Pros: Fantastically beautiful locations where filming took place; pretty leading lady; interesting plot twist in the finale Cons: Weak computer graphics; unclear staging of battles; broken storylines; some sagging of the plot in the middle of the season; weak dialogue Warrior Nun / “Warrior Nun”
Genre comics, mysticism
Creator Simon Barry
Starring: Alba Baptista (Ava Silva), Toya Turner (Shotgun Mary), Lorena Andrea (Sister Lilith), Cristina Tonteri-Young (Sister Beatrice), Thecla Ruten (Gillian Salvius), Olivia Delcan (Sister Camila), Joaquim de Almeida ( Cardinal Duretti), Silvia De Fanti (Mother Superion), Emilio Sacrai (J.C.), etc.
Year of release 2020
Initially, back in the early 2010s, the film adaptation of Ben Dunn’s comic book Warrior Nun Areala (1994 – 2003) was planned as a feature film. Moreover, a whole trilogy, which involved both the author of the original comic and the concept designers who participated in the creation of The Hobbit, Spiderman 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The production was supposed to be handled by the Canadian studio Perfect Circle Productions, but the film fell into production hell, and then the studio itself ceased to exist. In 2018, the rights to the film adaptation were acquired by Netflix, which invited Canadian Simon Barry, known for his work on the paranormal series Continuum, Van Helsing, Ghost Wars and the detective series Bad Blood, as showrunner. In addition, Barry became the exclusive producer of the show, and his company Reality Distortion Field began filming the series.
From the original comic Warrior Nun Areala, the Order of the Cross Sword remains in the Warrior Nun series; invulnerable Warrior Nuns, who since the 12th century have been passing on an angelic halo to each other, giving them superpowers; and the demonic forces they fight. The main story is different. The main character of the series is a 19-year-old paralytic girl, Ava (Eve, how predictable!), who receives a halo quite by accident, after the death of the previous Warrior Nun. What makes the situation even more piquant is the fact that at the moment Ava receives the halo, she is also dead. Angelic metal revives the girl and gives her unusual abilities, which she at first rejoices in, and then begins to feel burdened by. In addition, Ava is being pursued by several groups of people, and not just people. And, of course, the Church is interested in it.
Unlike the original comic, in which all of Areala’s incarnations at different times dressed exactly in the style that your imagination pictures when you hear the phrase “warrior nun,” everything in Warrior Nun, despite the 16+ rating, is much more modest. Nuns wear monastic robes, behave modestly, and spend time training and praying. Ava, who has been bedridden all her life, does not crave seclusion at all: the young girl wants to at least try what life is. Yes, she doesn’t believe in God either. She refuses to become the next Warrior Nun and flees the Order, spending her time in nightclubs, parties, etc. You just can’t run away from your destiny.
The film adaptation of Warrior Nun is another variation on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme. A young girl receives powers she never asked for and finds herself embroiled in a war she never knew existed. By and large, the entire first season of the series is devoted to Ava’s acceptance of herself and the search for a new family, which for her will be the Order of the Cross Sword and her nun sisters.
The problem with the series is that it looks very simple. There is a banal, predictable exposition and very simple dialogues, which are not saved even by Ava’s inner voice interjecting at the most unexpected moments. The characters of the sisters-nuns and Ava herself are described very conventionally, literally with a couple of traits. Moreover, the most alive of the sisters does not even look like Ava, but Sister Mary, armed with two shotguns. Add to the above the lack of positive male characters, very unclear staging of fights, weak special effects, storylines torn to nothing (where did Ava’s boyfriend go, whom she courted for half a season?!) and general length (this despite the fact that each episode has a running time of about 40 minutes ).
It would seem that this show can be skipped with a clear conscience, however, Warrior Nun has several undeniable advantages. And the main one is the locations in which the filming took place. The most beautiful Spanish cities of Ronda, Antequera, Malaga and Seville. Now, when tourism opportunities are limited due to the COVID-19 epidemic, visiting Spain at least in this manner is very pleasant. The second plus of the series is the leading actress, Portuguese actress Alba Baptista. Yes, she is still inexperienced and her acting is, let’s say, average, but she is very sweet and looks like a young version of both Ellen Page and Emilia Clarke. Well, the third plus is an unexpected twist in the finale, which turns the entire story of the Order of the Cross Sword, which we were told over the course of nine episodes, on its head. However, if the second season of the show does not take place, such an ending will simply hang in the air.
In keeping with current fashion trends, Warrior Nun is a very feminist series. It is primarily about strong women who do not need men; moreover, it turns out that all this time they are fighting against male dominance and deception. It’s a shame that in keeping with this trend, there isn’t a single positive male character in the series. This is no longer funny. Conditionally positive is Ava’s boyfriend, whom she hits on for the first five episodes, but after the sixth he simply disappears into thin air.
Despite all of the above, I did not have any problems watching Warrior Nun until the end credits. Yes, this is clearly not a masterpiece, but without fish, as they say…
The series took only the main plot outline from the original comic, turning it into another variation on the theme of Buffy the Vampire Slayer