Julien Neaves – Editor
I noticed a few of my film-loving friends chatting about new Netflix fantasy drama series Warrior Nun, so I decided to check it out. And it’s not bad. Not bad at all.
Based on the Canadian comic book Warrior Nun Areala, Warrior Nun is about a paraplegic young woman named Ava (Portuguese actress Alba Baptista) who is miraculously brought back from the dead by a secret sect of demon-fighting nuns called the Order of the Cruciform Sword (coolest name ever). With a SPOILER ALERT here’s my review in four easy to chew slices:
Slice #1 – See No Evil, Hear No Evil
I want to start off with the look and music of the show. Those costumes. Dang! I never imagined what a fighting nun costume would look like (is that weird?) but they nailed it. It looks classic yet modern, stylish yet functional. And thankfully not over-sexualised. In terms of special effects it’s decent enough, though I found the big demons lacked some weight and depth.
The soundtrack is a bit odd. There is a lot of pop alternative stuff which works fine for Ava’s early misadventures but seems off for about everything else. The best example was the song when Duretti became Pope. It just felt…wrong. Maybe a punchy rap song would have worked better. Some Ice Cube. Or Ice Tea. You know, something cool. Get it? Ice? Cool? You get it.
Slice #2 – Bad@$$ in the habit
I liked most of the characters in this odd little show. Ava looks and acts a bit like Ellen Page in Juno, and I really loved Juno so that was cool for me. Her lust for life (Ava not Juno) is quite infectious and I was rooting for her most of the time. But did they have to make her run from her destiny so many times? Geez Louise. It got annoying after a while. Now I can understand her initial reluctance having been subjected to a homicidal nun for so long, but she was running even after she saw an actual demon. ¿En serio? So this quibble has nothing to do with Baptista’s performance but the writing itself (more on that later).
But the lead Ava was not my favourite character. That title goes to the super cool, steely-willed Beatrice. Now I am sure everyone loves the streetwise, cussing, dual shotgun-wielding, not-a-nun Mary. And yeah she is pretty great but I feel like I have met similar characters before. But I found Beatrice with her intelligence, no-nonsense attitude, quiet demeanour and superior fighting skills, as the most engaging and entertaining character.
Slice #3 – Holy War
And speaking of fighting, for a show called Warrior Nun there is a not a whole lot of it. They spend a lot more time talking than beating up people, and even less time actually fighting demons. Now when they do fight it is well choreographed and thrilling. These ladies know how to throw down! Did you all see that fight with Adriel in the finale? Twelve flavours of awesome sauce. No doubt.
So yeah I enjoyed the fight scenes but I just found there should have been more of it. Hopefully there will be a lot more glowing swords, shurikens and shotguns come Season 2.
Slice #4 – Chapter and Verse
For my final slice I take aim at the plot. What was up with those early episodes? Did we need so many with Ava and the high society squatter crew running around? Seriously, that could have been done in two episodes, three at the most. It really dragged down affairs. That and Ava continually running from her destiny felt like wheel spinning, and I was just waiting for them to get back to the OCS stuff.
But the show really picked up in those final three episodes and that double twist finale with the mega cliffhanger was more than worth the early plodding. Now I figured early that old Adriel was evil but that Fr Vincent reveal threw me for a loop. No Fr Vincent! I liked you! How you go do that! So despite a slow start, some questionable music choices and not enough fisticuffs, I had a good time with Warrior Nun. It’s different, stylish and delivers when it needs to. And I will be on board for the next chapter.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
For more comic book action and my review of the Swamp Thing television series here.
Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. Also loves promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and is an aspiring author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Can also be found talking about TV and movie stuff on Instagram as redmanwriter and on Facebook at Movieville