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“Citadel” Season One Review: Big Swing, Big Miss for the Russos

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Where to stream it? Prime Video (premieres April 28)

Starring: Richard Madden, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Stanley Tucci, Lesley Manville, Ashleigh Cummings, Roland Møller, Osy Ikhile, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Caoilinn Springall

Written by: David Weil, Bryan Oh, Josh Appelbaum

Directed by: Newton Thomas Sigel, Jessica Yu, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Intro: “Citadel” Season One Review

One of the most expensive shows in Prime Video history is coming in Citadel. The series, which comes from the Marvel directing duo of Anthony and Joe Russo, follows the story of a global spy agency named Citadel that has shut down. All of the agent's memories have been wiped. As new adversaries build, they must try to band together to fight back.

We meet Mason and Nadia Sinh, as they carry out a mission on a train. One thing leads to another, and they quickly realize they are there for the same reasons leading them to come together. Shortly after, we fast forward eight years, and the entire Citadel team is living their lives without a memory of the past. With a new threat to the world, Bernard Orlick recruits Mason to come back to help the team.

From here, we see Bernard and Mason work together to retrieve the software so that the memories of Mason and, in the future, Nadia can return to them to fight the villainous spy group, Manticore. Throughout this trek, Manticore does everything to stop the duo from exposing and getting back the things needed to bring all the Citadel agents back to life.

The cast is a delight.

Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jones are so much of a delight on the screen that it was sad that it was wasted on this underwhelming series. They both have larger-than-life on-screen presences that command your attention. So when you put them together, the screen is filled with strong acting. The duo also plays well off each other, making at least their part of this ride a blast.

The MVP should come as no shock to you in Stanley Tucci. He plays the man over the top of our two leads in Bernard Orlick. The script fits perfectly with his personality and charm, and Tucci knows how to be a joy to watch in each role he plays. Another thing, it looked like the cast genuinely had the time of their lives filming the show. Each of them elevates the series, and without them, it's yet another action spy show.

A story we've seen before.

One of the biggest things that stands out while watching this show is we've seen it before. Recently Netflix released The Diplomat, a political thriller we have seen a billion times, right? However, they altered a few things to bring a decent amount of twists and turns that make it stand out on its own. With Citadel, you have agents who lose their memory, find out how to get it back, and save the world. If you read that sentence, you've watched the show and know everything that happens.

Weird episode runtimes

The run time of these episodes are extremely odd. I don't mind thirty to thirty-five-minute episodes and prefer them mostly, but this type of show needed that forty-five to fifty-five minute run time per episode. You start to get settled into the episode, and boom, it's over, and with the series not debuting all at once in a binge-able format, it's an odd choice that I didn't get.

The soundtrack plus fight sequences rocked.

The two biggest things outside of our cast that stood out were the action sequences and the music. We were getting one hit after another throughout this series, and if I take anything away from the series, I want to own the vinyl of the soundtrack. Of course, the action would be great because The Russo brothers know how to make things happen when it comes to fighting choreography in their time with Marvel. I rather enjoyed both aspects of this show quite a bit.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, the most befuddling thing about Citadel is that it cost $300 million. Between Netflix, Apple, and now Amazon, the Russo's have wasted billions of dollars of streaming services money post-MCU and not a single great project to show for it. If only they would've put as much money into fine-tuning a decent script instead of whatever else the money went to, maybe we'd have a much better overall show.

I didn't hate the series, and I see the general audience enjoying this (more as a binge than a week-to-week watch), but it could be better. You have a strong cast, a great soundtrack, fun fight sequences, and lackluster storytelling. Another swing and another miss for the Russos.

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Ricky Valero
Ricky Valero
Ricky Valero is a movie/TV critic whose favorite movies are The Departed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Fast Five, and La La Land. Currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, while not watching movies, he is either enjoying the latest Stand-up Comedy special or another dating reality series. He is also a member of the Critic Choice Association, the Hollywood Critics Association, and the Music City Film Critics Association.
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