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The Sandman Review: A Dark, Daring DC Adaptation

Tom Sturridge stars as Morpheus/Dream in The Sandman
Tom Sturridge stars as Morpheus/Dream in The Sandman

The Sandman is an adaptation of a DC Comics series written by acclaimed author Neil Gaiman, the creative mind behind works like American Gods and Good Omens. Gaiman has been trying to make an adaptation of The Sandman for a long time; at one point, it was intended to be a film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Morpheus. 

A few years ago, Audible produced a star studded audio drama of The Sandman with James McAvoy in the titular role, much closer to what Gaiman had envisioned. This was my first introduction to this world, which is grand in scope; the concepts that Gaiman plays with in this world are fascinating, concepts like “dream” and “desire” as actual beings with realms of their own, similar to Lucifer in Hell. There’s a lot to take in, but to see this world I had only imagined come to life makes for exciting, thoughtful television.

The Sandman Review

The Sandman. (L to R) Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess, Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021
The Sandman. (L to R) Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess, Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

For the Netflix adaptation, Morpheus/Dream is played by Tom Sturridge, who looks a great deal like the artwork from the comics and has a surprisingly deep voice. It works well for the character and I have to imagine it is very challenging playing a character who hardly shows his emotions. At times, it makes him an unlikeable protagonist because we connect with characters emotionally. It helps that he is captured and imprisoned for a century by Sir Roderick Burgess, another great villainous character played by Charles Dance. During his absence, Morpheus’ realm, the Dreaming, has fallen apart and he must collect his artifacts in order to restore his realm.

The Sandman. Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian in episode 102 of The Sandman. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022
The Sandman. Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian in episode 102 of The Sandman. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Unfortunately, Morpheus has quite the adversary in The Corinthian, played by Boyd Holbrook. I have to say, I love how so many of Holbrook’s characters wear some type of sunglasses (Logan and Vengeance are great examples). He has a swagger about him that is very natural, and he’s clearly having a great time as a villain, though he isn’t one from his perspective. The Corinthian wants to be more than what Morpheus made him to be: a nightmare. However, the way he goes about this is absolutely the stuff of nightmares.

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David Thewlis is another actor who is having a great time in a villainous role, and Dr. John Dee is very different from his last DC outing in Wonder Woman. This is a man who truly believes what he’s doing is right and will stop at nothing and make others do anything to get his way. There are so many other wonderful performances in this series, from Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer to Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine. Plus, Patton Oswalt and Mark Hamill voice two amazing characters you have to see to believe!

The Sandman. David Thewlis as John Dee in episode 105 of The Sandman. Cr. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022
The Sandman. David Thewlis as John Dee in episode 105 of The Sandman. Cr. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Overall, The Sandman is a dark, daring DC adaptation that remains faithful to Neil Gaiman’s work; he was heavily involved in the production, which the creators absolutely should be. The ending will leave you wanting more of this world, and it certainly sets itself up for a second season. Hopefully, audiences will connect with it and Netflix gives it a chance to succeed. The cast, visuals, and score are all great and it deserves as much recognition as the likes of Batman and Superman when it comes to DC.


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Written by Elliott Wishnefsky

Elliott Wishnefsky is an Entertainment Writer & Critic for FandomWire. He's a graduate of Millersville University with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Elliott is also a content creator for his own brand, Learning at the Movies! Twitter: @Learning_Movies | Facebook/Instagram: @learningatthemovies | TikTok: @learningatthemovies