Summary

  • Echo stands on its own, offering a positive representation of the MCU’s first Native American and Deaf superhero, but receives polarizing reactions from critics and audiences.
  • Some critics appreciate Echo’s ties to the Daredevil-led universe and the influence it has on the show, while others find it derivative and lacking ambition.
  • Echo focuses heavily on Maya Lopez’s backstory, which some critics feel was already explored in Hawkeye, while others appreciate the added emotional depth in her own series.

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Echo marks a new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also dividing critics and audiences over its five-episode debut season. The Disney+ series starring Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, a.k.a. Echo, is the first project under the Marvel Studios’ new banner, Marvel Spotlight. The show picks up from the Hawkeye finale while delving deeper into Echo’s roots and backstory. As she’s being pursued by the empire of Wilson Fisk (Kingpin), Lopez visits her hometown in Oklahoma to reconnect with her roots and estranged family. However, the show is a hit for some and a miss for others.

Even though Echo has Easter Eggs and references to previous MCU media and the Daredevil-led universe of Netflix Marvel shows, the show stands on its own, especially with its positive representation of the MCU’s first Native American and Deaf superhero. At the same time, some critics’ reactions are particularly harsh, despite the show’s reasonable Rotten Tomatoesscore of 72%. Offering enough to polarize both critics and audiences, Echo is an amusing experiment for the superhero franchise.

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10 Comparisons With Daredevil Are Expected

“Ultimately, Echo is chasing the past. It’s chasing Daredevil‘s ability to use action sequences and bodies to tell stories.” – Kate Sánchez, But Why Tho

Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock aka Daredevil in She-Hulk character poster with Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Echo promo image

Echo offers an original story for its titular character while featuring supporting characters like Kingpin and Daredevil. Some critics who enjoyed the series still point out the influence that the original Daredevil had on Echo. Such reviews point to the show being too derivative of Daredevil and its successors like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. On the other side of the debate, some audiences are glad that Echo walks in the footsteps of Daredevil while also ushering in a new era for the MCU. Positive online reactions, like one from @motelsiren, suggest that Echo‘s change in tone means good news for future projects like Daredevil: Born Again.

9 The Stakes Are Lower Than Other MCU Shows

“Even with a fair amount of action, the stakes feel small.” – Brian Lowery, CNN

Maya Lopez sits with her elbows up in Echo

With the action being street-level and Echo not solving a multiversal crisis, unlike other Marvel heroes at the moment, her first solo outing is a breath of fresh air. As stated in Screen Rant’s review of Echo, “the show can focus instead on telling its own standalone story”. X user X3 Apologist similarly adds that Echo might not be an anchor in the MCU with low stakes but it makes for a heartwarming story regardless. Some, on the other hand, weren’t amused with Echo’s lack of Herculean challenges. Echo confronting her past and her new powers can make for a story not as ambitious as it sets out to be.

8 Hawkeye Already Delved Into Maya Lopez’s Origin

“Far too much of the compelling background and character development of Alaqua Cox’s assassin played out in Hawkeye instead of her own series.” – Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files

Hawkeye introduced Maya Lopez as a member of the Tracksuit Mafia and Kingpin’s accomplice with a heartbreaking flashback also delving into her father’s death. With Hawkeye already establishing so much context, some critics feel that Echo shouldn’t have focused so much on the protagonist’s backstory. After all, most of the pilot episode includes flashbacks that tie in with Hawkeye. Conversely, Echo offers more emotional subtext to the character, unlike the character’s appearance in Hawkeye. Sam Stone for CBR sums it up when he says that Cox was relegated to just action and menacing scowls in Hawkeye, while Echo allows her to channel her dramatic prowess.

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7 Kingpin As A Bone Of Contention

“[Echo] makes us want to see more of Maya as a character – despite the show’s occasional odd pacing and the looming shadow of Kingpin weighing down the early narrative.” – Bradley Russell, Total Film

Vincent D'Onofrio As Kingpin And Alaqua Cox As Maya Lopez Sitting At A Table In Echo Season 1 Episode 4

While Vincent D’Onofrio’s return as Kingpin in Hawkeye was subjected to some ridicule, the actor redeems himself as the intimidating and emotionally manipulative villain in Echo. Critics and audiences are showering praises on Kingpin’s menacing return to form with some Twitterati even referring to him as “Thanos of street crime”. At the same time, Echo is getting some unfair criticism on social media just because it didn’t offer much footage of Kingpin (or even his arch-nemesis Daredevil). Such views unjustly stray away from the fact that Echo is, first and foremost, a show about Maya Lopez and her journey to self-discovery.

