‘Citadel’ – Review
More and more Prime Video is the place to be for high-stakes entertainment and their latest original series, Citadel, an all-in intense spy thriller is set to change the game on what it means to produce original narrative content.
Eight years ago, Citadel fell. The independent global spy agency – tasked to uphold the safety and security of all people – was destroyed by operatives of Manticore, a powerful syndicate manipulating the world from the shadows. With Citadel’s fall, elite agents Mason Kane (Richard Madden) and Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) had their memories wiped as they narrowly escaped with their lives. They’ve remained hidden ever since, building new lives under new identities, unaware of their pasts. Until one night, when Mason is tracked down by his former Citadel colleague, Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci), who desperately needs his help to prevent Manticore from establishing a new world order. Mason seeks out his former partner, Nadia, and the two spies embark on a mission that takes them around the world in an effort to stop Manticore, all while contending with a relationship built on secrets, lies, and a dangerous-yet-undying love.
Leading from the front with Citadel are creators Josh Appelbaum, Bryan Oh and David Weil, who with the guidance of the Russo Brothers, who have stepped up in a big way to sheperd this project, have a new mission to take the spy genre to a new level. And with Citadel they’re moving in the right direction. Right from the start this is a series that jumps off the screen. Explosive and in-your-face from the first episode, Citadel is a series that takes familiar elements of the spy genre and analyses them with a new eye. With the help of the Russo Brothers, the creative team behind the series uses ideas of a long-form narrative, with a global perspective and then blends this with action that dials up the entertainment to 11. No expense has been bringing the world of Citadel to life and this is a series with series shine and edge to it.
Taking on the lead roles of Citadel agents Mason Kane and Nadia Sinh are rising stars Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and each of them has real skin in the game of Citadel. Madden’s slick-talking, Saville Row-suited spy Mason Kane has a hard-charging approach to Citadel’s mission is in direct parallel to Chopra Jonas’ seductive and cat-like presence as the intriguing Nadia Sinh. And it’s fascinating to watch each of these characters play off of each other. Added to this is a still-developing narrative that takes each character in a different direction, and Citadel is very much a point-of-view narrative that develops with each episode. While I can’t run into any sort of spoilers regarding character, I can say that both actors jump headfirst into the series’ heavy action setting, and both a proficient in fight scenes that pack a serious bite.
But it’s not just Madden and Chopra Jonas who make an impression on the audience, always the scene stealer, celebrated performer Stanley Tucci shakes things up a notch as Citadel overlord Bernard Orlick. And it’s unlike any character we’ve ever seen him portray before. Ever the calculating mastermind, Orlick is the man behind the scenes who helps kick things into motion as the danger of Manticore, Citadel’s long-time adversary strikes out from the dark. Also, present and accounted for is Lesley Manville as the snarky Dahlia Archerm, and she’s one cold-hearted villainous. Both each have a stake to play in Citadel and the intrigue is there as to their respective parts.
Citadel is a glamourous and high-concept spy thriller done right and audiences will get a kick out of a series that balances the presence of real-world security threats, along with the fantasy that they’ve come to expect of the classic James Bond and Jason Bourne films. The focus with Citadel is on a present and very high-end state-of-the-art action thriller, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what is on offer here. But the action kicks into high gear right from the start. It’s going big or go home for Citadel, and I like what I’m seeing so far.
Citadel offers an intriguing new spin to the spy genre and as this series builds I’ll be very interested to see where it moves in this space. With its focus on grand action set pieces, lavish production values and a still developing narrative I’m certain that audiences are going to be in for a rush with this new series.
Citadel is currently streaming on Prime Video.
Image: Prime Video