This series will make history for the MCU in numerous ways. For example, it will debut simultaneously on Disney+ and Hulu, be the first MCU Disney+ series with a TV-MA rating, and utilize a binge-style release strategy with all five episodes dropping the same day.
Critics' First Reactions to Marvel Studios' Echo
Critics saw the first two episodes of Marvel Studios' Echo at a preview screening in the United Kingdom and revealed their thoughts about what they saw on X (formerly Twitter).
Total Film's Emily Murray highlighted "an incredible (and violent) fight scene" from the first two episodes that enthralled her while also praising Alaqua Cox's performance, but she also critiqued the "storytelling and pacing:"
"Enjoyed the first two episodes of 'ECHO' which had an incredible (and violent) fight scene I want to watch again and again. The sound design is *fire emoji* The brilliant Alaqua Cox continually draws me in, but I found the storytelling and pacing shaky. Excited to see the rest!"
No Majesty's Paul Klein described this series as "the gritty tonic" to those looking for "something more grounded" from the MCU, praising its "great sense of Native American culture" along with the action shown:
"If the world ending stakes of the MCU have you longing for something more grounded 'Echo' is the gritty tonic. Two episodes seen and it’s a hard hitting action thriller with a great sense of Native American culture. Cant wait to see the final three when they drop in Jan."
The Digital Fix's Tom Percival gave Daredevil fans a message to look forward to and Marvel credit for being "violent and dark," although he wasn't 100% on board with "all the creative decisions:"
"Saw the first two episodes of 'Echo' tonight and have a lot of thoughts. I think fans of Netflix’s 'Daredevil' are going to love it. It’s like Marvel remembered it can be violent and dark. Alaqua Cox is amazing! Although I don’t love all the creative decisions though"
Podcaster Tyrell Charles described the series as "a grounded, character driven story" that teases more coming in future episodes, and he was intrigued by Maya Lopez's heritage while noting that the "action scenes...are indeed brutal:"
"I've seen 3 eps of 'Echo' | A grounded, character driven story with hints of bigger things to come. The strong focus on Maya's indigenous heritage & personal history intrigues me; and while some quiet moments slow the pacing; when the action scenes come, they are indeed brutal."
Charles continued to note that this show "is a Maya Lopez origin story" from start to finish, telling fans that the "street level story is quite refreshing" following so many Multiversal antics:
"This is a Maya Lopez origin story through and through. Honestly after all the huge, confusing, CGI multiverse stuff lately, a more gritty, street level story is quite refreshing to me and I'm sure I won't be alone in that thought"
Will Echo Be Marvel Studios' Next Success?
Echo certainly has plenty of advantages working in its favor as fans see a level of violence and rawness they haven't seen from Marvel Studios before.
Additionally, with Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin and Charlie Cox's Daredevil serving as important supporting characters, Echo will use them as a buffer for fans who aren't necessarily familiar with Alaqua Cox's new heroine.
This will also be the first MCU series to operate under the newly-announced "Spotlight" banner, giving viewers a series that doesn't necessarily tie in heavily to the other-worldly and Multiversal shenanigans elsewhere in the franchise.
Featuring a widely diverse cast of actors and characters while highlighting a down-to-earth narrative for Maya Lopez, Echo will separate itself from some of the MCU's more highly criticized entries from the past few years.
Echo debuts on Disney+ and Hulu on January 10, 2024.