Marvel Studios is leading their Marvel Spotlight series with Echo. That gamble seems like it can pay off, especially because Echo is TV-MA. It’s got plenty of violence, more than the average MCU product. So, for the kiddies out there, this one might be a skip. But at the heart of Echo is a bigger question about representation and how far that goes. It’s absolutely a win that Marvel went as far as they did to include and represent the Choctaw Nation and Indigenous peoples faithfully. However, it’s also a bit concerning that the show feels like they cut off an episode off, and made the first episode basically a recap of Hawkeye.

I get it; people don’t watch every MCU project under the sun. There needs to be some sort of recap so we know where we are. Comic books do it all the time. However, there comes a point when the recap doesn’t really move the actual show along, and instead just stalls it out. That’s really what the problem is at the center of Echo. The storyline feels like it’s a means to an end, instead of something that is moving the plot of Maya Lopez along. This is still her and her family’s story, but it’s wrapped up in Kingpin drama that overtakes the proceedings.

The story of Echo follows Maya Lopez (played by Alaqua Cox) as she is pursued by Wilson Fisk’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) criminal empire. When the journey brings her home, she must confront her own family and legacy. It also features Chaske Spencer, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal, Devery Jacobs, Zahn McClarnon, and Cody Lightning. The series is directed by Sydney Freeland and Catriona McKenzie.

Some Of The Best Action In Marvel TV

(Right): Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios’ Echo, releasing on Hulu and Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2023. All Rights Reserved.

That being said, the action here is hard-hitting. The grounded, street-level realism is something we haven’t seen in the MCU in quite a long time. There are no super soldiers, no multiversal entities, just some good people kicking the ever-living crap out of bad people in a roller rink. Those fight scenes, especially the one already shown off in marketing material with Daredevil, are a sight to be seen. Bodies fly around; people are moving like it’s a ballet of violence. Echo has plenty of strengths, but a feeling of actual realism is near the top of the list.

The representation on display here is also stunning. Marvel went to painstaking lengths to ensure that the Choctaw People and their culture would be well-represented. And for the folks out there who’ll say “well who cares about that, I want a good show.” The show is good, and it’s shining a light on marginalized and under-represented folks.

Through it all, Echo is a series that should be a welcome addition to the Marvel catalog. It’s a smaller-scale story that people have been clamoring for. While it does have some issues with storyline pacing and a bit too much recap, it’ll still satisfy action fanatics looking for a more mature-feeling Marvel TV show.

Echo releases all in one drop on Disney+ on January 10th, 2024.

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