Marvel continues to expand its universe with solo characters; however, unfortunately, as the universe grows, it has become increasingly uncontrollable. Particularly in my critique of the second season of “What If,” I emphasized that Marvel is experiencing a serious narrative problem. Marvel, overwhelmed by the enormity of the multiverse concept they introduced, is now facing significant challenges in connecting the storylines. Echo is an ongoing part of this issue. Despite having significant potential based on the character it focuses on, the narrative framework Marvel designed for her is, unfortunately, the main cause of failure.
Let’s briefly delve into the story… Maya is a deaf Native American. After losing her mother, she begins to grow under the wing of Kingpin, who presents himself as her uncle. Kingpin, using the hatred within Maya, turns her into a weapon and makes her carry out dirty deeds. However, as we saw in Hawkeye’s solo series, Maya breaks free from her chains and kills Kingpin. Or so she thinks. The uncle, feeling betrayed, returns to try to regain his niece.
With the introduction of the Native American superhero Kahhori in the second season of “What If,” a new style is initiated. It can be said that Kahhori is an impressive character. Echo, on the other hand, is a continuation of this new trend. The series progresses through the myth that Native Americans have mystical powers, bestowing upon Maya and those around her a power beyond the comprehension of time. In a scenario where almost everyone in the universe is somehow a superhero, Maya emerges as an angry warrior with a healing power.
However, the series, unfortunately, fails to narrate Maya’s story in an original and, even worse, non-cringeworthy manner. Despite all its potential, the series is a weak endeavor that falls short of expectations. Unfortunately, it faces issues on many fronts, with the most significant problem being storytelling. With Phase 4, Marvel departed from epic stories and shifted the focus to characters’ daily lives, concentrating on new heroes in the streets. Although this approach initially seemed correct, the lack of connection between the stories now creates a sense of disjointedness. Watching small stories unfold in a vast universe, with the uncertainty of their relevance to each other, hampers the appreciation of the project. While it is understood that Marvel will likely progress through Kingpin in the future, Maya’s place, for instance, remains entirely uncertain.
Similarly, the series fails to make an impact with clichés such as family ties, the recurring theme of being kidnapped and rescued, and the cliché of strength through the past. By resorting to all the clichés of a classic TV series, the show struggles to deepen Maya’s character. Especially with its choices, the series falls beneath the clichés it leans towards. The superhero costume they give Maya in the finale, for example, is far less impressive than the outfit she wore for four episodes. Although the series has a few good action scenes, some suffer from slow and artificial choreography, unfortunately diminishing the show’s value.
While generally fond of Hulu projects, one can observe Disney’s cost-cutting approach in every aspect of the project. Unfortunately, the primary victim here is Alaqua Cox, who looks great on screen but has her potential undermined by a clichéd plot deemed acceptable by Marvel and Disney. Similarly, the character assigned to Vincent D’Onofrio, portraying Kingpin, is much weaker and more cowardly than expected.
In summary, “Echo” squanders its potential by wasting Alaqua Cox’s screen presence and openness to innovation on a clichéd plot. The series, resorting to all the cringe-worthy drama scenes of an ordinary TV show, fails to entertain even in the action scenes that should be enjoyable, thanks to its weak choreography. The impact of not knowing where Marvel will connect all the introduced new solo characters is evident, making it difficult to give the series the necessary significance while watching. At some point, you wonder why you even watched the series. As I have reiterated in my recent criticisms, Marvel, unfortunately, faces a serious storytelling problem, and this chaos doesn’t seem likely to resolve anytime soon.
Cast & Crew
creator: Hulu, Disney, Marvel
starring: Alaqua Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Chaske Spencer, Devery Jacobs, Cody Lightning, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, Morningstar Angeline
USA | 2024 | 5 EPISODES |