Review by Camden Ferrell
As a comic book character, Echo was introduced to audiences in 1999, and she had her live-action debut in the 2021 Disney+ series Hawkeye. Echo, a new miniseries for Disney+ and Hulu, kicks off 2024 for the MCU. Featuring some solid storytelling and mostly entertaining TV-MA action, this spin-off series is enjoyable even if it's not completely captivating
After her last appearance, Maya Lopez finds herself returning to her hometown where she must face her past. She aims to reconnect with her Native American roots while also confronting the family she left behind. All of this happens while an even more sinister threat looms over her life. This is a spin-off that doesn’t initially feel needed on paper, but Maya is an interesting character that could be worth exploring if done properly.
Since Maya is deaf, the show relies more on visual storytelling than other MCU efforts. This is noticeable within its first episode, and the show manages to keep a tight pace and find creative ways to convey ideas and emotions. This limitation brings out the best in the series and helps it thrive when the script can be lacking. The story itself does a decent enough job balancing the different challenges Maya faces, but the beats are just too familiar and safe to grip viewers the way it was intended to.
The one thing that stands out the most in this show is Alaqua Cox’s leading role as Maya. She is engaging to watch in moments of flashy action and subtlety alike. Admittedly, she isn’t given the best material, but she makes the most of it. While most people will focus on some fan-favorite characters in this series, the rest of the supporting cast is entertaining as well. Specifically, Tantoo Cardinal and Chaske Spencer are enjoyable to watch in these episodes.
With its TV-MA rating, the show manages to slightly push its boundaries with violence. It’s not a bloodbath by any means, but it’s nice to see the MCU embrace more violent onscreen action. The stunts and fight choreography are also strong and ambitious. This ambition is its strength, but it’s also its main shortcoming. Certain fight scenes sacrifice realism and proper pacing for the sake of flashy camerawork, but it’s a tradeoff that’ll be acceptable depending on the viewer.
Echo will not blow viewers away. However, it is a decent enough story that might be the last bit of MCU content we get for a few months at least. Even with its flaws, Alaqua Cox is a solid lead, and there’s more working for this series than against it.
Echo is now on Disney+ and Hulu January 9. Three out of five episodes have been reviewed.