REview: Helstrom (2020) | It’s Better Than You Think

The Terrible Two’s

I grew up reading comics so seeing the characters I was figuratively weaned on turn up on television and movies is a very gratifying experience.

That being said, if you see anything often enough – while the bloom doesn’t necessarily wear off – you do get more critical about it.

Which is my way of saying that the Marvel Comics that have been adapted to television have been uneven at best. For instance, I’ve liked the Netflix shows but the biggest problem was that they were often too many episodes in a season.

Marvel’s Daredevil was 13 episodes long! That’s a problem because when that happens you’re likely going to get some padding, which typically kills any narrative tension and drama that’s been built up to that point.

This is a problem shared with all the Marvel/Netflix shows to varying degrees and makes watching the shows at some point an activity approaching a chore that you complete because you care about the characters so much.

Helstrom shares this problem though it’s mitigated somewhat because they’re only ten episodes – which could have been told in eight – though the series manages to adapt The Son of Satan comic pretty well, which is pretty impressive because the comic itself is very odd.

The show? It comes off a bit like a mix of Supernatural and The Exorcist that for the most part works really well.

What Helstrom does – along with the other Marvel Television series – is have a particularly stellar cast, lead by Tom Austen and Sydney Lemmon though it would be criminal not to include the aptly named Elizabeth Marvel, June Carryl, Robert Wisdom and Alain Uy.

It’s also worth mentioning that the most interesting special effects (look for ‘the folding man’) are practical, though some of the CGI is a bit spotty (the flame effects range from mediocre to brilliant) though the series works pretty well overall because it’s takes one of the most bizarre characters in Marvel’s roster and reinterprets them in a way that grounds them while preserving what most comic readers liked about them in the first place.

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