Eye For Film >> Movies >> Heroes: Season Three (2009) Film Review
Heroes: Season Three
Reviewed by: Stephen Carty
The first series of Heroes might not have been as groundbreakingly brilliant as every bandwagon TV fan claimed at the time, but it was an enjoyable genre effort. Unfortunately, with the writer's strike cutting things way short, the sophomore year started off slowly before snowballing into a hurried disappointment. Looking to atone, creator Tim Kring aimed at returning to the sensibilities of the first season...
So, does he succeed? Well, interestingly, the answer is both yes and no. While the first half descends to new lows of illogical nonsense and messy ill-plotting, the second half improves – immeasurably - in a resurrection of sorts.
While the race is on to claim the formula that will give normal people abilities, a host of villains escape from detention facility, Level 5. With Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) spearheading a government project to capture anyone special with Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman) and ruthless agent Danko (Željko Ivanek), Peter (Milo Ventimiglia), Claire (Hayden Leslie Panettiere) and Parkman (Greg Grunberg) fight the opposite corner. Elsewhere Hiro (Masi Oka) fears Ando (James Kyson Lee) will kill him, Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) gives himself powers, Sylar (Zachary Quinto) searches for his father and Rose Angella Petrelli (Cristine Rose) tries to rectify past mistakes...
Originally designed to be included within the second series, the first 13 episodes of Season Three – entitled “Volume 3: Villains” – sees things get worse (much worse) before they get any better. The once-famed ‘big’ twists frequently fall flat, the over-reliance on people who predict apocalyptic futures becomes tiresome and the multitude of death-cheating get out clauses (such as Claire’s blood, time-travel, or if you’re Ali Larter, a whole new persona) means that nearly all tension is removed.
As for our gang, the sketchy and inconsistent writing means they constantly act out of character as mortal enemies team up and allegiances are switched as often as someone uses the phrase: “I did it to protect you”. With even Sandra Bennett (an underrated Ashley Crow) going out on missions now, it seems that nobody is normal as powers are lost, gained and transferred with the blink of an eye. At one point Nathan asks brother Pete: “What can you do nowadays?”. To be honest, it’s a valid question.
And then out of nowhere, the final 12 episodes – entitled “Volume 4: Fugitives” – are surprisingly good (no, really). With the always self-aware Kring stating that this run would essentially “start us pretty much from scratch”, things pick up hugely as storylines suddenly become interesting again and the cast is used properly. Nathan stops all his babbling and becomes a cool Tony Stark-like figure rounding up the super-powered, Sylar quits trying to be a good guy (yeah, you read correctly) so he can go back to heads and Peter soul searches while looking like a young Sly Stallone. Zeljko Ivanek’s cold (ahem) company man Danko might be the non-powered bad-ass the show needed, but Coleman’s Mr Bennett is still the man.
With key series one writer/producer Bryan Fuller (who wrote the show’s standout ep Company Man) returning to the fold late on, the final stretch also hums with intrigue as Rose’s Petrelli (now firmly a main player) looks to her past at an abandoned desert complex. Okay, so earlier plot-threads like the cracked-Earth grafitti and Ando-killing Hero (a superb double act as always) are pretty much forgotten about, but you’re just so happy that there’s no approaching doomsday that you really don’t care.
A season pretty much split down the middle, all the good work of the latter episodes will probably have been missed by viewers that have switched off already. What will series four bring? Well why don’t we ask one of the many heroes who can see into the future…Reviewed on: 10 May 2009