Today we are talking about the teenage antics of the Marvel and Hulu series, Runaways. I’ll try to give a short spoiler-free synopsis before I go into more spoiler-details about what happened with the newest entry in the MCU’s small screen series.
The series follows Alex, Chase, Gert, Molly, Nico, and Karolina as they get ensnared in a conspiracy where they discover that their parents are in a cult-like group known as PRIDE. Who sells itself as a charity organization but is actually taking children off the streets to be used for whatever nefarious purposes they deem fit. Along the way the teens learn more and more as they have to reconnect after the death of an old friend, to try to put a stop to their parents and whatever evil plans they have to wreak upon the world.
This show I would say is very solid.
What we are given expands on some characters and ideas more than the comic that it is based on does. Which makes sense considering the creator of the team, Brian K Vaughan, is an executive consultant.
Although this show takes place in the MCU, it doesn’t feel like a typical superhero show. This is very much an adaptation of comic book characters that keeps the spirit of the original series while finding new ways to define its characters and their motivations. One of the things that really helps this show is that it splits perspectives between the kids and the adults. This is in order for us, the audience, to not get a purely one-sided interpretation of the events going on but at the same time still keeping some mystery to the show and what happens next. There are of course some changes that come with updating the series:
All of the kids going to school at the same place, making Gert a very outspoken third-wave feminist, Nico having a sister and being a little more than implied bisexual, Alex’s dad being revealed as a former gang member instead of a mobster, and Molly being changed from white to Latina as well as her aging up. In light of these, one of the biggest ones I would say is cutting Frank from the Pride and making her birth father, Jonah, the one where she gets her Majesdonian lineage from. There are quite a lot of differences, but I think for the most part these changes work as this show is supposed to be a more modern take on a comic series from the early 2000s.
The acting from the teen characters feels very solid across the cast and the writing does illustrate that, yeah, these are teenagers. They say and do stupid stuff and are very impulsive but have good intentions at heart. The only thing that seems weird is that Molly, despite being the youngest actor and character of the group, for some reason just doesn’t come across as that. Despite her young age, the actress seems a little more mature than the character she is supposed to be. The parents do help round it out by making the groups feel more like families but we also see the distinct quirks that make each family unique.
The inclusion of Jonah as the true big bad adds more mystery because in giving the parents time to be fleshed out, they sacrifice the mystery of their motivation until we see their true leader. Jonah feels smooth in his inclusion cause he is built up, comes in, and is easily shifted as the new main focus as the threat for the adults. So the acting is solid, the writing is good for what it is, even the effects look pretty darn good with Old Lace looking amazing in episode 10.
The music has a tendency to repeat the same song over and over and over again between episodes and it can get kind of boring and tiresome; until they switch it to some random, upbeat pop song. Some of the handheld camera work will wobble but I think its supposed to add tension yet the effect seems to fall flat.
Also, to the dismay of many, they never really “runaway” until the last minute of the show so the title can come across as misleading.
All in all I say this show is good. It starts a little slow but has enough questions to keep you interested. In some places it certainly took me right back to high school with the types of characters they have. This is very much the type of show that the CW wants to make. Good effects. A good cast of actors with distinct characters and solid to good writing, that still manages to throw in some comic nods and romantic subplots.
I wish Hulu wouldn’t air the show weekly because with how short the season is. It would watch better as a binge in about 10 hours rather than 45 to 60 minutes every week like some of the longer comic book shows.
But that’s just me.
Let me know your thoughts on Runaways down in the comments below. What did you like and what didn’t you like? Make sure to check back into Hybrid Network for more Marvel news and reviews.