Amazon’s Jack Ryan has solid potential

Jack Ryan Amazon

Having had one of the biggest and best presence at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, Amazon’s Jack Ryan gave a lot of hope to fans of the series with big promises. But did the first episode of the show deliver? It has potential and keeps you hooked long enough to want to continue the series as each episode ending of Jack Ryan leaves you on the edge of your seat.

Amazon’s original take on Jack Ryan stars Jon Krasinski (A Quiet Place, The Hollars, The Office) as the CIA analyst turned spy, Jack Ryan. Adding to the list of A-List stars who have portrayed the title character, Krasinski offers a different spin on what we have seen before, which might not make fans of the other films thrilled.

The opening scene creates some exposition on a possible antagonist and why they are fighting and committing terrorist acts against the United States of America. From there it shows a young and active Jack Ryan engaging in what some would consider high society type of exercise, which backs up the notion that Jack is just a desk jockey and not a spy. And you are constantly reminded that Jack is a perfect boy scout according to his peers. How others perceive him is a stark contrast to how Ryan actually looks at himself. He’s haunted by dreams from his time as a marine and doesn’t seem to appreciate the comments that are made about him. Krasinski expertly demonstrates these emotions by telling facial expressions which is something that he excels at as an artist.

Wendell Pierce’s character is also an interesting one with a cliched past. He’s introduced as Ryan’s new boss who was just given a second chance and is trying to prove himself again. Instead of immediately being drawn to the charm and perfection that is Jack Ryan, he instead doubts his capabilities and berates him, creating some tension between the two characters that carry over through the season. The chemistry between the two is one of the best parts of the series so far. The spy drama itself might not be immediate, but there is a hint of romance with one of Ryan’s former boss’ daughter played by Abbie Cornish. The scene between the two gives some insight into Jack Ryan’s past and ethics, something that will seem to play a bigger part later on.

In the third act, we witness exactly the kind of terrorist cell they are up against. It’s a brave, bold, and coordinated group that has no fear and will do what it can to stay under the radar. The conflict provides action-packed scenes, giving you a hint of the full geopolitical story and what’s to come for the rest of the first season. In the second episode, it also ends with an explosive apartment raid scene in France that is similar to Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege match.

John Krasinski gave what I think is one of the most unique performances he has given thus far. Forever known as the happy go lucky and charming Jim from The Office, Krasinski has done a lot to separate himself from that role. He worked out for a toned body for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, directed and starred in a dramedy The Hollars, and then wrote, directed, and starred in the silently suspenseful A Quiet Place. These films have placed Krasinski in three completely unique roles. The only thing familiar to his former character Jim is that both work in an office behind a cubicle, except one sells paper while the other stops terrorism.

Another interesting take is the large focus on the lead antagonist, his wife and family, offering some insights into his cause as well as the internal family struggle in dealing with that lifestyle. It provides a similar approach to what Marvel did with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, where you feel a little empathy for the cause of the bad guy.

Amazon’s Jack Ryan discerns itself from previous takes on the character by being bold with its adaptation of the mythology. And with time, the series could easily become one of the best in the Jack Ryan world.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

Synopsis: When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and her allies.

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