‘Citadel Review: Banter Cant Save This Heavyhanded Spy Series From The Russo Bros.

‘Citadel Review: Banter Cant Save This Heavyhanded Spy Series From The Russo Bros.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Nadia Sin in The Citadel. © Courtesy Prime Video/AMAZON STUDIOS/TNS Priyanka Chopra Jonas Nadia Sin at Ciudadella.

Amazon's espionage series Fortress stars Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas as spies who work for a shadowy organization loyal to neither man nor nation, only for "the safety of all."

Like The Avengers, I guess, without the superhero costumes.

In recent months, the stream has been filled with spy stories, and the quality speaks for itself. Rooks aren't invisible, but that's not a good argument in itself either. The creator of the show is David Whale (who created The Hunter for Amazon). The other top executive producers here are Anthony and Joseph Russo, the Russo Bros.

This also seems to be the philosophy behind Citadel, which appears to be a collection of recycled AI-generated ideas.

On a train crossing the Italian Alps, we met the aforementioned spies Mason and Nadia. There's interest in his target: "Our intelligence says he has highly enriched uranium on the case and plans to sell it to some bogus bidders," says technologist Bernard (Stanley Tucci) into the earpiece.

Tucci , the great Stanley Tucci , deserves a better discussion than this. But the opening scene deliberately plays up the spy trope. Almost Nadia opens the bag to find Bernard full of Bondian gadgets like cosmetics: “The compact can track targets a mile away. "What about the lipstick?" he replied with a shrug. "There is nothing more dangerous for old people than red lips."

Stanley Tucci, left, Bernard Orlick and Richard Madden as Mason Kane in The Citadel. © Courtesy Prime Video/AMAZON STUDIOS/TNS Stanley Tucci (left) as Bernard Orlick and Richard Madden as Mason Kane in The Citadel.

It's a scene that borders on parody, but the show doesn't seem to settle for anything. When the operation goes wrong, a mass shooting ensues. Then the train blew up and left. All are presumed dead.

As a result, Mason and Nadia survived. But memory is not.

The story returns eight years later. Both are the only Field Agents in the Citadel, now living their daily lives. Bernard tracks them down and "Surprise! You were a spy!", returns to fight an organization dedicated to "monitoring world events where the world's richest families have created their own spy network." It was fun playing a fun, confident character whose only purpose was to drive the plot. Leslie Manville played a guy who was the British ambassador to America, like the worst things , and basically took the role of a golfer and turned him into a chef. .

Richard Madden, left, Mason Kane and Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Nadia in The Citadel. © Courtesy Prime Video/AMAZON STUDIOS/TNS Richard Madden, left, Mason Cain and Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Nadia Sin in The Citadel.

Amazon is previewing the first half of the season to critics, so I can't say whether it will find its narrative arc by the end of the six-episode series. The violence in the show is brutal and I know for some viewers (not me) that's a plus. Both leads are competent enough, although Madden did a very interesting job in 2018's The Bodyguard, another disappointing role he's been given.

The citadel is formulaic and stuffy, nice , but it can still be boring. Part of that is on campus: "You wouldn't know it, but we helped shape every major event of the last hundred years forever," Bernard said of the Citadel's heyday. "We're good people," Mason said.

It is the story of someone knocking on the head and saying: "We are in charge, and if something needs to be saved, we are the only ones chosen, the elite, for that".

These superhero stories and cop shows are being propagated to our detriment, perpetuating the myth that we all, especially the organized groups of ordinary people in the field, are powerless and meaningless. My theory is that these stories are not coincidences. Why does Hollywood give us some bright ideas?

So we get "business oriented content". It's not a trip to immerse yourself in history, but it's incredibly delicate.

———

"fortress"

2 stars (out of 4)

Rating: TV-14

How to watch: Friday in the main video

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© 2023 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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