Last night, I sat through Marvel Cinematic Universe's latest offering, Echo, and I must say, I was underwhelmed. I'm not one for unnecessary suspense so let's get straight to it. Echo falls short on many counts and does not leave a good impression.
Disney MCU's Echo
I can assure you that I will spare you an assortment of poor-taste jokes connected to the series, and trust me, there are plenty. Unlike other Disney+ ventures, Echo was released in its entirety at once, and one can't help but feel this was a decision that reflects poorly on the overall narrative. Originally planned for eight episodes, it was scaled down to five, leaving the series feeling disjointed and hurriedly put together.
In an odd turn, despite the evident editing, there is an unbalanced amount of time dedicated to atmospheric shots of Echo riding her motorcycle down country roads. The overemphasis on these sequences becomes grating, especially considering the significant amount of content presumably left on the cutting room floor.
The key relationships within the series are weakly established, making it hard to find a meaningful connection with any of the characters. The fact that their relationships matter is only established through repeatedly telling us so.
Echo was marketed as gritty and reminiscent of earlier MCU entries on Netflix, but what was delivered instead was a narrative laden with gloom and lacking intelligent execution. Its narrative choices are baffling, dialogue stilted, and conveniences numerous - making for a watch that is slow-paced, less than bright, and somewhat amateurish.
Echo, as a character, lacks strategic consistency. Her unearned redemptive arc and uncertain superpowers leave much to be desired. Equally baffling is that her morality is what we've come to expect from the MCU, she even appears to have been a psychopath as a child.
Although Alaqua Cox is receiving praise for her performance, I found her lacking on-screen charisma, often displaying a bored expression mirroring my own. More than that, her thought process before executing actions was strikingly evident, straining the audience's suspension of disbelief. Although fresh out of acting school, being thrust into a lead role was perhaps an overreach at this point in her career.
Certainly, she isn't the only one in the series delivering less-than-optimal performances. Despite a few commendable exceptions (like Vincent Denofrio), the rest of the cast falls flat.
Unfortunately, Echo's depiction of Native American culture felt cliched and generic. Much like the create-a-culture representation in Wakanda Forever
. Although they reportedly received input from the Choctaw nation which suggests accuracy.
Echo on her motorbike
The concluding episode was disappointing, with an anticlimactic payoff and a lack of emotional weight. Perhaps this could have been avoided had the characters been given more time to develop in the original eight episodes.
In summary, Echo is not a must-watch by any means and arguably, it is the least compelling Disney+ offering. However, it does serve as a benchmark against which to measure the opinions of reviewers who find the show commendable.
I welcome you to share your thoughts. Do you agree, disagree, or find my critique off-base? Your feedback is always appreciated.
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