Citadel Season 1 Review – this big-budget epic is James Bond in TV form

By Adam Lock
Published: April 27, 2023 (Last updated: March 12, 2024)
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Citadel is a breathtaking visual feast, introducing audiences to a new, adrenaline-fueled spy world. As with most spectacles though, the filmmakers keep the storyline simplistic and safe, concentrating on delivering the action and shocking twists instead.

We review the 2023 Amazon Prime Video series Citadel Season 1, which does not contain spoilers.

The Russo brothers are no strangers to big-budget productions, having helmed back-to-back Marvel epics Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which they then followed up with The Gray Man, one of Netflix’s most expensive films to date. These behemoths in the movie industry have cost hundreds of millions of dollars each.

Well, the brothers are back in the big leagues once again with Citadel, another Prime Video original series that is sure to burn through hundreds of millions more in its first season alone.

Citadel Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

Created by David Weil (Hunters), this extravagant spy thriller series brings Bond-level aesthetics and action set pieces to the small screen, with an entirely new espionage universe to explore. One packed with Hollywood heroes, detestable villains, and an arsenal of nifty gadgets to behold.

The series centers on secret agents Mason Kane (Richard Madden) and Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas), both left with amnesia after a traumatic train explosion. This act of terrorism was part of a coup to bring down a global spy agency called Citadel, which these agents both worked for.

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Thanks to tech genius and fellow agent Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci), these amnesiac agents are redeployed eight years later in the present. They are tasked with taking down their rivals, the villainous Manticore. This enemy organization is fronted by UK ambassador Dahlia Archer (Lesley Manville) and her no-nonsense goons, the Silje brothers (both portrayed by Roland Moller).

It’s a simplistic good versus evil narrative, yet there is a mysterious backstory to explore as well, with Mason and Nadia clearly sharing a turbulent yet romantic past. Of course, this is all realized through your standard flashback sequences that modern TV shows can’t help but employ every chance they get.

Is Citadel season 1 good or bad?

Citadel is a standard spy thriller, working within the comforting conventions of the genre. Yet, it is truly breathtaking to witness such a big-budget espionage storyline on the small screen. You can see that you are getting your money’s worth from the very off, with gorgeous establishing shots and inventive camera movements immersing viewers fully into this exciting new universe.

The show is filled with impressive fight sequences, international settings, and now custom tongue-in-cheek wit, although the humor doesn’t always hit the mark. Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas make for charismatic leads with simmering on-screen chemistry. The series is at its best when these two are sharing the spotlight, either bantering or battling their foes side by side.

Is Citadel season 1 worth watching?

Critics were only handed the first three installments of this six-part series, so it’s hard to say how the show progresses, but those opening episodes introduce a promising new series with heaps of potential. This could be a real crowd-pleasing success story for Prime Video, one that viewers will find highly entertaining on a weekly basis.

But just like Prime Video’s other costly original series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the creators play it safe, relying on the cinematic visuals to keep viewers coming back for more when the script could have used a little more consideration as well.

What did you think of Amazon Prime Video’s Citadel season 1? Comment below.

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