Marvel has debuted yet another MCU offering, Echo, the first in what it’s calling “Marvel Spotlight” projects that focus on specific characters and arcs in standalone stories rather than ones with a larger universal connection.
Echo attempts to kick that off rather awkwardly, as a significant portion of the first episode is chopped up flashbacks to 2021’s Hawkeye series detailing her story and her relationship to Kingpin. Marvel dumped the entire series out at once on Tuesday night, which hasn’t happened before, and you could watch all five episodes in around three hours last night.
Echo’s is reviewing…okay. Its Rotten Tomatoes score has risen out of the mid 60s where it was last night, and now it’s at a 72%. Strangely, critics were only given the first three episodes to watch, where review embargo was right when the show launch. Some, I guess, waited to watch the whole series, including the last two episodes which the only ones with any significant new Kingpin content.
But a 72%, while okay on its own, in context means that Echo is the second worst-reviewed MCU TV show, ahead of only the disastrous Secret Invasion. Here’s the list:
- Ms. Marvel – 98%
- Hawkeye – 92%
- WandaVision – 91%
- Loki – 87%
- Moon Knight – 86%
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – 85%
- She-Hulk – 77%
- Echo – 72%
- Secret Invasion – 53%
However, if you also want to count the newly christened Netflix Defenders shows, which are now MCU canon as of yesterday, it seems, Echo is behind Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and The Defenders, while being ahead of Punisher and Iron Fist.
I will have a longer review of Echo later on, but I’d say this ranking is deserved. The series’ star Alaqua Cox is great, as is the focus on the main language of the series being sign language, for the most part. It’s also a worthwhile exploration of her Native cultural roots.
However, the new powers she’s been given are somewhat nonsensical and manifest in strange ways over the course of the series. By the end it feels like she’s just barely learning to use them, but this is a miniseries and it’s unclear if we’ll ever see this character again outside of a cameo role.
The actual meat of the story just doesn’t make much sense. Echo seeks petty revenge on Kingpin’s remaining forces, but spends most of her time being pursued or kidnapped herself. I entered the show expecting some sort of rise to power in the underworld and this is absolutely not even close to that.
Echo is eventually faced with the strange question of “should I try to kill the guy I already thought I killed once,” and the entire Kingpin drama plays out like a retread of her Hawkeye arc. Perhaps there is some world where Kingpin’s return might have been shocking, but he was used heavily in the marketing campaign, as was Daredevil, who has a cameo that doesn’t last more than a couple minutes.
It’s a disjointed series that doesn’t make a case for why it exists, and I am not surprised to see it rated on the low side of much better MCU offerings, however much the current MCU, including its Disney Plus push, may be struggling on the whole. Echo is not making the case for a turnaround any time soon.