Reacher was a huge success for Amazon, and a big reason for that was the show’s insistence on sticking to the source material and doing things differently than the Tom Cruise movies. The comparison to the Tom Cruise movies is inevitable, and for fans of the franchise, the details make all the difference. The films took a left turn from the source material, particularly in how the character of Reacher himself was portrayed, and Amazon’s casting and story direction took those lessons to heart. From characterization to story, Amazon’s version of Jack Reacher provided a more familiar and accurate depiction of the character from the books.
While the two Jack Reacher films were great action movies, the characterization of Reacher and his interactions with the world and other characters around him left a lot to be desired. Fans of the books did not consider Tom Cruise’s interpretation of Reacher to be an accurate adaptation of the beloved character. Amazon’s Reacher has been welcomed with open arms by those who appreciate the books, for a number of reasons.
9 The Height and Stature of Jack Reacher
It’s no secret that many scratched their heads when the casting of Tom Cruise was revealed as the casting choice for Jack Reacher. According to one of the Jack Reacher books, Killing Floor, Reacher stands at 6’5″ and weighs 250 pounds, while Cruise comes in at around 5’7″. While Alan Ritchson is 6’2″, he still makes for a more imposing and book-accurate Jack Reacher than what the film version portrayed.
8 Better Chemistry Between The Characters
From scenes with detective Finlay to the romance with Officer Roscoe Conklin, Reacher’s dynamic with the characters works much better in the Amazon show. The show takes the time to foster the relationships between the characters and gives everyone something to do. This dynamic between the characters was sorely missed in the films and is another reason why the Reacher show is different from Tom Cruise’s movies.
7 More Time for The Story
The nature of a TV show typically allows more time for the story to develop; however, Amazon’s Reacher handles its story and plot with more attention to detail than the Tom Cruise movies. The show made it a point to humanize Jack Reacher while staying true to his book roots. Ritchson’s Reacher taking the time to solve puzzles, investigations and make deductions was done organically throughout each episode leading to a more involved audience experience.
The show also allows the supporting cast to get more attention and development, mainly Detective Finlay and Officer Conklin. The story progresses organically, and it genuinely feels like a classic Jack Reacher story coming to life, and sets up Reacher season 2 after its initial success.
6 Reacher Is More Menacing in the Show
Ritchson’s portrayal of Jack Reacher is more menacing and intimidating than the Tom Cruise version. Putting size difference aside, Ritchson’s delivery of lines and presence set him apart as someone who could actually handle himself in the wild situations he finds himself in throughout the show. Ritchson’s portrayal of Reacher is given the time to grow throughout the season and feels considerably different from the calm, cool, collected demeanor that Tom Cruise chose to go with.
Sticking closely to the source material had a lot to do with Ritchson’s performance, of course, but his presence and intimidating aura set the series apart from the films.
5 The Physicality of Reacher
Tom Cruise is not as physically imposing as Alan Ritchson; that much is clear, but it affected the fight choreography of the films and the TV show. Tom Cruise was initially cast despite his size as Jack Reacher, and this did not work for all fans. A significant aspect of the Jack Reacher novels was the portrayal of Reacher’s combat prowess and his ability to kill someone with his bare hands. Ritchson showed this throughout the series, with the shower fight scene being a great example. Cruise is less physically imposing, and his fight scenes rely on technique and skill to win, especially when the odds are not in his favor.
Ritchson’s Jack Reacher was a force of will throughout the series, and that shined through in every fight scene. The punishment Ritchson takes in the show is more realistic and shows the character’s gritty, determined side much more effectively than the Cruise version.
4 Ritchson Says More With Less
Ritchson’s Jack Reacher was a force of will throughout the series, and that shined through in every fight scene. The punishment Ritchson takes in the show is more realistic and shows the character’s gritty, determined side much more effectively than the Cruise version. Jack Reacher is a man of few words and while Amazon’s Reacher featured plenty of iconic quotes and lines, Reacher himself was a man of few words and mostly let his physicality do the talking. Alan Ritchson understood the assignment and delivered small one-liners without cracking a smile or making it feel too campy or cheesy.
2 Sticking to the Source Material
From the first episode of Reacher, it was clear that this was the show fans of the books were waiting for. Reacher season 1 adapted the first and most well-known book, Killing Floor, and Amazon made it a point to remain as close to the source material as possible. The brutal prison scene was a particularly exciting moment from season 1 and a shout-out for die-hard book fans to enjoy.
A big part of getting the Jack Reacher adaptation right was portraying the height and build of Reacher, which added authenticity. The books made it a point to include how Reacher stands out in every room, and the casting of Ritchson allowed fans to experience that in live action and a refreshing departure from Tom Cruise’s version.
1 The Reacher Show Told a More Personal Story
Alan Ritchson’s Reacher undergoes a very personal journey throughout the series. He always has a five-o’clock shadow, open cuts, and always seems to be on edge. So much so that the supporting cast constantly comments on his appearance and lifestyle. Ritchson’s gritty and realistic performance gives this version of Jack Reacher a much more intriguing angle for the audience to enjoy and relate to. While Reacher season 2 is jumping to book 11, it still promises to be a faithful adaptation of Lee Child’s long-running series.
Cruise’s Reacher was calm, cool, and collected, resulting in a more traditional action movie than the down-to-earth small-town story Amazon’s Reacher told. Alan Ritchson was a perfect choice for Jack Reacher and encapsulated the vision of the character from the original source material.
Reacher season 2 is scheduled for release sometime in Spring 2023.
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