Based on Ben Dunn’s comic series “Warrior Nun Areala,” Netflix’s original series “Warrior Nun” follows the adventures of Ava Silva (played by Alba Baptista), who is resurrected as the result of a freak accident involving a sacred relic. A cast of heroes is briefly introduced — guerilla nuns sworn to protect the relic, a glowing halo — and swiftly recedes into the secondary story as Ava flees her monastic surroundings for the nightlife.
For some reason.
The scenes and their focuses progress in a clunky, forced sort of way. It feels almost as if the show were a series of shots forced together with a loose storyline.
For example, in the first episode, after having been miraculously resurrected, granted the use of her previously paralyzed legs, and gifted with superpowers, Ava immediately goes to see the nightlife in the pristine Andalusian town the show is set in.
There’s really no pause for reflection, the astonishment she feels fades in and out inconsistently, and she’s constantly being sidetracked by various distractions. Between scenes of marveling at the clubs and the people having fun, we get these seemingly important details that are brushed over. She sees demons, she goes to a party; she gets hit by a car and has her torn leg healed miraculously, she visits an old friend.
In addition, both the lines and the character acting are a little sloppy and ham-fisted. The viewers are ripped from their focus on the story by lines of narration, which explain to them that the main character does, indeed, have superpowers, that she was “a freak” in a previous life and that she has met a cute boy.
Yes, the narrator really does announce that the boy she has just met is cute.
The character acting is very intense. Every emotion, whether it be suspicion, wonder or shock, is overplayed and, at times, misplaced. When Ava wanders into a strange courtyard and jumps into the pool she finds there, she is saved by the “cute boy”and compelled to meet his friends. They all immediately recede into deep suspicion, piercing glares and a disdainful silence.
It plays out like a dream. One can’t tell who these people are, where they came from or why they feel the way they do, but they’re all very vocal and obvious about it.
For all its defects, however, one does have to give the show its second chances. Set in the ancient city of Málaga on the sunny coast of southern Spain, the producers paid close attention to the beautiful architecture, the iconic nightlife and the stunning scenery. Viewers are pampered with shots of gothic cathedrals, renaissance artistry and catholic iconography sure to impress even the least attentive viewers, from laundry folders to Instagram scrollers.
Reminiscent of the gritty and sacrilegious comics (think Hellboy, Deadpool) of the late nineties, the ancient monastic order fighting in the shadows against the chaotic and evil forces of the world also piques interest. From their costumes, to their headquarters and meeting places, all the way down to the actors and their talents themselves, the superhero-fantasy storyline provides a safety net for the show that can’t be looked over.
In the end, the show is just a starter project for a group of screenwriters whose names can’t even be Googled (I tried) and one should view it that way. The script-writing and directorships for each episode even alternate between a wide array of writers and producers, undoubtedly to give them portfolio material for future projects. It’s part of Netflix’s initiative to get new screenwriters into the business, which regularly turns out movies and shows with bad reviews.
But these are beginners, they’re supposed to make mistakes. And in the end, while the lines are cheesy and pandering and the storyline is at times positively erratic, the subject at hand is fun. Nuns with guns fighting evil? Alright. It didn’t give me the feeling that I had watched someone’s masterpiece, but it did make me want to press the ‘next episode’ button.
Warrior Nun has its flaws, but it’s an alright project for what it is: a well produced starter-series written by under-experienced writers, and if you’re an under-experienced writer, you know how hard making something all around good can be. It’s cheesy, but it plays well off itself and if you’re just looking to be entertained you can easily sink a few hours on it.