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Netflix’s original lineup has remained refreshing. Marvel is no exception—Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones were all breathtaking in their own ways. Iron Fist, while slammed by critics, paves its unique path into the Marvel Cinematic Netflix Universe.

The series follows the tale of Danny Rand (Finn Jones). After a fatal incident left him an orphan, Danny is raised by monks. He’s trained to use the Iron Fist, a superhuman chi-powered energy punch. While critics panned the series, from its pacing to Danny himself, I believe Iron Fist is the perfect example of Yin-Yang, a little good to balance the bad.

For the first six to seven episodes, there are barely any fighting scenes. The slow pacing is a problem for most viewers who are used to guns-blazing-action by now. However, Iron Fist cleans this up with the family-versus-family dynamic between Danny, Ward, Harold, and Joy. Their captivating relationships help me look forward to something, Ward especially; his actions through the series have my head constantly spinning. I love a good “I hate him because he’s better than me,” attitude in characters; it gives you someone to dislike.

Jones’ portrayal of Danny is hard to swallow initially, but he improves if you commit to the entire season. Originally, he’s drab and unemotional, but as the series unfolds you learn why he is the way he is. Being stripped from electronics, civilization, and home takes a lot away from you. What Jones does well is portraying an indecisive Danny. Choosing between pursuing the mantle of the Iron Fist and being rich boy Danny Rand is an inner conflict that Jones plays well.

The fighting in Iron Fist is a letdown. Danny’s choreography seems robotic, and the fighting feels choppy, so it’s hard to get excited. However, Colleen Wing—Iron Fist’s equivalent of Luke Cage’s Misty Knight—kicks *** and gets my blood pumping. I see her fights and find myself cheering on and on.

Iron Fist is a balanced Netflix original. While Luke Cage and Daredevil are impressive, Iron Fist clocks in as a balance between great and mediocre. Hopefully, Danny will get better as a character when he appears in The Defenders later this year. Catch Iron Fist streaming on Netflix now.

– Leo Rydel
Follow me on Twitter @LeoRydel