Review: The Cape – The Complete Series DVD

A promising superhero show with not enough ka-pow!

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Certificate: 15
Running Time: 450 mins (10 episodes, approx. 45 mins each)
Year Made: 2011
Creator: Tom Wheeler
Cast: David Lyons, Summer Glau, Keith David, Vinnie Jones

Released: 26 September 2011 Price: £15.99 Number Of Discs: 2
Distributor: Universal Pictures

The Cape is the worst kind of disappointment, a show that promises great things it can’t deliver. It has a decent enough premise: there’s a masked serial killer on the loose in Palm City, along with a corrupt police force, a rapidly expanding evil corporation, and a mysterious political blogger determined to expose the truth. Our hero is Vince Faraday, a squeaky clean cop whose determination to do the right thing leads to him getting framed for multiple murders – and almost killed.

Unable to go home to his family for fear of endangering their lives, Faraday hooks up with the Carnival of Crime, a bank robbing circus troupe. With their help, he becomes The Cape, a vigilante who uses magic tricks to fight a series of cartoon bad guys. To begin with, it’s a lot of fun: the main villain, Peter Fleming, is fantastic; the Carnival is intriguing; and Vinnie Jones is a delight every time he shows up. In spite of some shonky CGI, the show mostly looks great too, like panels of a comic book come to life.

But by the fifth episode, the cracks are starting to show. David Lyons isn’t quite charismatic enough, and the show loses all momentum any time it focuses on Faraday and his family. While The Cape’s lack of subtlety is initially endearing, its over-reliance on facial scarring and foreign accents as shorthand for “evil” gets annoying, and the final episodes are a slog – especially as there’s no resolution at the end of it all.

There are things to enjoy about The Cape. Plenty of familiar faces show up in the cast – including Deadwood’s Dayton Callie – and Bear McCreary’s score makes effective use of dramatic drumbeats. But despite occasional glimmers of brilliance, The Cape is ultimately a gigantic let-down.