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The Sandman (2022) | Review

Is Netflix's new series worth your time?

By Emma Chen

Dream: ‘How do you do it? […] Be there, for all of them?’

Death: ‘I have a job to do. And I do it. When the first living thing existed, I was there. When the last living thing dies, I’ll put the chairs on the table, turn out the lights, and lock the universe behind me when I leave.’

I would hardly start a review with a quote, let alone a dialogue, but I believe the aforementioned conversation correctly summarises the profundity that the show The Sandman (2022), available on Netflix, aims to

Courtesy of IMDb

reach. It investigates powerful topics in a straightforward but highly effective way

without necessarily using exaggerated effects or a dramatic narration. Based on the praised homonymous comic book by Neil Gaiman, the series is centred around the life of Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), otherwise known as Dream, or, indeed, the Sandman. Morpheus rules the realm of dreams and imagination and with his siblings, such as Death, Desire, and Destruction, his duty is to serve humanity until the end of the universe. The story starts quite abruptly, with Dream held prisoner by a dark magician for 106 years, after which he manages to return to his realm where he finds decadence and chaos. His uneasy quest will be to re-obtain the powers lost and restore order to his realm and Earth, assisted by loyal companions like his librarian Lucienne, his raven Matthew, and his sister Death.

It is in the secondary characters—with their impeccable aesthetic and well-written personalities —that lays the beauty of The Sandman. While I found convincing Sturridge’s performance as a quiet, introverted and almost sleepy Dream, I was mesmerised by the consciousness, independence, and development of characters like Gault, born a nightmare but with the wish of becoming a dream and helping people, and the Corinthian, the genius evil nightmare that escaped from Dream’s realm. The choice of starring Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar, the ruler of Hell, instead of the expected Tom Ellis (star of the Lucifer Netflix show) left me confused for a second; however, after seeing the androgynous and superb Lucifer portrayed by the actress, I can only state that it is a more appropriate depiction and a better aesthetic fit to the atmosphere and universe of The Sandman.

If I must nit-pick, from the opening episode there is the feeling of not knowing where the story will go, and the different sub-quests can sometimes feel disconnected and forced, creating disorientation. However, it could be a clever stratagem used by directors Gaiman and Goyer, adding to the “dreamy” effect that surrounds the series from the dark colours to the costumes: in a dream, the beginning and the ending are confused, stories interlace in the most bizarre ways, and so happens in The Sandman, which is certainly worth a watch even for novices of comic books like me.


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