ECHO. The Shadow of the Former Fisk, Marvel’s Average [REVIEW]

Echo suffers primarily from not allowing me to establish a connection with the characters, to engage in the story.

Lukasz Budnik

14 January 2024

The latest MCU series, Echo, on paper promised something new and fresh. After several production issues, we finally got the highly anticipated material as part of Marvel Spotlight, a new branch of production that won’t require an in-depth knowledge of the multiverse, focusing more on grounded stories centered around characters and their struggles. However, I received a somewhat incomplete product because while the first aspect seems to be realized, the focus and deeper exploration of Maya’s psyche and other characters are lacking. Unfortunately, the creators also demonstrated a lack of tonal consistency when incorporating superhero elements. It is watchable at times, but without much interest or engagement.

The series begins where Hawkeye ends, with retrospectives from the main character’s past. We learn more about how she lost her leg, her mother, father, and her relationship with Kingpin. Later, with Maya, we travel to the province, to her family’s roots. The introduction and exposition foreshadow what many viewers expected – a break from the burden of the multiverse, cosmic stakes, and powerful heroes. We return to the streets, to the gangster world glimpsed in the Hawkeye series. In Echo, the initial emphasis is on aspects different from what we are accustomed to – a family history, a cultural thread of the Choctaw tribe, the theme of revenge, the search for identity, and the unconventional, toxic father-daughter relationship between Kingpin and Maya.

However, just when it seems to be going well, the series starts taking narrative shortcuts, adding concise or even unnecessary subplots, losing its rhythm. Worse still, there isn’t a compelling, engaging story. The only intriguing elements revolve around Wilson Fisk and his ability to mess with the main character’s mind. Yet, there is no doubt about the direction this story will take, making the rushed finale lack any surprises. Additionally, Kingpin himself is a pale shadow of the character from Netflix’s Daredevil. The scenes in Daredevil, where we delved into the psyche of the chilling New York gangster, relied on slow intensity, discreet, intimate shots, in stark contrast to his uncontrolled bursts of aggression and animalistic fury. Echo lacks all of that, showcasing Marvel’s struggle to write complex characters, even when they are handed to them on a silver platter.

Surprisingly, I found myself quite irritated by the main character, Maya. At times, it seemed like there was a lack of consistency and a plan for her development. Alaqua Cox played her role as a deaf-mute person well in Hawkeye. There was a strength, power, and drama that I didn’t feel here, despite the expansion of her storyline. Maya doesn’t fully carry the weight of being in the spotlight, and the predictable script doesn’t help. Personally, her facial expressions sometimes bothered me, seeming more fitting for a capricious child than a full-fledged avenger. However, the actress defended herself well in fight scenes and when not playing the tough girl everyone listens to, despite not knowing her and not having seen her for 20 years. There’s a lack of logic, consistency, and psychological depth.

Echo suffers primarily from not allowing me to establish a connection with the characters, to engage in the story. It lacks any element of surprise, intriguing formal solutions, and there isn’t a single scene that will stay with me. I only remember a few fight sequences, like the one in the roller rink, Biscuit’s hilarious antics (a comical relief character, unfortunately poorly treated by the plot), or Maya on a motorcycle. If you want to build a different kind of story, deliver new quality, and do something serious, you have to use different means. That wasn’t done here. Even in the praised moments of Kingpin’s conversations with Maya, I felt that we didn’t touch the core of the dialogue, the real substance. We circled around the essence without reaching it. What remains is a sense of disappointment.

Watching Echo is just that – casual, unconscious, on autopilot. The series has some good elements that provide enjoyment – Biscuit’s cousin takes over the comedic aspect, grandparents are charming, and Kingpin in a few retrospective scenes is good, but later remains a shadow of the character I knew from the Netflix series. Unfortunately, the plot with the unnecessary, lazy fantasy motif seems as if it were generated by AI. Overall, I’m disappointed, especially considering that it was promoted as the first serious, brutal MCU production. Frankly, I don’t see it because tonally, I don’t see a difference; the intensity of the blows is maintained in the Marvel average. There’s just a bit more blood here. Also, the number of comic book figures is similar, and the obligatory, weak fantasy plot, even if closed with a fairly skillful, deeper twist about generational heritage, remains. Nothing new, Mr. Feige. Well, except that we’re not being attacked by aliens, and we don’t have to worry about the fate of the universe and its parallels.

Łukasz Budnik

Lukasz Budnik

He loves both silent cinema and contemporary blockbusters based on comic books. He looks forward to watching movie with his growing son.

See other posts from this author >>>