The highly anticipated and media hyped ‘Cloak and Dagger’ live action series is in full
swing on Freeform.
Marvel Entertainment earned a lot of success with programs like
‘Daredevil’ and ‘Jessica Jones’ through Netflix, now they are branching out with other
streaming services by re-introducing Cloak and Dagger to a new audience. While these
characters have been retconned and updated for a new generation of teens, ‘Cloak and
Dagger’ is set to make big waves in Marvel media, which may even carry them into post-
Infinity War territory.
While I am staying away from an episode-by-episode review, I
wanted to highlight some of the good and bad production decisions that have followed
the series, so far.
Lighting; Really good. They are playing with black and white like Brian Singer plays
with blue and silver. Their use of contrasting colors is reminiscent of ‘Batman Begins’
where black shadows meet gritty sepia tones. The whole series looks like it was filmed at
a rave in the Narrows of Gotham. The lights shine and the shadows consume.
Cinematography; top notch.
Subtext; On point. The message behind the media is a juxtaposition of class and race. In
our current 2018 culture, our national consciousness is divided. The ever widening wage
gap between rich and poor, the simmering race relations at full boil, opioid addiction
meeting epidemic levels; ‘Cloak and Dagger’ uses all of these issues, not just as a
backdrop, but as fuel for character development. It’s not heavy-handed, or melodramatic.
Which segways into my next point . . .
Source material; Reasonably retconned. The Cloak and Dagger I grew up with was
inundated with the ‘Just Say No’ message that came along with the Drug War of the
1980s. Today it is different. This series has relaunched these characters into a modern
era of medical marijuana and killer prescription drugs. The previous ‘comic code
approved’ content would be a soft sell in comparison to the complex problems faced by
teenagers today. ‘Cloak and Dagger’ have been updated and improved to reflect the
Acting; This is my one criticism. I know the show is in early days, and it takes awhile
before actors get comfy in their new roles. Aubrey Joseph as Cloak is straight out of the
‘Basketball Diaries’, while Olivia Holt seems straight out of ‘Dawson’s Creek’.
Aubrey Joseph reflects strength under pressure, but Holt cannot sell the tragic ballerina shoes she
has stepped into.
He’s got the fight, while she is all pop star, which comes as no surprise
as Olivia Holt is a Disney channel-born pop singer. With the acting skills displayed, I
believe Aubrey Joseph has got the goods. The proof is in the pudding, and Joseph has
got the flavor. I would not be surprised to see Cloak make future cameos in ‘Luke Cage’.
Olivia Holt does not seem like the right fit for Dagger, and her on-screen chemistry with
Joseph doesn’t sell. I would put Holt in more of a Dazzler-type role, and leave Dagger to
someone more seasoned.
Conclusion; Improvements can be made,
but the series has kept my attention. The direction, the cinematography, even the
streaming service; Marvel has struck gold again. Let’s see they can take it to the bank.
Catch the first few episodes of ‘Cloak and Dagger’ streaming free on Freeform.com
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