The Sandman Review - Despite a few issues, Netflix's adaption of Neil Gaiman classic is a solid watch
After a century of imprisonment Morpheus, The Lord of Dreams, must regain his powers and restore his kingdom.
- Jamie Childs
- Tom Sturridge,
- Boyd Holbrook,
- Vivienne Acheampong,
- Patton Oswalt,
- Gwendoline Christie,
- and Kirby Howell-Baptiste
Neil Gaiman's classic comic book series had often been considered impossible to adapt into live-action, firstly due to the cost, second the range and scope of the comic could not be contained in a two or three-hour movie.
And lastly, the story of The Sandman isn't a typical story of good vs evil, it explored many themes and falls into the genres like Horror, psychological, Thriller, and fantasy to name a few.
But with any such 'unadaptable' source material there have been many takers but one by one they fell through and now nearly 30 years after the comics have come out, Netflix has managed to create a faithful adaption.
While in the past Netflix's attempts at adapting comic books and manga have been a mixed bag, with disasters like Death Note and breakthrough successes like The Umbrella academy.
Thankfully, The Sandman falls in the latter category and is a solid watch, with solid direction and a great ensemble cast the show was engaging to watch, despite a few pacing issues.
The series begins in the year 1916 when Morpheus aka The Lord of Dreams played by an excellent Tom Sturridge is captured by a cult and imprisoned for nearly a century.
During this time he loses his items of power which include his necklace, his crown and his pouch of sand and his kingdom called The Dreaming falls into disarray.
The first five episodes focus on Morpheus's quest to regain his stolen property and restore his kingdom, now this also brings up the most noticeable flaws of the show.
While it is shown that there are larger forces at work behind Morpheus's improvement, each episode kind of feels disjointed from the other, and this makes the show feel like it still trying to figure out what it wants to be.
Now, this could be a creative choice by the showrunners as the comic book did so as well and Neil Gaiman had described the book as 'not as a series of unconnected events nor as an incoherent dream'.
But what works well on a comic does necessarily translate on screen, in the show, it works both ways, for example, the third episode did not feel like it mattered other than being filler and serving - no larger purpose than being set up for the next episode.
But the fifth episode used this format as an opportunity to incorporate some amazing psychological horror elements and is one of the best episodes in the show.
This is also thanks to an amazing performance by David Thewlis as John Dee, hopefully, we will get to see him again in future seasons.
The latter half of the season focuses on Morpheus uncovering the larger conspiracy behind his imprisonment and does suffer some of the same pacing issues but overall was fun to watch.
The season ends on a high note, hopefully, we will get a second season as the finale sets up an epic clash.
From a technical standpoint, the show is a visual treat but there are times when the CGI looks unpolished, the score by David Buckley is a standout and really captured the essence of the show.
Now the highlights of the show are the performances, while I did mention Tom Sturridge and David Thewlis, the other sand performances were Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death.
The show is one of the best live-action adaptions of a comic book that I have seen in a while and is something you should definitely check out.
The Sandman is currently streaming on Netflix.