I have finished the first season of the new Netflix animated series Voltron: Legendary Defender, and I had a good time with it.
Now I only have vague memories of the 1984 cartoon series it was based on but the reboot has taken the content to another level, which is no surprise given the talent of show runners Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos who brought us the masterful Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series The Legend of Korra (which I have not seen but I hear is really good).
As I mentioned in my first post First look at new Voltron series (no spoilers) for this post I will be doing a review of the entire season and will be getting into some spoilers so SPOILER ALERT is in effect.
Now on to the review in five easy to chew slices:
#1 Looking good there lions
Voltron looks great and top marks must be given to the animators. The anime-esque characters look good, the different planets are rich and vivid and the action scenes seamlessly blend the animation with CGI.
Scenes on the Balmera planet and Princess Alura looking at holograms of her ill fated home planet are standouts.
#2 Cool cats
In the first few episodes I found the characters a bit one note but as the story progressed each one was developed. We had leader Shiro dealing with his captivity to the Galra, wildcard Keith (voiced by Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun) showing his dark side, silly Hunk getting a romantic interest and genius Pidge putting the team before her single minded quest to rescue her family. In the early episodes I was wondering why there were no female Paladins and thought she could have been female and then (surprise) she was revealed to be. Good stuff.
Even Corran went from ridiculous to a bit more serious and Allura went from bossy to caring and a strong leader. And that scene in the episode “Crystal Venom” when she had to let her father go was surprisingly touching.
#3 Sweet, sweet action
The action in this series really roars (pun definitely intended). I loved the ground combat with the different weapons and how each lion had different abilities and they had to work together as a team.
And I am also glad you do not see Voltron in every episode but when he appears he kicks all kinds of booty. It really is spectacular. As I mentioned in my previous post the series moved beyond the formulaic “monster attacks, form Voltron, defeat monster” and really mixes things up. We only have two monsters in the entire season – ball guy and multi-laser guy – and both are well designed and pose a very real threat to our heroes and Voltron.
#4 Zarkon is a bad mother shut yuh mouth
Big bad of the series Emperor Galra is a pretty one note, rule the universe type of villain. But he does have a strong and intimidating presence that is palpable and we still don’t know how he survived for thousands of years.
To demonstrate just how powerful he is, in the finale he takes on Keith and his lion singlehanded and beats the ever living crap out of him. And the reveal that he is a former black Paladin really adds more dimension and mystery to the megalomaniac.
#5 The story forms well
The story is told in a deftly constructed serial format and like chips each episode has you coming back for more. Everything builds up to the cinematic finale that will have your heart racing and could teach a thing or ten to many a Hollywood movie.
At the end of the finale the lions are separated in a portal but dollars to donuts they will be find each other again in season 2 and form Voltron once more to defend the galaxy.
Rating: Voltron: Legendary Defender gets 3/4 roaring robot lions.
So have you seen Voltron: Legendary Defender? How does it compare to the original cartoon? Feel free to comment below.
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Julien is outie like a navel. L8rs