Monday, January 10, 2011

'The Cape' makes a super first impression

Anytime there's a new superhero show or movie, the nerds of the world are prepared for disappointment. When a show is as hyped up as "The Cape" they go into overdrive.

In the lead up to the series premiere last night, the Internet had gone into meltdown mode.

The show revolves around Vince Faraday (David Lyons), a cop who is framed as corrupt and presumed dead. To protect his family and clear his name, he adopts the persona of his son's favorite hero The Cape.

He is trained by carnival performers/bank robbers led by the charismatic Max Malini played by the perfectly cast Keith David.

The first hour of the premiere set up this part of the story and felt a little slow, until The Carnival of Crime showed up. The training sequence with the carnival performers was the most interesting part of Vince's transition and could have taken more time.

The main villain is Chess, who is also known as legitimate security contractor Peter Fleming. The always fantastic James Frain plays up Chess to the hilt, while Fleming seems like a bit of an afterthought. It also seems impossible that Fleming is seen as a real businessman, because he practically screams "look at me, I'm evil."

As a part of his quest Faraday is helped by the mysterious blogger Orwell, portrayed by sci-fi rock star Summer Glau. The only problem with this role is that no one will ever buy Glau as a damsel in distress now that she's kicked so much butt in "Firefly," "Serenity" and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles."

At one point when she was being attacked by an assassin I kept waiting for her to stand up and fight back, which would have improved her bland character. Glau is too good an actress for such a generic character. Hopefully this will be improved as the show progresses.

Ultimately the show's success rests on Lyons believability as The Cape, because no matter how great Michael Keaton and Christian Bale are as Bruce Wayne, it doesn't work if they can't be Batman. And that's the biggest issue with the first two hours of "The Cape." Lyons has Faraday down, but I'm still not sold on The Cape.

The writers also left his superpowers ambiguous, so they could presumably add to them as needed in specific episodes. However, it needs to be clear what he can do and where Vince Faraday ends and The Cape begins.

Fortunately, these are all things that can be fixed as the show grows. Producers should also consider getting rid of Faraday's wife. Her character's story felt like one story too many when they are also focused on Vince's journey, his work with Orwell, the Carnival, Chess and Tarot. With all that going on she's expendable and her death will add some drama to the show's campiness and free up Faraday for a pairing with Orwell.

Overall "The Cape" got off to a decent enough start to keep me interested for a couple more episodes, but it needs to give me a sign of where it's headed to keep my interest longer.

1 comment:

Timothy Guy said...

To the point: I liked it. Really liked it. Will be watching from now on.