Citadel: The Human Enigma – TV Review

TL;DR – This opening gives you the explosive action and compelling characters you need, but the jury might still be out about the narrative.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this series.

A body floats in the water as flames lap above.

Citadel Review

There have been many, and I mean many, pretenders trying to take the James Bond throne. Some have come close, and some have stepped into the world but with their own take and vibe. Yet some still go straight for the juggler and try to unset the monolith. I was surprised to see the next contender come from the studio that just bought a sizable chunk of the James Bond franchise, but I am interested to see where they go with it.

So to set the scene, a train blasts through the countryside in the Italian Alps. When a mysterious lady Nadia (Priyanka Chopra Jonas), enamoured in a stunning red dress, walks into the viewing cart. But she is not there for the breathtaking views of mountain lakes. She is here for the Russian Gregor (Lev Gorn) with the enriched uranium in his bag about to sell to the highest bidder. It was all going well when Mason (Richard Madden) sat beside her. They were a team, but they are no longer a team. However, they are Citadel agents, and professionals, so they can get the job done. But all is not as it seems because uranium is not in the bag. It is a message, a warning, a declaration, and an extermination. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Grace in a red dress.
The right lipstick can be just as dangerous as a gadget. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

Do you know what is nice to see? A film in the spy genre that is not afraid of the things that built the genre. Spy gadgets are just fun. A car with an inbuilt knockout gas system, sign me up. A perfume that is an explosive lipstick that is just lipstick because that can be a weapon all in itself. Fantastic. I think you need these touchstones of the genre right from the start because you need a bit of buy-in before the bodies start building up, and oh, are there a lot of bodies in this first episode. While the start of the episode is roughly our time, the 8-years-later is a much darker place, which given the current outlook of the world, is a lot to process.

Of the two highlights I took away from this first episode, the first was the angry chemistry between Richard Madden & Priyanka Chopra Jonas. It isn’t easy to pull off an Exes because you have to believe there was something extraordinary there at some point in the past. They have a level of banter and vindictiveness, combined with a hint of professionalism that gets that balance right. While we don’t get much of them together in this first episode, there was enough there to like what I see.

Mason pouts.
You need more that just swagger in this world of spies. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

The next highlight is the action. In this first episode, we are given two separate fights on a train. The first is one-on-one in the bathroom between Mason and the handler (Spencer Mulligan). The next is a larger melee with guns, knives, and all that jazz. The more intimate brawl was all fists and silenced guns, each trying to remove the other without drawing notice. Also, glasses that were secret blades, marvellous. The larger brawl was more chaotic but added the impact of a shotgun. Both worked well within the show’s context and were an excellent catch to show off the actor’s and stunt team’s strengths.

The story is the one area I am still a bit wary of. A secret spy organisation that only works for themselves is not new in the genre from CONTROL and CHAOS in Get Smart, UNCLE in The Man from UNCLE, and the Kingsman from The Kingsman, to name but a few. Having them all killed at the start is an interesting choice and one I have seen before. I did like how blatant MANTICORE seems to be, and an underdog story like this does give me big Chuck or Alias but with body count vibes. However, nothing captured me in that first episode, well outside of that red dress, and I assume a shirtless Richard Madden for others.        

The British Ambassador iviserates the press.
Danger lingers in high places. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

In the end, do we recommend Citadel: The Human Enigma? That is an interesting question. This is a well-made show, and I did like the chemistry and the action. But nothing yet is grabbing me, ensuring that any investment will be well spent.

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen Citadel yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review
on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.    

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Citadel
Directed by
– Newton Thomas Sigel
Written by – Josh Appelbaum, Bryan Oh & David Weil
Created by – Josh Appelbaum, Bryan Oh & David Weil
Production/Distribution Companies – AGBO, Midnight Radio, PKM, Picrow, Super Epic, Amazon Studios & Amazon Prime
Starring – Richard Madden, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Ashleigh Cummings, Roland Møller, Osy Ikhile, Caoilinn Springall, Lesley Manville & Stanley Tucci with Moira Kelly and Lev Gorn, Gianfranco Terrin, Spencer Mulligan, Timothy Busfield & Peter Gerety  


3 thoughts on “Citadel: The Human Enigma – TV Review

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  3. Pingback: Citadel: Secrets In Night Need Early Rains & Season 1 – TV Review | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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