The Russo Brother’s “Citadel” Is a Spy Series that Goes Boom
With all of the action-packed scenes in Citadel, why did the first three episodes bore me to tears? Three words, lack of chemistry, for a…
With all of the action-packed scenes in Citadel, why did the first three episodes bore me to tears? Three words, lack of chemistry, for a start. Citadel is an independent international spy agency. Episode one gives us international spy Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas, The White Tiger, Quantico) in a striking red dress on a high-speed train racing through Europe. She struts down the aisle with tinted sunglasses on, speaking to her handler Bernard (Stanley Tucci, The Devil Wears Prada) through a concealed earpiece.
The plot thickens as fellow Citadel agent Mason Kane (Richard Madden, Game of Thrones) shows up unexpectedly on the same mission. The action proceeds with fights and explosions, and the audience is thrust into a world of utter nonsense. Citadel has a big-budget action film feel, but the story is thin, and the two lead actors need more personality. Watching these two spar was like watching two actors running lines.
The fight sequences are good, and of course, every time Stanley Tucci appears on screen, he has something intriguing to offer, but the rest of this series isn’t worth watching. Yes, there’s a ton of action, but I’ve already seen every action sequence done better in the James Bond film franchise. Alias is hands down my favorite Spy TV series. You immediately are rooting for Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) to succeed. You’re also left at the edge of your seat because the spy stuff is so suspenseful your mind is activated trying to keep up. The chemistry between Sydney and Michael was the perfect accent to the narrative and made you want to tune in every week to see what would happen next. Citadel has none of those characteristics. We don’t see many spy gadgets in the first three episodes, just violence and plot points. There are attempts at intrigue, but it’s pretty easy to guess what will happen next.
Lesley Manville (Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris) plays the antagonist Dahlia Archer like a mustache-twirling one-dimensional British villain. I always love Manville’s work she’s an incredible actor, but this character is the standard cookie-cutter bad guy. As Mason Richard Madden is very bland and Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ Nadia speaks in a monotone consistently throughout the episodes. Did the directors mean for her to do this? Why did they make this choice? Kudos to Chopra Jonas and Madden for their stage combat skills. The fight and action scenes give this series life. Otherwise, this show is all KABANG with no substance to actually care about these characters or their attempts to save the world.
I give Citadel 2 out of 5 stars. Premieres Thursday, April 27, 2023 on Prime Video.
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