6 The Marvel Spotlight Banner Has To Combat Marvel Fatigue

“It’s made with more care than any Marvel project of late, but at this point in the ongoing saga, that alone is not enough to get me back on board. – Alistair Ryder, Looper

Edited image of Alaqua Cox in Echo in front of blurred Marvel comics panels

As the first project to kickstart Marvel Spotlight, Echo carries a lot of potential for Marvel’s future in more grounded, character-driven narratives. While it offers a break from the MCU’s interconnected timelines, the overwhelming “Marvel Fatigue” has still affected the viewpoints of critics. Most of the positive reviews highlight Echo as a break from the convoluted mythology of recent MCU efforts. But even with a new banner, the MCU brand still looms large. For every positive review, there are also remnants of fatigue (Looper branding it “the latest victim of superhero fatigue“).

5 Pacing Can Be A Big Issue

“If you can get through this choppily edited crash course in Maya Lopez, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of the more original storyline that follows.” – Belen Edwards, Mashable

Largely recapping previously seen events and laying narrative groundwork, Echo gets off to a bit of a slow start. This isn’t inherently negative, but a common sentiment from critics is that the show takes a bit too long to get rolling, given its overall short run time. As the story moves back and forth to cover Maya Lopez’s childhood and even the origins of her ancestors, the central narrative of Echo can be underplayed by uneven pacing and disjointed editing.

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4 The Brutal Action Is Praiseworthy But Doesn’t Always Has Substance

“Echo is ultimately a series about how the legacy of violence corrodes the soul, but it never knows how to heal or enrich it either, content to just land another bloody blow to the head instead.” – Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

Alaqua Cox As Maya Lopez Kicks A Bad Guy With Her Prosthetic Leg In Echo Season 1 Episode 3

Breaking away from other MCU shows with a TV-MA rating, Echo amps up the bloodshed and brutality in the adrenaline-fueled action sequences. A stunt choreography highlight that is particularly drawing immense acclaim is Echo’s much-talked-about duel with Daredevil. The bone-crunching violence is exciting initially, but it might get tiresome after a point, with Echo time and again clashing with Kingpin’s goons. The single-take fight with Daredevil is also to blame, as it simply overshadows all other hand-to-hand combat in the show.

3 The Blend Of Realistic And Supernatural Tones Can Get Complicated

“It’s almost as though the show doesn’t quite know what it wants to be – gritty and realistic or supernatural?” – Vicky Jessop, The Standard

Echo Heals Fisk in Final Episode of Echo

With its action unfurling on the streets, Echo’s acclaim is rooted in how disconnected from fantasy and sci-fi elements of the MCU. But still, in drawing upon Choctaw Nation culture and mythology, each episode’s introductory sequences offer some interesting supernatural elements as well, shedding light on Maya’s ancestors and the origins of her newfound powers. This multi-tonality has received some positive reactions, with Paste Magazine’s Anna Govert calling these sequences “both ambitious and strikingly different” from previous MCU series. However, these new powers and callbacks to Maya’s ancestry have also confused others, with critics finding that such multiple themes take the focus away from the crime drama elements of Echo.

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2 The Episode Count Is Small But Enough For No Fillers

“It’s hard to shake the impression, though, that Echo holds too much back for rushed final two episodes.” — Bradley Russell, Total Film

Some disgruntled viewers argue that Echo five-episode count isn’t enough to flesh out Echo’s introspective moments while also accommodating the high-octane action, a complaint being echoed even among many who enjoyed the show. However, given the opposite has also been true for a few MCU shows that perhaps go on a bit too long, erring on the side of brevity may be smart. That isn’t to say that Echo‘s pacing is perfect, as it’s clearly a bit rushed for some.

1 Maya Lopez Is A Compelling Character But Doesn’t Open Up Much

“Maya is a character that is cold and closed off, completely disconnected from those around her, and unfortunately, that leaves her cold to the audience as well.” – Bradley Russell, Paste Magazine

Alaqua Cox As Maya Lopez Sitting One The Back Of A Train Car In Echo Season 1 Episode 2

Despite its polarizing reviews, Echo‘s lead actor Alaqua Cox is being near-unanimously praised for her performance. However, as for the characterization of Echo, the antihero’s moral intentions to take over Kingpin’s empire seem to have puzzled critics. Even after offering much backstory, Echo teases audiences by leaving a lot more to scratch beneath the surface. Lopez may prefer isolation to a degree, but her demeanor means she isn’t always the most compelling as a narrative lead. If she does show up again post-Echo, perhaps she can continue to open up even more.

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