Citadel: An Underwhelming Start to a Highly Anticipated Spy Saga

The storytelling ambition of Russo Brothers has been seen fading with their each passing project and Citadel was no different with its underwhelming start. 

With the Russo Brothers being associated with something so big and anticipated, there were a lot of expectations from the recently released “Citadel”. Fans expected it to be a genre defining thing and unlike other regular spy sagas that we get to see nowadays. But unfortunately, the first two episodes didn’t seem to match the expected standards. 

The story starts with introducing the primary pair, Mason Kane (played by Richard Madden) and Nadia Sinh (played by Priyanka Chopra Jonas) in a train where they kinda encounter something unexpected amidst their mission. The action was amazing but what I was desperately looking for was some triple IQ spy thrill but the two first episode didn’t serve much of that. I really enjoyed seeing the actors go intense with their fighting scenes but I wish I could say something similar for the dialogues and story telling. The first two episodes set up a background for the story and it looks like a typical good guys vs the bad guys kinda story. Two extremely black and white rival groups are fighting each other for power but not much stress and time has been given to support their motivation and what drives them and I think that’s where the show lacked when it came to connecting with the audience. Watching two spy colleagues meeting after years and then taking up a mission of stopping a catastrophe from happening, layered with thrill and action can be a good watch but it’s very basic and has been done a number of times in the past. Loosing your memories and that’s where the show starts and such plots have already been done in spy movies, a number of times.

Speaking of the cast, both Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas did good at playing their parts but for some reason, you would not feel connected to the character. The real deal here was with Stanley Tucci who stole the first two episodes for me as he played the part of a tech mastermind Bernard Orlick. Dude added personality and wit to the most bland dialogues and at some point of time, I was just resuming the show to see more of him. There was more depth and dimension to his character than the primary pair. But even Tucci couldn’t saved some of the scenes to be extremely basic, like there is a scene where he is being a coach to Mason and helping him steal something from a Manticore facility over an ear piece. While watching the scene, I was looking forward to something intelligent, thrilling and action-packed but I had my “Wait What? That’s it” face on when it ended. 

The makers of the show have high hopes for it as they prepare for more of it to come. But the show and the story of it lacks the elements that can help it become a global franchise in the years to come. But is it too early to judge the show when there’s more to come? We can still hope to see the character development and chemistry between the characters. While the start of the series has been an underwhelming experimence, we can hope to see more depth in the upcoming episodes. But for now, Citadel kinda fails to do something genre defining.

Also Read: Love, Loss and Acceptance: Themes explored in Suzume no Tojimari 

You can watch the first two episodes on Amazon Prime

Citadel – Trailer

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