Let’s be honest: the MCU is in a tough place. Even excellent entries like Loki season two and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 have failed to make people forget about the abysmal Secret Invasion and imperfect movies Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels. Also, did you know that What If…? season two happened?
Marvel will be largely laying low for 2024, with Deadpool 3 the only movie on the film release calendar. But the tv shows will still happen, starting with Echo, the first to be released under the MA-Rated Marvel Spotlight heading.
Based on a character created by David Mack and Joe Quesada, Echo spins out of the Hawkeye television series. In that series, we meet the deaf martial arts expert Maya Lopez, played by Alaqua Cox. In Hawkeye, Echo blames Clint Barton for the death of her father William (Zahn McClarnon), a lie told by her adoptive uncle, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). Upon learning about the Fisk lies, Maya shoots him and goes on the run, which is where Echo picks up.
Promotion for Echo has leaned into the show’s ties to the Daredevil series that ran on Netflix. Not only does Echo bring back D’Onofrio as the Kingpin of Crime Wilson Fisk and Charlie Cox as Daredevil, but the show promises a level of violence missing from the mainline MCU entries.
Is that enough to get eyeballs back on Disney+ MCU shows? If the first critic reactions are any indication, the show might find an audience that the rest of the franchise has lost.
Unsurprisingly, most of the reactions emphasize the quality of the action of the series, comparing it favorably to the Netflix franchise. These viewers see Echo as the next step in the Netflix universe, while bringing a needed level of visceral action to the MCU. In particular, these reactions praise D’Onofrio’s return as Kingpin and the fight scene involving Daredevil.
At the same time, others praise the maturity of Echo beyond the bloody knuckles. Echo follows Maya’s return to her Oklahoma home town, where she struggles to fit back into her community. Most notably, Maya deals with her strained relationship to her cousin Bonnie (Devery Jacobs), who resents the lifestyle she and her father have chosen.
However, some critics did point out the slow start to the series, which some might find off-putting. For those expecting wall-to-wall action, these dramatic moments might strike some viewers as boring. That’s especially true of the first episode, which delves into Maya’s life before Hawkeye and covers some of the same ground as the finale of that series.
Despite these occasional concerns, all critics agree that Cox does an outstanding job portraying ever facet of Maya, from the vulnerable to the violent.
Will general viewers agree with these critics? Or are they watching a different show than everyone else? You can decide for yourself when all five episodes drop on Disney+ at 9pm EST on January 9.
All five episodes of Echo will be available on Dinsey+ at 6pm PST/9pm EST on January 9.