Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Cape Reviewed!

The Cape Review
- John

So.... The Cape. The show I've been waiting for after seeing the initial previews, what, a month ago? The show I've heard faux news reports about on the radio while I'm driving to work. The show I've been completely amped up to see ever since the first inkling of its existence was made known to me.

And it's fucking dreck.

I thought Heroes was an awful attempt to bring the idea of the 'superhero' to a mainstream, mass-consuming audience. And it was, honestly. But The Cape... The Cape reminds me of the guy you knew back in school who really liked technical guitar players. He bought music magazines, went to all his favorite guitarists' shows, and knew all the hammer-on, pull-offs, double stops and finger picking. Then he finally got the courage to buy a guitar and learn it himself to show his friends what he was talking about.

And he was fucking dreck.

The Cape suffers not only from a poor budget (which I can't fault NBC for, you really need money to pull of a believable superhero concept), but the writing and acting is just so stagnant and by-the-numbers, it really is impossible to immerse yourself in the story. And on paper, it really is a sad story. Guy's a cop, gets framed for murder, has to stay "dead" to protect his family, and through his new-found association with some less than sordid characters, he becomes a superhero. Sound familiar? Hey "Darkman", how's it going?

The show has its strength's. Summer Glau as "Orwell", the show's Oracle-type character who feeds the Cape intel and stays behind the curtain. Keith David plays every Keith David character he's ever played (which is totally not a bad thing) wrapped up as Max, a circus ringleader who teaches The Cape the ways of... er, the cape.

David Lyons plays Vince Faraday, the framed cop who now dons THE CAPE to become THE CAPE, and he's really not very good. He's your typical everyman, who makes mistakes all too often, but it's okay because he's noble and righteous and pious and will kiss a baby on the cheek if asked. Too cookie cutter, too rigid.

The villain of the show is James Frain, who plays Peter Fleming, the business mogul who controls a privatized police force that's going to control the city. Hi "Kingpin", how are you? The funny thing about Fleming is that his villanous alter-ego is "Chess", who's meant to be a criminal mastermind. But too often "Chess" resorts to his one move of threatening the families of his underlings in order to get his way. In one scene, he's angered by a subordinate, and in order to put him back in line.... wait for it....

Pulls out a framed photo of the man's family.

A framed picture?!? You had to frame it? Is that your "checkmate" move? Did you just "castle"?

The CGI isn't overly used and is sparse enough to look cool when it's used, but there's nothing redeemable about the show. I feel bad, because this could've been something more than just "Hey, he fights crime! Here's his weapon, here's his team, here's his lair! Now.... story!" And it really does make the general audience who doesn't regularly read comics think that this is what we read. This is more the framwork of a potentially good comic, decompressed and ruined by hackneyed writing and poor TV talent.

The Cape makes me yearn for the days of The Tick... that there's some real writing.

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