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When considering the enduring popularity of some lowerbrow 19th-century adventure stories, C.S. Lewis wrote, “A great myth is relevant as long as the predicament of humanity lasts: as long as humanity lasts. It will always work, on those who can receive it, the same catharsis.” One wonders how he’d feel about the stories of Zorro, the masked hero who has remained a pop culture staple since 1919 and is back on Amazon Prime as a Spanish-language series with English subtitles.

In the opening scenes of Zorro, it’s sometime in the 18th century and a group of hooded figures are attacking a ranch and executing several people. Zorro (Cristo Fernandez) arrives to rescue Don Alejandro de la Vega (Luis Tosar), but as soon as he leaves Alejandro is killed by someone waiting inside. Meanwhile, Zorro finds himself cornered by the governor’s (Rudolpho Sancho) soldiers in a burning church and, rather than face capture, throws himself from the tower.

Six months later in Spain, Diego de la Vega (Miguel Bernardeau) receives word of his father’s murder. He quits his military training and returns home to manage the estate and maybe reconnect with his old girlfriend, Lolita (Renata Notni). Unfortunately, not only is she upset with him, she’s also engaged to the governor’s right-hand man, Captain Monasterio (Emiliano Zurita). One person who is happy to see Diego is his foreman, the mute Bernardo (Pago Tous), who, ironically, is a master of languages.

In this telling, the town is filled with people of various nationalities. If you don’t like the English dub, you can switch to the original audiotrack with subtitles.

His first night back, Diego follows a fox into the hills and meets Night Crow (Cuauhtli Jimenez), who explains the Zorro identity is one bestowed by the native spirits. The previous Zorro’s younger sister, Nah-Lin (Dalia Xiuhcoatl), believes she should be the chosen one and makes it her mission to seize the mask. But hoping the disguise will help him uncover his father’s killers and sift through the layers of corruption in the city (literally everyone seems to be in on a different conspiracy), Diego accepts.

“Revenge is personal. Justice is for everyone,” is the ongoing theme. Yet how can Diego, as Zorro, live out Micah 6:8, which reminds us to “act justly, and show mercy, and walk humbly” with God, when justice and revenge are two sides of the same coin? Any catharsis that comes from seeing the bad guys get their due is for us, not necessarily our hero.

Still, Zorro remains true to its pulp roots, with vivid colors and stylized violence. At some point just about everyone is slashed, stabbed, skewered, shot, or exploded. Some allusions are made to sex trafficking, and the last episode pushes skin-showing boundaries beyond period dress. Profanity is rare and the mystical element minor. Kids probably shouldn’t watch this alone, as it’s not really for them, but fortunately there are enough complexities in the plot to keep the grownups equally engaged. (Amazon Prime)

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