EntertainmentMarvel's 'Echo' on Disney+: groundbreaking or missed opportunity? Critics weigh in

Marvel's 'Echo' on Disney+: groundbreaking or missed opportunity? Critics weigh in

Marvel's 'Echo' on Disney+: groundbreaking or missed opportunity? Critics weigh in
Images source: © GETTY | SOPA Images

6:58 AM EST, January 10, 2024, updated: 2:28 AM EST, January 30, 2024

As described officially by the platform, the most recent Marvel production comprises five episodes. The plot revolves around Mai Lopez (Alaqua Cox), who catches the attention of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), who leads a criminal empire during her childhood. As destiny leads her back to her family home, she must confront her family and origins.

Appearing in "Echo" are Chaske Spencer from "Wild Indian" and "The Maid", Graham Greene from "1883", Tantoo Cardinal from "Blood Moon", Devery Jacobs from "Ragers", Zahn McClarnon from "Fragments of Darkness", and Cody Lightning from "Hey, Viktor!". Sydney Freeland and Catriona McKenzie direct the series.

A new chapter in Marvel

Even though the series officially debuted only on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, numerous reviews are available online. At this point, it claims 21 reviews and a 67 percent "freshness" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, signifying that 2/3 of the voters deemed "Echo" a successful show. Viewer ratings, with over 250 provided, stand at 78 percent.

The series, a spin-off from "Hawkeye", is not entirely independent, despite Marvel's announcement that it would inaugurate a new subclass of studio productions. Its protagonist was already known to viewers from the title above, and the character of Kingpin (D'Onofrio) was also featured in "Daredevil." Many critics view "Echo" as an opportunity to breathe new life into the studio.

"Marvel needs this," according to critics

The comment above was found in Dominic Patten's review for "Deadline". "I didn't believe Disney and Marvel had so much audacity and cleverness. Sometimes it's wonderful to be proven wrong," the author writes. According to Patten, "Echo" charts a course that the Studio should have pursued for ages.

In his judgment, the series is "dark and bloody" yet brilliantly fuses various genres and cultures. Moreover, it accomplishes one more essential undertaking: it proves that even actors/characters with disabilities (Alaqua Cox is deaf and has a prosthetic leg) can effectively "kick ass".

Conversely, Daniel Fienberg from "The Hollywood Reporter" views "Echo" as groundbreaking, albeit not a great series. He underlines the absence of thrilling moments from witnessing a staggering spectacle. He also finds the "awkward duration" of actions in episodes, which are somewhat preoccupied with exposition, to be a hindrance. He opines that nothing rivals the breathtaking fight scene from the initial episode.

Echo - trailer #1

Promising and unique, albeit it could have been shorter

According to Aramide Tinubu from "Variety", the new Marvel series doesn't tap into the potential intrinsic in the superheroine. However, the story's inclusiveness, with extensive sequences of the characters communicating solely through sign language, is worthy of applause.

Implementing narration behind the scenes could also aid character development, bringing viewers closer to the elusive Mai. Cutting down the duration of the 5-episode series into a two-hour movie and discarding several unnecessary components, primarily those extending the exposition, would also be beneficial.

Chase Hutchinson emphasizes: "'Echo' signifies a potential new path for Marvel, from which we can only hope to break free from the shackles of the expansive universe," he writes in "Collider". According to him, it's "among the finest series, containing bolder and bloodier elements than most of the previous ones", and though it didn't entirely fulfill high expectations, it appears "promising" compared to the dreary studio productions.

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in "Echo" sure knows how to "kick butt"
Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in "Echo" sure knows how to "kick butt"© Disney+, Marvel | Chuck Zlotnick

"This is one of the most unique and riveting Marvel series," declares Molly Freeman from "Screen Rant." All thanks to the storyline based on deafness and mobility impairment, subjects mostly overlooked like many others - in the super-heroic world of the production giant. The author was especially impressed by the incredible fight sequences, in which the sound was silenced to most accurately portray the experiences of the deaf protagonist.

The "Echo" series can be watched on the Disney+ platform.

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