an honest and dark adaptation of comics that focuses on diversity

He is perhaps the most tortured character in the DC Comics universe. Sandman, the king of dreams, also called Dream, is the anti-hero created by Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Coraline) in 1989. A comic book with a dark, sometimes terrifying universe adapted for the first time in a series expected on August 5 on Netflix. Sandman is played by Tom Sturridge (Good Morning England, Irma Vep), he has ruled the realm of dreams since the dawn of time by controlling the dreams and nightmares of those who sleep.

He is one of the members of the Eternals (The Eternal in the original version, not to be confused with those of Marvel), a family that influences the lives of Men, consisting of Desire, Despair, Destruction, Delirium, Destiny and Death. One day, the king of dreams was taken prisoner to Earth by a man, leaving his universe out of control for years. After his release, Dream tries to reclaim his power and redeem any mistakes he may have made during his life.

Had to admit, Sandman was impressed. Dream journeys in the dreams of sleepers produce majestic landscapes, with landscapes as far as the eye can see inhabited by imaginary creatures. We appreciate the thought-provoking creative choices sprinkled throughout the episodes, such as the costumes and the palace of Desire that is recognizable at first glance. The various realms that the king of dreams explores remain true to the gothic style of the comics, especially the underworld, where Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) contains a very successful angel face Lucifer.

dOverall, the visual effects are successful, despite a dragon in the early stages lacking details. As in the comics, we see the play of shadows and lights around the tormented character embodied by Tom Sturridge. True to character, he has a large skull mask that hides his very white skin, contrasted with swirling ebony hair.

The flow of the series can be surprising at first glance if you don’t know the comics. The first episodes follow a classic progression, the dark lord is looking for his tools that have been denied him for years. But from the fifth episode titled 24 hours, The Sandman is like a series of mini-movies with its own characters. They are joined by the presence of the Dream and the Eternals met at different times.

At this point, the series carefully follows the flow of the paper version, sometimes even taking the same dialogues and plans throughout. We guess here the influence of his creator and draftsman Neil Gaiman, showrunner of the series. Only, unlike the saga, this change of pace is quite brutal and may lose the least attention of viewers. For the rest, hang in there: there are still more discoveries to be made in the latest episodes…

Fans will undoubtedly notice some deviations from the series to the comics, adaptation is necessary. The cast brings a little diversity and many characters are feminized, like Lucifer who in the original version was androgynous inspired by David Bowie. The librarian and faithful arm of the master of dreams, Lucien, here becomes Lucienne thanks to the actress Vivienne Acheampong. Same thing on the side of the exorcist John Constantine, who becomes Johanna (Jenna Coleman), in the episodes taking place today.

The cast brings a new diversity that modernizes the comics published in the 80s without betraying them. However, when the Justice League – the DC comics superhero team – is in the comics, there are no traces of the league in the series. Had to be satisfied with a little sparkle in the eighth episode.

Gwendoline Christie embodies a Lucifer with feminine and angelic features.  (@2022 NETFLIX)

As a reminder, the series is recommended by Netlfix for those over 18, a unique decision for the platform, only the sulfur series Sex/Life have the same restriction. This classification is due to the fact that Sandman deals with human nature, through its good and bad aspects. Some scenes can be shocking, with sequences of self-harm, suicide and nightmares that are generally more toned down than the paper version. But the series doesn’t play gore for fun. With Sandman, the viewer examines the complexity of Man under a magnifying glass as if in a mirror.

Throughout his journey, the king of dreams lost his coldness and his greed to understand the nature of the people he encountered in his kingdom. At this point, although the interpretation of Tom Sturridge is impressive with his deep voice from beyond the grave, sometimes it is easy to forget his characteristic darkness.

Sandman, the dark fantasy series adapted from the dark DC comics.  (NETFLIX)


Sandman
, August 5 on Netflix. Not recommended for under 18 years old.

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