In the loving memory of people who read reviews before binge-watching shows.
Mind the spoilers.
Netflix’s superhero drama starts with three kids running in the backyard playing superhero. The twist unravels as we see one of them has actual superpowers. Here comes the iconic Utopian (Josh Duhamel), the dad of those super kids, who scold his daughter Chloe for taking things too far.
“We have these powers for a reason,” he lectures. “And with great power comes—”
“Great responsibility,” Chloe interjects.
“No,” he says, thrown, before admitting, “Well, yeah.” They happen to be Spiderman fans as well.
He then goes on to explain the importance of caring about others, and the dangers of using your powers to hurt people, even bad guys. But it’s unclear whether the lesson has sunk in for young Chloe, who seems more interested in her father’s suggestion that they get ice cream.
Only this scene briefs two things about Jupiter’s Legacy plain. The first is that it will unapologetically riff on, borrow from, and outright quote from the most famous comic-book characters of our reality. (Utopian himself is the Superman of this world, just as his wife Lady Liberty is Wonder Woman, and of course, the “with great power” line comes from Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben.)
The second is that, as with Utopian’s rambling, interrupted speech to his kids, this TV version of Jupiter’s Legacy isn’t quite sure what it wants to say, or how to get its intended audience to care.
Jupiter’s Legacy is presented by Steven DeKnight who is famous for creating superhero shows like Daredevil and Smallville. While his writing and directing of the Pacific Rim sequel were appreciated, DeKnight failed drastically to convince the audience with the idea of Jupiter’s Legacy.
The story is somewhat similar to the recent superhero series sons-of-superman. However, they have a solid first season.
Back to the opening scene, Chloe’s brother Bandon is now an adult who wants to step in the shoes of his father. He wore a bright superhero costume and the moniker Paragon but suck at doing what he intended to do.
At first, it seems like the central conflict of Jupiter’s Legacy as the show became constant bickering of Brandon’s desperation to prove ‘I’m worthy, and his father’s silence. Later, DeKnight and company lose interest in him altogether.
Also, a significant portion of Jupiter’s Legacy is focused on Chloe who has given up on the family business to pursue her career as a model. Her story too having its momentum derailed by regular flashbacks of the origin story of Utopian.
The show is quite slow or seems slow crawling along at a snail’s pace. Many people come up with this conclusion even though it has only 8 episodes and two of them are only 35 minutes long.
The casting also looks inappropriate for characters like Duhamel, Bibb, and many others. Duhamel looks too old to play naïve young steel-industry scion Sheldon Sampson. He looks pretty odd in the ridiculous long ratty gray wig. The same goes for costumes as well because showrunners decided to make the costume similar to popular superhero figures without outright copying them.
There’s a mystery about cloned supervillain too but it was never considered in the main plot. The plot of Jupiter’s Legacy is more about its moral code and the sacred list of rules the Union’s members signed on when they got their superpowers.
Paragon and his allies believe that the bylaws are old-fashioned and dangerous, especially the one about not killing your enemies ever. There’s also a meta-commentary on superhero’s evolution over time from righteous Superman to ruthless Wolverine and Deadpool.
Sadly, the arguments about the code feel stiff and abstract and there’s a lack the drama too. All the scenes feel incredibly low-energy, and the dialogues are so bogus that they are very difficult to utter. For instance, there’s a dialogue, “I’ve learned that there’s a terrible gift to loss, which leaves nothing left to lose, which means you have everything to gain.”)
All the actors tried their best with the given material except Matt Lanter as he seems pretty uncomfortable during the flashback story as Sheldon’s wealthy friend George.
Superhero drama is getting lots of attention on OTT platforms. Marvel is making tons of new superhero shows for Disney+, Amazon already tastes the success with The Boys and Invincible, it can be considered Netflix’s attempt to gain some eyeballs.
Utopian is a very poor imitation of Superman, and superhero fans eager for more and more capes-and-cowls content will find Jupiter’s Legacy similarly lacking. It spends so much time on characters arguing about how they should fight that it never figures out why anyone should care about any of them.
All eight episodes of Jupiter’s Legacy are available now on Netflix. In the meantime, I suggest you to wait for The Witcher 2 and You 3.