After a slew of failed adaptation projects, Sandman finally has the right to its own series on Netflix. Something to wake up the fans, who had probably lost hope of seeing this monument of pop culture land on their screens. It is certain that Sandman is one of the most anticipated series of the year, but the demands of fans of Neil Gaiman’s work are likely to be high. Too much to tickle the stars?
While all episodes of Sandman are available on Netflix now, we had the chance to dive into the dreamlike adventures of the Sandman first. So here, without further ado, is our review of Sandman. As always, guaranteed without spoilers so as not to spoil your fun.
A rich universe that makes us dream
In Sandman, beyond opening his arms to us, Morpheus (Morpheus in VO) opens the doors of his kingdom to us. Accidentally captured by a mortal leading an occult group in the Waking World, the Dream Lord is stuck among us for a century. His absence affects his kingdom, of course, but also our world. Without him, no dreams. While some people don’t wake up from sleep. After a hundred years, Morpheus manages to free himself from his captors and returns home. But in a century, a lot has changed. Over the course of the episodes, the Lord of Dreams will try to recover his “tools”, the objects that give him his power, and restore his kingdom, but above all try to learn from his mistakes.
To begin with, the concept of Sandman is very interesting. Far from sleeping on your feet. We are quickly intrigued, we want to dig and know everything about the Kingdom of Dreams but also about the different kingdoms that the characters mention here and there. Because yes, Morpheus is not an only child and he has several brothers and sisters with their own lands. In the Infinite family, I ask for Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction or Destiny. For that, we can thank Neil Gaiman, the author of the impressive saga of graphic novels on which the series is based.
Complex, mysterious and rich, here is how to qualify the universe of Sandman. Also, we revel in the many mythological or biblical references distilled in the ten episodes of the series. The topics covered are relevant and profound and that is appreciable. The series evokes the complexity of human nature without falling into boring moral judgment. In short, there is material. We also enjoy meeting Lucifer or even the Fates over the episodes.
The bottom of Sandman is more than convincing, that’s for sure. The ten episodes follow each other easily and the various intrigues do not bore us. If they sometimes seem disjointed, that’s not a problem since that’s its charm. However, some elements of the plot would have deserved a little more attention.
Cradled with illusions
Despite a background that holds up (very well), the form must follow. Unfortunately, Netflix seems to have promised us a mirage. Much to our regret, the platform oversold the series to us. Not everything is to be thrown away Sandman but we were entitled to expect more. To dream a little more.
Overall, despite an interesting concept and storyline, the execution isn’t up to par. For such a big Netflix series, we would have liked to take some really eyeful. Overall, the photography is pleasant but we especially deplore the visual and special effects which are not really of good quality, like a fever dream.
However, some episodes raise the level and bewitch us completely. This is the case of episodes 5 and 6, which are simply exceptional. However, it is unfortunate that this quality and ingenuity is not present in the ten episodes. Which leaves a bitter taste in our mouths.
In short, the acting is not disastrous but did not completely capsize us. Tom Sturridge in the role of Morpheus left me rather indifferent (despite a voice worthy of the Lord of Dreams) while Boyd Holbrook seems to have stolen the show by playing the Corinthian, the frightening nightmare having managed to put us in a bad mood. comfortable more than once. Big crush for the character of Lucienne (Lucien, in the comics), brilliantly interpreted by Vivienne Acheampong.
Let’s just say that Sandman is capable of the best as well as the less good. As if the series was stuck between two worlds.
Sandman, lucid dream?
Neither excellent nor really bad, difficult to know on which foot to dance with the series Sandman. There is some very good that comes out of these first ten episodes but the execution is not necessarily up to par in our eyes. However, Sandman is easy to watch, despite its flaws, and we quickly find ourselves chaining the episodes. Without being the series of the century, Netflix offers us a pleasant work.
Fans of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel will, no doubt, appreciate a relatively faithful adaptation. Yes, the game of adaptation is never easy and Netflix has already left some feathers there, especially with cowboy bebop and the (terrible) movie Death Note. We can therefore say that this time, the streaming platform did not come out too badly.
Sandman is not a waking dream, to our greatest regret. However, it is not a nightmare either. This new Netflix series is between the two, like this strange sensation between sleeping and waking where time seems to have its own rules and where reality seems far away.
Check out another editor’s review
The trap of excessive teasing is that it risks causing real disappointment in the viewer. With Sandman, Netflix is the perfect example. The American was not stingy with superlatives to talk about his new series based on a nearly 2,000-page graphic novel created and written by Neil Gaiman. Netflix’s bet was bold. Bringing some of these fantasy novels to the screen was a real challenge. Especially since the public of this type of work can be ruthless. Finally “it’s not so bad”.
Far from establishing itself as a masterpiece, the Sandman Netflix version oscillates between dream and nightmare (it was easy). Among the weaknesses of the series, we will especially highlight poor photography and far from convincing acting. The main character (Sandman / Morpheus), played by Tom Sturridge, overplays the tortured hero, a kind of Robert Pattinson in the trilogy Twilight version 2022. Boyd Holbrook, that fans of Narcos will recognize, is also unconvincing as a casual anti-hero.
The realization does not catch up with this very average interpretation. From the costumes to the COGs to the soundtrack, everything gives us a bit of a B-movie feel. cheap.
These flaws are all the more frustrating as some episodes manage to wake us up. Episode 5 (apocalyptic) is a real nugget, episode 6 (which deals with the theme of death) is rather entertaining. If only all episodes were of this level…
Sandman is, in fact, a frustrating series. Because if the realization is (let’s say it) bad, the scenario more or less holds up, the dialogues are correctly written and the themes addressed (death, love, lies, dreams etc.) reflect all the complexity of the human being.
The screenwriters have punctuated the whole thing with winks that make you smile, making particular reference to religions and mythologies. They also took care not to fall into the facility of Manichaeism and approach the existential questions of Humanity without falling into the lesson of morality. Shades that bring substance and raise the general level.
Still, for a series so expected, the result does not really convince. Sandman is a nice little series that we will watch from time to time with pleasure, often with boredom. Sometimes until falling asleep, and joining Morpheus.