(CNN)Marvel and Netflix's powerful string of dramas featuring second-tier heroes runs into a wall with "Iron Fist," a martial-arts character that lacks the punch of its predecessors.
Marvel's 'Iron Fist' doesn't pack much punch
Not as gritty as "Daredevil" or as cool as "Luke Cage" and "Jessica Jones," this latest component of what will be put together as "The Defenders" lands with more of a dull thud. If the Marvel-Netflix team-up has sought to assemble the Beatles of brooding brawls, think of "Iron Fist" as a notch below Ringo.
To be fair, Iron Fist was never a particularly great character even in the comics, owing an obvious debt to the '70s TV show "Kung Fu." Arriving now in this form, the title feels even more derivative, with a touch of both "Batman Begins" and "Doctor Strange," as the white heir to a billionaire fortune returns from the Himalayas with mad fighting skills.
The series opens with Danny Rand (Finn Jones) staggering into the corporation his parents oversaw, bearded and shoeless. Since he was supposed to have died at age 10 in a plane crash when his folks' plane went missing, management is understandably skeptical, and perhaps a little confused after he promptly beats up a handful of security guards.
The company is now under the stewardship of Danny's childhood friend Joy ("The Following's" Jessica Stroup), with whom he bonds anew, and her brother (Tom Pelphrey), who does all he can to prevent him from claiming his birthright. Danny also cozies up to a martial arts instructor (Jessica Henwick), who earns extra cash fighting in cage matches, presumably just to show her off pounding much bigger guys.