Having released May 2nd, I've already binge watched my way through the first season of Cobra Kai, and I figured I'd give a small (mostly) spoiler-free review.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, Cobra Kai is a continuation of the Karate Kid saga which began in 1984 featuring Daniel Laruso, Mr. Miyagi and the "evil" Cobra Kai dojo. Are they evil? That's pretty subjective. One thing I loved that this series did was they identified with Johnny Lawrence of Cobra Kai. At one point even gave his version of the events which did make Daniel Larusso seem like a jerk.
So what should you know when going into this? Well, for starters, it isn't for everyone. If you didn't love the karate kid, you probably wouldn't like this. If you're bothered by non-politically correct stuff, this isn't your cup of tea. If you use the term "toxic masculinity" often, just move on, this series isn't for you. If I'm totally honest though, I loved it.
Johnny Lawrence's reality is he's a middle-aged man with a string of failures that all date back to that lynchpin moment where he lost his fight with Daniel Larusso. As the title implies, he brings back his former karate studio and their tenets, for better or worse. What's nice about this story is there's a real sense of camaraderie here. You see outcast kids who struggle with the world's views of them, coming together and finding a place where they can grow. This series captured that perfectly. It had me cheering the whole way through. There are two plots here. One is a tribute and very reminiscent of the original Karate Kid. The second is a new legacy with Cobra Kai. The series feels like it gives you an honest choice as to whom you want to cheer on. I found myself cheering for Cobra Kai most of the time, which was strange for me because my 9-year-old self loved Mr. Miyagi and "Daniel-san."
So is it good? Yes. It's outstanding. It's part 80s nostalgia, part action, part comedy of two grown men who can't things go, and a story filled with personal growth. Lots of growth, actually. I was surprised at how far some characters came. Some things seem telegraphed but, I didn't mind them, and I hoped they were going to those bases from the beginning. It's not politically correct at all, and to me, that's part of its charm. There's not much like it out there right now. The best part of all of all is it sets the stage for a real rivalry in future seasons. I truly hope we get more seasons.
So is this worth the price of Youtube Red? Absolutely. It isn't for everyone but if you loved the original Karate Kid, you can't go wrong with this series.