- Amazon Prime Video's Reacher series is superior to Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher films.
- Reacher Season 2 is action-packed and entertaining.
- Familiarity with previous Reacher novels is not necessary as each season works as a standalone story.
Three episodes of Reacher Season 2 were provided for review.
Does anyone even remember Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher films? Well, no one should, because Amazon Prime Video’s Reacher series stands head and shoulders above them – plus, Alan Ritchson’s version of the character also looks far more intimidating and like he could break skulls by extending a singular middle finger. After a highly successful debut season, Reacher returns for a second round, bursting with the right amounts of action and entertainment to get the viewer buzzing.
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Much like Lee Child’s Reacher novels, there’s no real need to have familiarity with the previous books since they all work as standalone stories in the grand scheme of things. For the second season, the eleventh novel in the series, Bad Luck and Trouble, is adapted. The viewer catches up with Reacher as he drifts across the U.S. and receives a special message from his pal and former teammate Frances Neagley (Maria Sten). She tells Reacher that someone is killing off their former squad from their army days, so they band together with the survivors to find out who’s behind this scheme and put the smack down on them.
Reacher and his amazing friends
Like each Lee Child story prefers to focus on new settings and different characters, the same holds true for Reacher Season 2. Not many faces from the first season return, allowing for a fresher narrative and new individuals to learn about. In the end, this season features far more compelling characters than before.
What’s instantly noticeable is the chemistry between Alan Ritchson’s Reacher, Maria Sten’s Frances, Serinda Swan’s Karla Dixon, and Shaun Sipos’ David O’Donnell. As they should, they feel like old friends reconnecting after all these years, and the audience gets pulled into the middle of the tales of the good ol’ days while also discovering how they have evolved as people. Throw in key supporting characters like Guy Russo (Domenick Lombardozzi) and Shane Langston (Robert Patrick) who figure in different ways, and there’s no disputing this powerful cast delivers sensational and rousing performances all round.
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None of this would matter if the lead couldn’t pull it off, though. The good news is Ritchson was only getting warmed up as Reacher in the first season. With this new story that helps to reveal more of his past, the character comes across as much more nuanced and well-rounded than before, and it shows in Ritchson’s performance too. At the same time, there’s a twinkle in his eye that showcases he is in on the joke in the moments that go over the top and firmly into ’80s action land. He might not pull out the Schwarzenegger or Stallone one-liners, but his subtle quips land just as hard as his fists.
A smashing story
As with before, Reacher Season 2 doesn’t try to overcomplicate the narrative with layers of conspiracy theories or intricately designed webs of deceit. It’s a simple-to-follow and enjoyable series about a rugged, big dude who isn’t afraid to get his knuckles bruised and bloody for what he believes in. Sure, it might be about as deep as the first step in a swimming pool, but who cares when the audience is invested in the ride and watching Reacher smash through a windscreen to punch a criminal in the face?
As a whole, Reacher Season 2 doesn’t change the formula. It knows what worked before and it leans into it even more. It proves to be a wise decision, as it’s the ultimate popcorn show. Reacher crack skulls and make bad guys soil themselves has never been more enjoyable.
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Reacher Season 2 drops on December 15 on Amazon Prime Video.