 2 Is A Much-Needed Improvement On Danny Rand
By Devvon Eubanks
“Protect my city.”
These are the last words Danny Rand (Finn Jones) hears from Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) in Marvel’s “The Defenders.” Entrusted with taking up Daredevil’s mission, “Iron Fist: Season 2” opens with a hero still struggling on a path of self-discovery while facing incredible odds. Joining him in the fight is his girlfriend, Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), as Danny struggles to find a way to quell a mounting gang war from the vestiges of The Hand, and face a long-standing ally who has grown corrupt in his failed efforts to return Danny to his mystical home, K’un-Lun.
Coming off of the heels of a rocky first season, the producers of this new chapter try to undo some of the issues that made the prior outing lackluster. In line with many of the other series, New York is still a haven of crime and unrest, with this one focusing on the war of two competing Chinese triads, the Golden Tigers and the Hatchet Gang. However, with the fall of The Hand and the loss of Daredevil, season two shows Iron Fist has a lot to deal with to maintain order and peace in his part of New York. Dark, brooding, and with violence at every turn, both Danny and Colleen are constantly engaged in fights and detective work to find a way to end this war. The focus soon shifts from establishing Danny’s character and the dealings of his company, Rand Enterprises, and hones in on strengthening Iron Fist, his relationships, and his overall place in the Marvel Universe. The directors seem to have taken some ideas from “Luke Cage” and “The Punisher,” and the changes are refreshing. The fight choreography is improved (especially in Colleen’s sequences), character interactions are realistic and more poignant, and the story is less of a chore to follow, although the beginning is quite slow.
Much of these improvements are also the result of bringing Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick) into the fray, bridging the budding kinships and importance between Iron Fist and Luke Cage’s universes. After Misty gains a mechanized arm, the soon-to-be captain shows up to help Danny and Colleen when the triad war results in the deaths of a few of her fellow officers. Her presence not only strengthens the sometimes shaky relationship of Danny and Colleen, but it also helps to continue her camaraderie with Colleen after “The Defenders,” since the pair are police partners in the comics. Plus, Colleen and Misty have many humorous and amazing interactions, and they kick serious ass in their fight scenes together.
Meanwhile, in the shadows of gang war, Davos (Sacha Dhawan) has returned as the main antagonist after suffering a loss to Danny and seeking out a displaced Joy Meachum (Jessica Leigh Stroup). While not as effective as a Bushmaster or Billy Russo, Davos’ mission is one that reflects Danny’s assignment – the defending of good and the halting of crime – but in a more fanatical and zealous way. His persona is somewhat reminiscent of Agent Smith in 1999’s “The Matrix,” as he believes this society is a cancer that must be uprooted. He thus concludes that he must do what Danny will not, even if he has to kill people and subjugate mankind to his will in order to foster peace. The viewer can relate to Davos in some ways and see what leads him to these beliefs through a series of flashbacks in K’un-Lun. But sadly, his resulting personality and final decisions do not make him a very memorable villain.
Throughout all these events and characters, one of the recurring themes has been showing the humanity within. Whether it’s through fighting substance addiction, dealing with past pain or personality disorders, accepting oneself in spite of personal traumas, or trying to find a purpose and place in the world, this season focuses on bringing a lot of emotional development which makes every character stand on their own by fighting some aspect of themselves or their environment. It’s much like the second season of “Luke Cage,” and this is what saves Iron Fist’s sophomore outing. While it does somewhat take away from the fantasy aspects of heroes and their superhuman and otherworldly powers, it makes the viewer feel that they are a part of the story, bringing a new appreciation to characters who may have just been “average” in the comics.
The next season of “Iron Fist” should be quite interesting. However, it is uncertain if fans will appreciate the direction the series is going in. Nonetheless, “Daredevil: Season 3” looms over the horizon, and it should affect the Marvel Universe even further.