Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
There seems to be no end to superhero content released on the big and small screen. From Invincible and Doom Patrol through to Umbrella Academy and WandaVision, there are so many options to choose from across a variety of different genres.
While this is great for watchers, it also forces any prospective newcomers to the field to work that much harder to stand out. The latest to deal their hand is Jupiter’s Legacy.
Based on the comic series of thee same name, Jupiter’s Legacy is an interesting multi-generational series following the exploits of several different groups of superheroes. At the heart of this is the intriguing idea of what it means to be a hero, with specific emphasis on the blurring line between right and wrong. The game is changing. Villains are freely killing while the hero code of keeping foes alive is not setting well with the bright prospects of tomorrow.
At the heart of this stands Sheldon Sampson, going by the superhero name of Utopian. He embodies all the hallmarks of an idealistic hero, with Superman-esque powers and a righteous code involving no killing. Fellow super-powered wife Grace stands by his side, while golden child Brandon is groomed to become the next Utopian. Throwing a spanner in the works though is wild-child Chloe, who has cashed in her powers to become a model and drug-addicted party-goer.
Most of the show’s present-day timeline revolves around this family dynamic, with various different heroes and villains popping up. Specifically, a gang of thieves fronted by Hutch start to come into the scene around episode 3 and add an extra dynamic to proceedings. The catalyst for much of the ensuing drama though comes from Brandon, who kills a villain out in the battlefield and seismically changes the hero landscape. This is by far the strongest part of the whole story.
Alongside this story though is a slow and lethargic flashback timeline, depicting an origin story of sorts around a 1929-1932 timeline. This eats away at a lot of the run-time and while it’s interesting to give context to the first generation of heroes, it more often than not just feels like busywork. In fact, the entire timeline can get summed up with two words – fetch quest.
This essentially forms the crux of the drama across the season, as the show flits back and forth between the two timelines. In doing so, there’s a constant push/pull feel as the show struggles to set into a consistent rhythm.
This causes a particular problem when it comes to the character development, which varies between good and non-existent. The various supporting characters, for example, get barely any screen-time but yet when a few pass away in crucial fights, their deaths eat up a chunk of screen-time. Watching it, you can’t help but feel bemused that we’ve spent more time with these characters dead than alive.
These problems bleed across to the editing too, and Jupiter’s Legacy suffers quite badly from some awkward cuts between scenes. One moment early on sees Hutch excitedly tell his crew they’re going to steal a briefcase. The next scene, we cut to Hutch and co. charging away in their car. It’s awkwardly spliced together and it feels like an entire sequence was cut in post-production. That could perhaps explain the run-time, which flits between 35 minutes up to an hour between chapters.
Despite its flaws, the constant twists and turns along the way are enough to see you through to the end. There’s some great surprises lying in wait, right the way through to the final episode where the truth around what’s happening is finally revealed.
Along the way, Sheldon’s code is constantly challenged and even Sheldon himself starts to doubt what he’s doing. While the finale does end on an almighty cliffhanger, there’s just enough here to warrant a follow-up – unless the Netflix gods of cancellation strike of course.
Jupiter’s Legacy is a fascinating character study when it spends time in the present, but it’s bogged down by an unnecessarily long flashback timeline. Given how many other superhero shows there are out there, Netflix’s latest series just does not do enough to stand out. There’s certainly some fun fights and a couple of nice twists thrown in, but for now it looks like Amazon still hold the crown for the best small screen superhero exploits.
Jupiter’s Legacy releases on Netflix worldwide on 7th May 2021!
Verdict - 5.5/10