The origin story of Echo revisits Maya Lopez, whose ruthless behavior in New York City catches up with her in her hometown. She must face her past, reconnect with her Native American roots, and embrace the meaning of family and community if she ever hopes to move forward.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
It’s Review Time: 5
Cast and Crew:
Directed by Catriona McKenzie and Sydney Freeland
Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez
Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk / Kingpin
Graham Greene as Skully, Maya’s Grandfather
Tantoo Cardinal as Chula, Maya’s Grandmother
Zahn McClarnon as William Lopez, Maya’s Father
Katarina Ziervogel as Taloa, Maya’s Mother
Chaske Spencer as Henry, Maya’s Uncle
Devery Jacobs as Bonnie, Maya’s Cousin
Cody Lightning as Biscuits, Maya’s Cousin
Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock / Daredevil
The series focuses on the superhero itself, Echo/Maya Lopez, which takes us on a journey where we get to see her childhood, how Maya lost her parents, her journey and introduction we watched in Hawkeye, her connection with her uncle, Wilson Fisk, who got her father killed through Ronin (Clint Barton played by Jeremy Renner), how she will avenge the death of his father from Fisk, and her connection with the Choctaw Queen, whose powers have been carried on from all the generations, which now Echo through Maya Lopez.
As we know, Clint Barton, operating as Ronin, killed William Lopez. He reveals that the kingpin ordered her father’s death. In the finale of the Hawkeye series, Maya Lopez shoots Kingpin in the right eye. The Echo series picks up from there, showing Maya on the run, heading back to her Oklahoma home. Kingpin’s men are pursuing her to eliminate the threat. Unsatisfied with what appears to be Kingpin’s demise, Maya plans to send a strong message to all those working under him.
Marvel Studios has embarked on a rollercoaster journey, navigating through highs and lows. Last year, we experienced stellar projects like Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Loki, and What If—Season 2, captivating Marvel Cinematic Universe enthusiasts. These offerings provided a glimmer of hope for genuine Marvel lovers. However, we also witnessed lacklustre and poorly written projects like Secret Invasion, The Marvels, and others that many comic book fans wish to forget.
The trend persists with Echo, where the show’s promotions heavily featured Daredevil and Wilson Fisk. Both were announced to play significant roles in the series, confirming the inclusion of Daredevil and the entire Netflix’s Defenders Saga to be canon in the MCU.
Echo marks Marvel Studios’ first TVMA series under Marvel Spotlight Productions, continuing the MCU stories. The initial episode captivates the audience with extensive action sequences reminiscent of Daredevil. The series immediately embraces the grittiness and tone seen in Daredevil, maintaining it throughout. But halfway through the episode, we realise that the story is dwelling on the small aspects of the story, as in the entire episode we were catching up with Maya’s backstory and what has happened till now with her in the MCU.
As the series unfolds, there’s minimal content to remind us that it’s a TVMA production; much of it feels like another typical Marvel project. The show adopts a family-centered narrative, offering a well-rounded perspective on Maya Lopez’s life. Following the initial episode, action sequences are sparse, with the train sequence being a notable exception. The plot twists, while engaging, follow predictable and classic Marvel patterns, consistent with what audiences have seen over an extended period.
And as for what I liked and disliked about the series, we will discuss that in the sections below.
5 things I liked about Echo:
- The most exciting revelation surrounding Echo’s release from a Marvel Studios official was the confirmation that Netflix’s Defenders Saga is now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. The Defenders Saga, with its TVMA rating, initially struggled to gain popularity as the Marvel Cinematic Universe was at its peak in 2015, but the Defenders Saga gained acclaim with each season. Standout series like Daredevil, Punisher, and Jessica Jones were highlights. Luke Cage had a decent performance, while the challenges with the actor and writing were notable in the Iron Fist series. Despite its shortcomings, rebooting the series could have resulted in a significant loss for Marvel.
- Viewers were treated to a fantastic one-take action sequence reminiscent of Daredevil, bringing delight to fans. Maya, on her first assignment from Kingpin, initially struggles with gaining consciousness and confidence to handle the mob. However, she quickly regains her composure, and just as the action unfolds, Daredevil enters the room through a window, expressing his frustration about tracking the men for a few days. The action sequence kicks off, showcasing Daredevil in his Netflix series suit, which greatly enhances his appearance, unlike what was seen in She-Hulk.
- The directors and action choreographer displayed excellent skill in recreating and reintroducing the one-take action sequences reminiscent of Daredevil. As highlighted in my previous blogs, these action sequences are engaging and captivating, making them a standout feature in the series.
- In contrast to other Marvel heroes introduced, such as Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel and Marvels, along with Jennifer Walters in She-Hulk, Maya Lopez underwent martial arts training from childhood to become a skilled fighter. This progression is beautifully depicted on screen as we witness her ageing and growing proficiency in combat.
- Echo continues a storyline similar to Kahhori’s in What If: Season 2. While not an exact replication, the series incorporates mythological narratives of Native Americans. It portrays the origin of Native Americans, suggesting that they once lived underground near a lake. When the ground above them collapses, they emerge out of the ground and transform into human beings.
5 things I disliked about Echo:
- The story takes an extended time to establish itself, often repeating information already known. The entire first episode focuses extensively on establishing Maya Lopez’s backstory, revisiting scenes seen in Hawkeye. Despite introducing visuals from the backstory, the reason behind Kingpin orchestrating Maya’s father’s death remains unclear. This lack of explanation persists throughout the series, contributing to an overall sense of lazy writing that has been observed at Marvel Studios for an extended period.
- Despite obtaining a TVMA rating, the series lacks substantial content to justify it. Only a few scenes, like Kingpin bashing the ice-cream vendor or Maya’s gunshot wound, provide a glimpse of mature themes. Throughout the series, it’s easy to forget its intended TVMA classification. The absence of any explicit language contributes to it feeling like just another average Marvel series.
- In the TVMA series, where the narrative aimed for a dark and gritty tone, the creators and cinematographers opted for visually dark scenes, making it challenging to watch on-screen. Despite owning a 4K UHD TV, I encountered difficulty viewing certain scenes. The creators made a similar mistake to the DCEU, instead of presenting a dark story, they delivered us a visually dark display.
- The filler scenes prove to be the most irksome aspect of the series. Maya frequently appears riding her bike through Oklahoma without significant plot development. Characters engage in prolonged and seemingly irrelevant conversations that contribute little to the series’ overarching story. I would recommend the creators draw inspiration from films like ‘John Wick,’ where Keanu Reeves delivers minimal dialogue yet the intense story captivates audiences. The franchise successfully sets up its plot on a seemingly unusual premise, but the love and box office success of this action-packed series continue to grow with each installment.
- A major complaint I’ve had is Marvel’s apparent dismantling of well-established characters from Netflix, starting with She-Hulk and Hawkeye.
The portrayal of Daredevil in She-Hulk was peculiar, almost making Matt Murdock seem like a comedic element rather than a serious character.
In Hawkeye, we witness Kate Bishop easily defeating the imposing Kingpin, a trend repeated in Echo. This departure from the established tone and power dynamics raises questions.
Did the creators actually watch the Daredevil series? Remember Kingpin’s prowess in defeating every opponent, including Daredevil and Bullseye, in the intense series finale, showcasing Wilson Fisk’s dominance in a powerful way.