With Citadel, the new – hugely expensive – TV show by Prime Video created and produced by Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of the nearly five-billion-dollar grossing champions Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the on-demand streaming platform aims for a global narrative that offers the cue for a dramatic break with the serial offerings of the recent past.
In recent years, in fact, Prime Video itself had given way to a kind of revival of 1990s Hollywood action, with the figure of the lone ‘one-man-army’ hero at the center of several TV series such as Jack Ryan (the review of Jack Ryan è a un click di distanza), Reacher or The Terminal List: Citadel, on the other hand, does the exact opposite; it wants to not only realign the concept of action for the small screen but even go as far as the creation of a new shared narrative universe involving the undergrowth of the international spy world.
The premise behind the franchise is. Citadel, an autonomous secret organization independent of governments around the world and devoted exclusively to the preservation of justice, with agents operating in a great many countries that will offer Prime Video to kick off national spin-off productions, all developed by the Russos (e.g., for Italy, the TV series of Citadel Italy starring Matilda De Angelis).).
Not exactly a cheap project, and one that made Citadel the second most expensive TV show ever, behind only The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (also from Prime Video): the result, thankfully, is all there to be seen.
The Russo’ James Bond that looks like John Wick
Of course originality is not the first thing that strikes one about Citadel, of which we were able to preview the first two episodes (of six total), but it’s all well and good to put originality aside if one then works on the staging of the action in this way.
The points of references are. clearly the atmospheres of James Bond, with its adventures around the world, imaginative gadgets, and clash with an evil organization that here is called the Manticora but which underneath is nothing more than a variation on the theme of the SPECTRE, but at the same time the tone from great action comic along the lines of Mark Millar’s works is palpable right from the way the characters present themselves, to each other and to the viewer.
Even the cue to start the story and bring the audience inside this world seems to come out of comic books (our point of view coincides with that of Richard Madden’s character, whose memories have been erased and who therefore finds himself having to rediscover Citadel and his mission along with the audience as the adventure progresses) and offers not a few ironic (and romantic) insights perfect for not slowing down the narrative.
Without a doubt, however, the element that stands out most in Citadel is the rendering of the action sequences.
A few weeks ago we feasted our eyes on the Chad Stahelski’s John Wick 4, and though with due distinctions, the Russo brothers’ show seems like the legitimate offspring of the saga with Keanu Reeves given in foster care to the small screen: there is not only a lot of beating but, above all, credible beating, As rarely seen on television, and Priyanka Chopra – who knows her way around spies, coming from Quantico – bites the most.
Prime Video evidently has a lot of belief in Citadel (apart from the aforementioned spin-offs, the main series has already been renewed for a season 2 before the season 1 episodes aired), and from what we have seen, the potential to make a splash is there.