The Sandman, the review: A dream come true

The review of The Sandman, the Netflix TV series that adapts the comic book masterpiece by Neil Gaiman, in the catalog from August 5, 2022.

The Sandman: Tom Sturridge in an image from the series

What we talk about in the review by The Sandman it’s a miracle. When we got all the episodes of the season in preview, we clicked play with a shaking hand, worried about the possible outcome of an adaptation that we considered impossible. And it still seems impossible to us what we have seen in the course of the ten episodes that make up the first season of the Sandman’s Netflix, because net of a few less successful passages and something that does not work one hundred percent, Neil Gaiman’s work is there, translated for the screen with a yield higher than our wildest expectations. A miracle … or perhaps a dream.

In the world of dreams with Neil Gaiman

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The Sandman

Because it is dreams that we inevitably talk about when it comes to the Sandman’s Neil Gaiman. Or, if you like, say Dream, enigmatic figure, dressed in dark, also known as Morpheus in Greek mythology and as Sandman, precisely, in Germanic one, because he sprinkles his eyes with magical sand to induce dreams. He is the lord of the kingdom who is based on them, as well as being an incarnation of them, and he is the heart of the story that the author told us in his graphic novel from 1988 to 1996. However, he is not the only protagonist, because in the course of the volumes the mythology of Sandman has gradually expanded and enriched itself, outlining the world as well as the characters, also deepening the other Eternals who together with Dream embody and regulate different aspects of human existence. A work that we would call monumental, one of the most important in world comics, epic, rich and overwhelming.

The Sandman: the video comparison between the first clip of the series and the comic

The impossible adaptation

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The Sandman: Tom Sturridge in one scene

This is why the level of guard was very high since the first announcements of the Netflix series and for this we go far beyond breathing a sigh of relief now that we have been able to admire it. The starting point of The Sandman serial can be superimposed on the comics one, with the story starting from the capture of Dream through an occult rite by Mr Burgess. A long imprisonment that has consequences on our world, on the human ability to sleep and dream, with some individuals trapped in sleep and unable to wake up. It is only the beginning of a much more complex journey, along which Sogno will have to restore the failed order, for a unitary narrative flow that develops throughout the season.

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The Sandman: A scene from the series

It is a reasoned path that set up by the authors of the series, even where it seems to deviate from the main narrative line to expand and give strength to a story that at the end of the race is perceived as satisfactory and complete. It is precisely these deviations from the main story that have convinced us and excited us to a greater extent (think for example of the central episodes of the season, the fifth and sixth), because they are those that have strongly and faithfully evoked the sensations of the written page, as well as prove to be in line with a strong and conscious seriality, in which the single episode maintains its own dignity as an entity in itself and in which the episodic structure of the story is exploited to build a solid and coherent whole.

Small imperfections

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The Sandman: a moment in the series

At the beginning we talked about something that does not work one hundred percent in Netflix’s The Sandman and we can identify these flaws in two categories: on the one hand, some uncertainty in the management of narrative times, more than anything else due to the need to convey a large amount to the viewer. of information necessary for understanding history and the world in which it unfolds; on the other the visual effects, not always up to the situation and with fluctuating performance. In this second point, the oneiric approach to the story helps, which immediately puts us in a position to willingly accept what we see on the screen. The artistic work done on the series is also precious, in terms of design and creation of the Sandman universe, such as to make up for some technical shortcomings.

The Sandman, Neil Gaiman harshly replies to fan criticism about casting

Neil Gaiman’s dream epic

But they are minor defects, because the result is such as to allow us to overcome these uncertainties, also thanks to the casting work, whether or not it is in line with the characters drawn in the graphic novel, from the intensity of Tom Sturridge to magnetism. by Gwendoline Christie in the role of Lucifer, from Charles Dance to Boyd Holbrook and Kirby Howell-Baptiste: The Sandman in its serial version is in fact at the height of the magnificent work on which it draws and is what matters most.

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The Sandman: a still photo

There are portions of history taken almost on a par with the comic strips, others that have been simplified or modified, for an adaptation that proves to be cured with passion and intelligence. It is no coincidence that the name of Neil Gaiman among the authors, together with David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg, because the hand of the English author is there, present and confident in translating one of his most important and loved works on screen. And as a perfect Morpheus, in turn, he allowed us to live this beautiful dream. Now let’s cross our fingers and hope that Netflix audiences respond adequately, because I want a season 2, we want to keep dreaming.

Conclusions

A dream come true. We talked about this in the review of The Sandman by great admirers of Neil Gaiman’s comic book, translated with passion and consistency for the screen in the Netflix series. There is some imperfection in the timing as well as in the rendering of the visual effects, but the heart of the story beats with energy and guides the proof of a cast put together in a reasoned way. The hope is of a positive feedback from the public, to be able to continue this journey into the realm of dreams and the world of Gaiman.

Because we like it

  • The adaptation as a whole, which gives us a Sandman who does justice to his magnificent source of inspiration.
  • Tom Sturridge and his rendition of Dream, accompanied by a cast put together in a reasoned way.
  • The ability to build a solid and coherent story even where it deviates from the main flow of the story.
  • The construction of the world of Sandman, both from the point of view of the design and the figures that animate it.

What’s wrong

  • Some uncertainties in the management of the timing of the story and in the rendering of the visual effects, which do not spoil the vision.

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