The premier of the Legend of Korra was pretty decent.
First, I wanted to raise a few concerns. Their minor, but I wanted to get them out of the way because they’re problems I had in the first season as well and it concerns me they’re repeating them.
The first is the way they are portraying bending. It’s simpler, throwing rocks and jets of water, fire, wind. One of my favorite things seeing in the original Avatar series was seeing a bender do something I didn’t expect, using their power with more flexibility and imagination than I had anticipated. Battles like Aang vs. Bumi, the Fire Lord, Azula or anytime he called up the Avatar state. Katara and Toth in pretty much the whole second and third seasons or Combustion Man. I just don’t feel like the battles are as imaginative, though I did love the way Korra’s dad was using his water bending.
The second concern is the creature design. It bothers me that there is a general class of Dark Spirit that all share similar attributes. Everything we saw in the first series was unique and different. Think back to the Panda spirit, the face stealer, the guardian of the library. Love that stuff, and yet here we are seeing a whole bunch of black and yellow blob things.
The other thing, and I actually forgot about this and it isn’t minor, I don’t like how everyone is trying to control Korra. Not necessarily that they are trying, that makes sense with the tone of the show, but that she keeps falling for it. Everyone around her, everyone she loves, keeps pointing to The Authoritative Guy of the hour and saying, “you can’t trust him!” and we spend three or four episodes (that we really can’t spare in a twelve episode season) revealing something that is painfully obvious to not only the viewers but every other character in the show. Frankly, it would be a much bigger twist if we the weekly asshole was actually a good guy. Why does Korra feel like more of a child than Aang? I don’t want that. She’s obviously more direct than Aang, why do they keep making her pussy foot around everything. I want to see her put her foot down, show her teeth a little bit, and get everyone else in line.
Other than that, I’m satisfied. The character relationships are getting better, and I really like the spirit world shenanigans. The back story for the southern tribe, that they were ground down during the war and unbalanced, and that was never corrected, is very interesting. I hope we see more of that. What else was disbalanced by the Hundred Year War?
The art and character design continue to be fantastic. You really do get a modern feel for the world they’ve built. For the first time, I felt like the Southern Tribe was a real place instead of just a collection of people in igloos.
I also like seeing Tenzin with his siblings. At first, it really bothered me that they keep picking on him and the show is using him as the butt of so much humor, but then it hit me. He was Aang’s youngest child, and his only airbender. I think we’ll see that they were jealous of him because he had more in common with their dad than they ever would. Katara probably sees that too and maybe that’s been a source of strife for their family this whole time.
I see a lot of potential, but I want to see the show breathe a little bit, find its own footing. I want it to excel above and beyond the original series. The pieces are there, they just need to move in rhythm.