Percy Jackson and the Olympians Review: Is it worth watching?

Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series was promising, with Home Alone and Harry Potter director Chris Columbus taking the wheel for 2010’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Still, its follow-up, 2013’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, was underwhelming at the box office and to critics, and the franchise came to a sudden halt despite four additional books being available for adaption.

Right from the opening scene, Disney’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians make it clear that staying faithful to the source material is their top priority. The stunning visuals accompany the book’s first lines, delivered flawlessly by lead actor Walker Scobell, instantly drawing in new viewers and diehard fans.

This second adaptation of Rick Riordan’s beloved series assures fans that they have nothing to fear except perhaps the shock of discovering their demigod status as they enter the world of Percy Jackson and the Half-Bloods.

The opening dialogue of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, “This will begin to make things right,” echoes throughout the first two episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, giving a strong sense of familiarity. While it may have been more direct in Star Wars, the message still resonates effectively in the show and leads to a mostly successful outcome.

The Adam Project star Walker Scobell takes over the role of Percy, a 12-year-old misfit grappling with dyslexia and ADHD who often daydreams of mythological creatures. But when he’s attacked by a winged fury disguised as his pre-algebra teacher (Megan Mullally), Percy discovers that those daydreams are very much rooted in reality, and he’s soon sucked into a magical world of minotaurs, satyrs, and destiny.

Is Percy Jackson and the Olympians worth watching?
Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Jeffries in Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2023) | Source: IMDb

After going to Camp Half-Blood, a training ground for half-human children, he discovers the truth: He’s a demigod, the son of a yet-to-be-revealed Greek god.

Even worse, he’s been framed for stealing Zeus’s powerful lightning bolt. To clear his name, he and his allies, the hooved forest spirit Grover (Aryan Simhadri) and Athena’s warrior daughter Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries) set out on a harrowing quest, crisscrossing the country and facing off against all sorts of mythical monsters.

Aside from solid performances from our central duo, the show has charm. The visuals of Percy’s native New York and the idyllic summer camp far surpass much of the sludgy CGI nonsense of recent action fare. Jason Mantzoukas is deliciously cast as Dionysus, the God of wine, who has been banned from booze.

He resentfully sips on a diet cola as he tries to manipulate Percy into fetching him a bottle of 1985 Château Haut-Brion. While Glynn Turman’s Chiron does, at times, slip into “magical negro” territory, using his powers to care for our young white protagonist selflessly, Turman has a Shakespearean heft that keeps things dignified.

The one downfall of the show lies in its overly familiar elements. Not only has it been recently made into a movie, but the characters conform to the usual cliches, and the concept of an underestimated protagonist discovering their extraordinary abilities is nothing new. However, it is undeniably a step up from Percy’s previous onscreen appearances.

With a Disney+ subscription, families can look forward to countless cozy evenings snuggled up to watch the newest version of Percy, indulging in snappy one-liners and family-friendly action scenes.

Whether or not Percy will fulfill his heroic potential and whether this adaptation will make it through Riordan’s source material remains to be seen.

After the brilliant YA adaptation, Lockwood and Co. was canceled after one season. With very little heard about a second season of the star-studded American-born Chinese, this show will fight to survive in challenging terrain. But in the two episodes provided for review, at least, we’re off to an encouraging start.

Is Percy Jackson and the Olympians worth watching?
Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Jeffries in Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2023) | Source: IMDb

1. Verdict

The first two episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians efficiently and effectively introduce new audiences to this modern twist on Greek mythology while packing every frame full of details from the book that will have longtime fans pointing and whistling at their screens.

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2. About Percy Jackson And The Olympians

Percy Jackson And The Olympians is an upcoming Disney+ show which will follow the events of the book series of the same name by Rick Riordan. The fantasy action series is now in production.

The series will follow each of the five books in the fantasy novel series, covering one book per season. The first season will follow Percy Jackson, who just discovered he is a demigod and son of Poseidon, Greek God of the Sea; Annabeth Chase, the daughter of Athena; and the brave satyr Grover. The first season follows the teens across states as they go on a quest to save Percy’s mother from Hades.

The series stars Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson, Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth Chase, Aryan Simhadri as Grover, Virginia Kull as Saly Jackson, Charlie Bushnell as Luke Castellan, Dior Goodjohn as Clarisse LaRue, and more.


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