At a packed panel at New York Comic Con, Marvel and Netflix shared a bunch of information about Iron Fist. The programme had literally just finished filming the last scene of the show at nine o'clock that very morning. Despite that, they still had clips to share.
So many clips. In addition to the trailer, the crowd saw five clips from the show, most of it featuring Danny Rand’s return to New York. It’s... bumpy to say the least.
In the first clip, Danny is barefoot in New York City. You know he’s been away for a long time, because he has a very old iPod on his hip. He sees the Rand Enterprises HQ and says, “That’s my building.” Unsurprisingly, the receptionist is not interested in letting the dirty barefoot man meet with head honcho Harold Meachum (David Wenham). She tells him to wait and then calls security.
Security tries to throw Danny out, but he walks right back in, and casually dispatches security as he tries to get to the elevators. Smartly, Iron Fist has managed to come up with a fighting style for Danny that is unique to him. His style is much less brutal looking that we’ve seen from these shows, and much more balletic and graceful. They also use camera tricks to make the people Danny fights move in a faster, more frantic way. It makes Danny’s calm even more evident.
There were two more clips involving the Meachums. First up are Joy (Jessica Stroup) and Ward (Tom Pelphrey), who are interrupted at a restaurant by Danny. Whereas Danny in the first clip is, at first, an innocent happy to be back in the city, he’s furious at the siblings here. He says that Ward was like a brother to him, even if he was a “terrible jackass” brother.
Ward responds, “The Danny Rand I knew is dead and I wanted him to stay that way.” And Joy? Joy delivers the killing blow: “I’m not your sister, he’s not your brother. We don’t want you here.” Harsh.
Of course, they’re screwed because Danny says, “I have Hogarth now.” So Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss, who appeared in Jessica Jones and briefly in Daredevil season 2) apparently represents Danny is his attempt to retake his father’s company. “You can’t deny what’s mine, what my father meant for me to have,” says Danny. It’s hard to deny that Finn Jones has a ton of range in Danny. As naive as he is in the first clip (his delight at a touchscreen really stands out as a great bit of voiceless acting), he’s all banked anger and determination in this one.
The other Meachum clip showcased David Wenham as Harold Meachum. And Wenham is absolutely terrifying in this role. It helps that he’s questioning Danny at night, while Danny’s being held in what looks like a psychiatric ward. It’s all dark and sickly green light. “Do you remember the song I used to sing that used to annoy the shit out of you?” asks the weird old man that came out of nowhere to wake up Danny.
He hums “Danny Boy” and then starts singing, and you will want to crawl in a hole and hide from him. Harold is messed up. He also presses hard on Danny to explain where he was for the last decade and a half—even though he does know that Danny was in the care of monks.“We did know a lot, but not everything. Where exactly is this monastery?” he asks.
Danny says he was in “K’un-Lun. one of the seven capital cities of heaven” and that he “probably should never have left.” He was a warrior there, he says, and he “only felt alive in the middle of a fight” and was “one in a long line of immortal iron fists.” He also tells Harold that he’s the sworn enemy of the Hand, and he’s the only one who can destroy the Hand. Harold is really interested in that part.
There is something wrong with Danny in this scene. He sounds checked out, almost drugged. Harold promises to get Danny what he needs, which is, of course, more of a threat than actual help. It’s really frustrating that Danny would even ask him, he’s so creepy. “You should go back to sleep,” Meachum oozes at the end. If this is representative of the villains in the show, once again the Netflix shows are doing a much better job at scaring you to death than the movies do.
We also saw a hallway fight. Because of course, if it’s a Netflix Marvel show, there has to be a hallway fight. In it, Danny’s trying to prevent the kidnapping of what looks like Joy Meachum. Only there are a bunch of men in black wielding axes in the way.
Danny’s smooth style is in evidence here again, along with some bullet time to show him avoiding an axe to the neck. There’s a surety to his movements, that really sells that he’s spent most of his life doing nothing but training for this. Also, the focus on getting every twitch of his fingers right and in frame really adds to the experience.
The clip ended with Danny taking out the last axe man and getting to the elevator just as it closes. Jeph Loeb told the crowd that Danny does make it onto the elevator. So I guess we’re getting the Iron Fist take on the Daredevil hallway fight and the Winter Soldier elevator one.
But the clip that most deserved the standing ovation it got showcased Colleen Wing. There’s no context for it, but none is needed—Colleen is challenged in a cage fight. The cage is padlocked shut and two huge guys go after her. Her fight style is a lot less balletic than Danny’s is. And she’s far more often disadvantaged than he was in any clip we saw. She gets trapped under one of the large dudes, who asks her to give up. But then she breaks his arm with a leg hold.
Where Danny’s style feel clean and calm, she’s a whirlwind of bloody destruction. She’s in, as a wonderful parallel to her comics look, a white hoodie and white leggings. Her establishing character moment? Punching one of the guys in the face, and then wiping the blood off her hand by drawing it across the front of her hoodie.
Jessica Henwick’s one scene as Colleen stole the show from the four others with Danny and two others with the Meachums. She is by far the character we are looking forward to seeing the most, and she gets her comic book costume way before anyone else.
The last hint we got from the panel was that Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) puts away the scrubs in Iron Fist and starts kicking ass. “I mean, I have a good sensei,” said Dawson about her character’s new role.
What we saw was obviously calculated to get the best response, but it undeniably left a good impression. It doesn’t seem as if Iron Fist is going to be Netflix show Marvel falls down on. What we saw had the qualities that have made these shows work so well: strong secondary characters, a great villain, and wonderfully choreographed fights. Now, every hour released on March 17th, 2017 has to be as good as the minutes we saw.