A Few Points Short of Greatness
The Legend of Korra
is the sequel to the series Avatar: The Last Airbender
, but it falls short of many of its predecessor's strengths. For most of the season, the characters lack motivation in their relationships and battles. The antagonists' and the protagonists' goals and ideals are also barely defined and, in some circumstances, incomprehensible. Because their ideals lack definition, it is hard to care about either Team Avatar or the Equalists.
The show had a great start: I cared about and was interested in Korra, Tenzin, Mako, and Bolin in the first two episodes. Korra recognized that Republic City was "out of balance," and it appeared that the season would revolve around her overcoming her brashness in order to bring balance back to Republic City. The first season doesn't do this, which is to be expected, but it doesn't even progress along those lines, it becomes one big "Uh-uh. Nuh-uh." fight. And on the relationship side of things, once the pro-bending arc ended, it didn't feel like they had much reason to be as close as they acted.
This is the summation of the first season's Equalist conflict: "I am Amon and I have the power to take away a person's bending. I will use it because we know benders have been the leaders of every war, and even in Republic City there are bending gangs that use their abilities to bully nonbenders and threaten nonbenders' lives and property." "I am the Avatar and I say no, you're wrong because bending is really cool, yo." I'm not kidding. No bender ever brings up the fact that benders have also been some of the greatest people, such as Avatar Aang, that bending is incredibly useful and powers the city, or the fact that nonbenders have just as great a capacity to be bullies as benders do. What makes this even more egregious is the fact that the worst things the Equalists did before the season finale
(in which they kidnap children and other innocent benders) was destroying private property and imprisoning attacking police officers.
The biggest mistake this season took was waiting until the last three episodes to make Amon the ruler of Republic City. If the second half of the season had been Team Avatar fighting the oppression of Amon, they would've had a reason to be close, and Amon would've been able to be shown to be as evil as the protagonists thought.
Generally agree with your review, but I think you're too light on the Equalists. While indiscriminately bombarding a civilian population technically involves "destroying private property," it goes far beyond that. The bombs the Equalists dropped from their airships weren't done so tactically from what was shown on-screen. Bystander non-benders and benders alike were surely hurt, if not killed, by so many bombs going off, especially given Republic City shouldn't possess air raid shelters or a populace trained to handle such an event after seventy years of international peace.
29th Jun 12
29th Jun 12
29th Jun 12
^^^But that kind of "fridge brilliance" is worthless to casual viewers who aren't massive nerds.
"Show Not Tell" is a rule of storytelling for a reason, especially for characterization, and the need for speculation just illustrates that the story fails to engage as a real story. And honestly, that's the problem I have with Korra. The original show could appeal to anyone. By the time Korra was at it's halfway point, it was obvious it was written to appeal to nerds. That's probably why the finale had a lackluster performance ratings-wise and why the show lost viewers over the course of the first season.
30th Jun 12
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