REVIEW: Echo (2024)

I imagine I’m starting to sound like a broken record when talking about whatever the newest Marvel series is, but they all have the same problems. Echo is the latest example of Marvel’s disinterest in its own product, simultaneously rushed and slow, edited to incomprehensibility, lacking even rudimentary character work, and presented to an audience Marvel continues to hope is hungry enough for entertainment that it will gobble up anything it’s thrown. That the audience is increasingly deciding to eat elsewhere is the only thing that makes it worthwhile.

After shooting the Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) at the end of Hawkeye, Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) leaves New York for her hometown of  Tamaha, Oklahoma, to seek her uncle’s help in attacking the Kingpin’s local operations and, ultimately, to take his place as the overlord of organized crime. But her family, who haven’t seen her in decades, want her to stay… maybe. The narrative is very confusing and undercooked, but this is pretty much the gist of it.

Echo is an absolute mess, not knowing what it wants to say about anyone or anything in its mercifully brief five episodes (though it doesn’t feel brief while you’re watching it). The premiere is about half flashbacks from Hawkeye to explain who Maya is and what she’s been up to, but it still doesn’t make much sense that she’d come back to Oklahoma. After shooting Fisk, she wants to take over his empire, and she does that by attacking his business in another state? How would this put her at the top of his world? If he’s got interests all the way in Oklahoma, he’s probably got them everywhere; is she starting back home and working her way around the country? Sure, she has family in Oklahoma who can help her, but to what end? Compared to Fisk’s bigger interests, the Oklahoma trucking depot seems like little more than a write-off. And that’s not accounting for how she hopes to win over Fisk’s henchmen after shooting him.

It doesn’t help that Echo was clearly edited into oblivion. The show was originally supposed to run for eight episodes but was cut to five when Kevin Feige saw how awful it was. But they didn’t simply cut three episodes; they had to have removed content from all eight and truncated what was left into five. The result is a disaster with no flow that’s missing important story beats. Maya shows up in Oklahoma and reunites with people we’re supposed to recognize from her childhood but were never introduced, so the reunions make no sense. She runs into her grandmother’s former boyfriend (played by Graham Greene, a good actor who’s reduced to a quirky old man trope), and the two talk as if this isn’t the first time they’ve seen each other in twenty years – probably because their real first meeting was cut. Maya is captured in one scene, but we don’t know how or why because the episode jumps from her having a vision in a forest to being tied up and suspended from a ceiling. I didn’t think editing could get much worse than it was in Quantumania or The Marvels, but here we are.


That more or less holds for the fight scenes. The one with Daredevil (which, to spare you some disappointment, is his only appearance on the show) that was leaked last week looks a little better in context, but there are still some of the same choreography issues, with hits that visibly aren’t connecting. The same holds for the other fights, which are boring and dumbed down to allow the writers and producers to avoid the chore of thinking up exciting action scenarios. One takes place in an arcade/skating rink, and Maya picks up some Skee-Balls to throw at a group of attackers; the bad guys dutifully stand still and wait for Maya to hit them one by one instead of moving around the room to avoid the balls as if they’re actual people. Gangsters who want to kill Maya stand around and waste time instead of going to the room where she’s being held and shooting her. Maya’s infiltration of a train involves no action, just a lot of jumping around against what is obviously a CGI background. (I’m starting to think we’ll never see an actual train on film again.) And the final fight is a doozy of anticlimactic nonsense. There was also no reason to rate this show TV-MA; I get the impression this was a request from Marvel rather than a legitimate assessment of the violence.

The cultural aspect of Echo that received much ballyhoo from Marvel is just strange, mostly forced into the background until Marvel decides to use it to explain Maya’s powers, to the small extent they actually do explain them. According to Echo, the Choctaw Tribe is descended from magical beings who lived in a cave, and sometimes they give their female heirs superpowers, but sometimes they don’t. These are called “echoes” of the past, and the word “echo” is stressed to Maya over and over (in one scene!) so you understand where the name comes from. That’s the extent of it. This is what Marvel is patting itself on the back for, its stunning example of respect and representation, and you’re the bad guy if you don’t like it. This also messes with the tone; Echo can’t decide if it wants to be silly and fantastical or a gritty (well, what Disney thinks is gritty) crime thriller. The mysticism and the gangsters don’t mesh, nor do the instances of wince-inducing comedy with the sometimes-serious tone. Instead of trying to replicate the feel of the Marvel Netflix series, Echo tries to marry it with that of their Disney+ shows, and it doesn’t work.


These many problems are even more glaring because Echo isn’t interested in making you care about the characters. Maya is stiff and lifeless, and I’m sorry, but part of that is because Alaqua Cox is terrible in the part. She gives Maya no emotion or depth, instead just standing there like a kid suffering through a school recital; I’ve seen shower curtains with more facial expressions. Some of the other actors aren’t bad – aside from Graham Greene, there’s Chaske Spencer as Maya’s mobbed-up uncle and Tantoo Cardinal as her grandmother – but they don’t get much chance to shine because the writing gives them little to do besides support Maya. The stand-out is, of course, Vincent D’Onofrio, who steals the show every time he shows up despite having to carry the entire production on his shoulders. Kingpin isn’t written particularly well in Echo; aside from his mostly flat dialogue (outside of one exchange that I quite liked), he acts out of character, doing crazy things for no reason. I suspect the writers watched Daredevil (okay, that’s a stretch, but I’ll be nice), saw Fisk’s actions, and deduced not that he was a complex but intelligent villain who uses extreme violence only when it suits his ends but that he was crazy and killed for no reason. D’Oofrio does all he can to make it work, and he succeeds more than the other actors, but ultimately, this is far from the Kingpin at his best.

And Echo, likewise, is far from Marvel at its best, though I think it’s safe to say we’ll never see its best again. This is a silly, sloppy, boring show with a bad lead, an all but abandoned supporting cast, horrible editing, listless action, and a strange integration of Native American culture (which, I suspect, is inauthentic at best). Fortunately, Echo should have little bearing on the rest of the MCU, inasmuch as any of that will be any more worth watching than this is.

Echo (2024)

Plot - 2
Acting - 5
Progression - 4
Production Design - 5
Action - 5



Echo is another Marvel dud, boring and poorly edited, with a dull lead character and inconsistent tone.

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