Iron Fist – Snow Gives Way review S1, Ep.1

Snow Gives Way wasn’t the best kickoff to an extended Iron Fist binge session. With March Madness or even sleep, Iron Fist’s has major competition. And he might not be up for the fight.

The most glaring immediate problem is the take on Iron Fist. Finn Jones plays Danny Rand completely clueless. While Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage felt like fully fleshed out contemporary characters, Danny is a throwback. He’s a 1970s relic tossed into the 2017 ‘real world’ Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Back in the U.S. after being presumed dead for years in a plane crash, Danny returns to New York. Not that anyone has missed him. His childhood pals, Ward (Tom Pelphrey) and Joy (Jessica Stroup), now run his family’s company. And they’re understandably freaked out that this hobo claims to be their friend when they were teenagers.

Danny proves incredibly dense. He lacks social skills and is extremely awkward. And it’s not like Danny’s goal is all that exciting. Seems pretty clear if people think you’re dead everyone else moves on. For some reason, Danny acts like the world was on pause waiting for his big comeback.

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The writers presume viewers will patiently wait around as the story unfolds. As if we’re already invested in Danny and his mission. But Iron Fist is kind of a tough sell anyway and this approach hardly makes him endearing. And he’s not exactly atop the TV superhero food chain. Quake has vibration powers along with kick-tail SHIELD training. The Flash runs at super speed and Supergirl is even flying around now. A guy spouting random philosophical quotes while doing a few (admittedly) cool kicks and flips doesn’t compare.

For much of Snow Gives Way the most pressing question wasn’t about Danny’s past. It’s why this guy isn’t wearing shoes? While Danny is oblivious to shoes, he does feel the need to get a job. He figures harassing martial arts instructor Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) is the way to go. Throughout the episode, Danny just comes off like creepy stalker Superman from Superman Returns. And nobody like a stalker hero.

Iron Fist - Snow Gives Way - Collen Wing

While we wait on Danny to become compelling, the villains need to carry the early proceedings. Pelphrey and Stroup aren’t exactly going to make anyone forget about The Kingpin, Killgrave or Cottonmouth. David Wenham shows up later as Ward and Joy’s presumed dead father, Harold, but he’s just another stuffy businessman lacking any genuine fire.

There’s just nothing menacing about the Meachum clan. To borrow a phrase from one of the best comic book villains, this show needs a better class of criminals. Their big move? Slipping something in his drink and ship him off to a hospital, which is hardly a riveting cliffhanger. Unless the Hand is about to invade…

Snow Gives Way is a rocky start to the series. Fortunately there’s plenty of time for the season to improve.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Photo Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix