Spoiler Free Review
Jupiter’s Legacy just dropped for all the world to see, and it is rife with chiseled chins, dope action, and tantalizing family tension! Not the back to back descriptions you’d expect for a big budget comic book adaptation right? The golden age of superheroes in pop culture has created this buzz of excitement around new shows that break the traditional mold and provide a different or gritty take on the life of a crime fighter. Love em or hate em, The Boys, Jessica Jones, Titans, Umbrella Academy and Daredevil are good examples of this genre, but Jupiter’s Legacy has officially entered the conversation! Based on the comic by Mark Millar (that you should read immediately), this show comes packing one thing most superhero tales lack, a bonafide family dynamic that keeps you invested as much as, or more than the superpowers.
Once Netflix acquired Millarworld during the summer of 2017, then announced all of the shows or movies they were going to adapt from Millar’s collection of original content, we knew we’d be getting some dope nerdy content. But as soon as Jupiter’s Legacy was greenlit as the flagship show, all bets were off! THIS. IS. THAT. FLAMES. Coming out the gates with this one is as bold as it gets. You’re telling comic book readers and Netflix bingers, I’m bout to hit you with Wonder Woman hand to hand finesse, Superman strength potential for destruction, Batman unapologetic cerebral calculations with a splash of Game of Thrones meets Invincible savagery. AND THEY DID JUST THAT.
Jupiter’s Legacy: How Much is Good Enough?
The themes of unrealistic expectations and fatherhood are ripe from the jump. Steven S. DeKnight wants you to know what the demands of the ideal hero, The Utopian, look like in this super powered world. Of course, no one can live up to the mighty Sheldon Sampson played by Josh Duhamel. Duhamel for the record, is money in this role. His ability to take our main character and traverse decades, embodying the Sheldon necessary for each period is pretty impressive. Determined, chipper, and hopeful as a young man. Idealistic, prideful, and strong willed as a hundred year old superhero. Too many of those traits carry over to the father category, and so begins the paternal and fraternal conflicts that lie ahead in this show.
Son and daughter, Brandon and Chloe Sampson are on opposite sides of the disappointing progeny fence. One fails to live up to expectations in the field and the other drowns their expectations in booze, magazine covers, and foul language while casually spittin bars at the dinner table.
On the brotherly love side of things, Walter Sampson has stood by his brother’s bull headed side since he got these ideas of grandiose white savior into his head, but it is clear their philosophies have differed drastically in this new millennium. Comic book fans know the hum of all this static comes to a head in dramatic fashion, and I can’t wait to see how they adapt what’s coming!
A Proper Adaptation
As far as I’m concerned, the discussion between Sheldon and his brother Walter, alone and face to face, was the best part of this episode. The written material that allowed these two actors to gracefully bare their fangs was proper, and I hope they don’t forget about the power of conversation in this big budget action show.
Some would say free will is what’s bringing the world to its knees
This scene is essentially lifted from the comic book pages where similar words are exchanged between the brethren. In Jupiter’s Legacy #1, this happens in front of everyone, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this get moved to a more intimate setting, erecting a wedge between them off the rip. I love being able to visualize the original moments while their on-screen counterparts play out.
A similar panel, copy and paste, happened in the scene where 2 heroes are hanging back talking to each other, as the more powerful heroes are in the thick of a dangerous battle. From their greetings to nearly being crushed by the asteroid of bodies that come in HOT, you can tell Millar’s hands are all over this production, and it makes for more cohesive storytelling.
We Are Not Alike
As for the action, powers and hands, Jupiter’s Legacy comes correct. In just the first episode, it is clear the villains are genuine threats or have comedic upside, and that’s a winning formula Kevin Feige would be jealous of…if they can keep it up for the entire series. I think the vibe of the entire show was captured perfectly when one of our main characters rips his shirt open, revealing his costume (paying homage in a lightweight corny way) then masked gunmen graphically mow down officers in broad daylight! Strap yourselves in because this is just the beginning.
While we don’t get too deep into the supporting characters of the show, I must say that it is very comforting to know Netflix, Millar, and DeKnight felt it was important to increase representation in Jupiter’s Legacy. Race swapping an original island visitor was a strong move, and ensuring other people of color are seen throughout the rest of the show will be a delight after the anti AAPI evil we saw in Atlanta earlier this year. Mark Millar has a few comic books that feature heroines, so keep a look out for the women of this show and how they progress from premiere to finale.
There is no doubt that this is a modern superhero tale with some wild twists brewing. Mark Millar has said that this is the superhero epic he’s always wanted to bring to life. If Wanted, Civil War, Kick Ass, Kingsman, or Logan are any indication, this is going to go down as one of the best superhero stories out there.