The Brothers Sun was one of the stand-out shows revealed during Netflix's Geeked Week 2023, and as we said at the time "this looks like it could be great." The first reviews are coming in, and it looks like our optimism was justified: with few exceptions, the critics are loving it.
The Brothers Sun is a dark action comedy set in LA, where Taipei gangster and trained killer Charles Sun has relocated to in order to protect his brother and his mother – the latter of whom is played by Michelle Yeoh. And according to Variety, it's "a thrilling, brilliant dramedy about familial obligations, buried skeletons and the bonds that can never be broken... the perfect mix of comedy and drama."
Is The Brothers Sun worth streaming?
TIME says yes: Yeoh's character in particular is surprising, with what at first seems like a fairly clichéd role – "the immigrant mother who invests all her energy in the success of the next generation" – turning into something much more nuanced and interesting. That alone makes the show "more than just a fun, if bloated, spectacle".
Over at Digital Spy, David Opie makes the obvious joke: "everyone should watch this series everywhere all at once". His spoiler-free review notes that The Brothers Sun starts out "as two Netflix shows in one, and the difference between them is night and day": one story is about Charles the gangster, while the other is about his slacker sibling. "The way these worlds cross over and bleed into each other" recalls Everything Everywhere All At Once "except the borders being crossed this time aren't multiversal in nature and include lifestyles, nations, cultures and more."
The Hollywood Reporter says the show is "zanily entertaining", and while it's far from perfect – some characters "come off respectively like thin plot devices or lackluster comic relief" – even its wobblier choices are "easy to forgive when they seem rooted in such an earnest desire to surprise and delight." The AV Club has some concerns too: while some of the later episodes are melodramatic – "it overwhelms the comedy that works so well in the early episodes and undermines the emotional weight of this particular tale" – the show deserves praise for centering "the specificities of the Asian-American experience" and "this action-packed dramedy series [is] all in all, a worthy star vehicle for Yeoh."
One of the few dissenting voices is over at IGN, where Steven Nguyen Scaife says it "feels built for streaming in the worst way" and squanders its potential: "The Brothers Sun shows early promise by leaning into the comedy of its odd-couple pairings. But it neglects to flesh out those dynamics further, making a misguided shift to more dramatic storytelling fall even flatter."
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.