Episode 1 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
There are a lot of superhero shows on the market. Since Spider-Man swung onto our screens back in 2002, Marvel and DC have slowly been chugging along, releasing a slew of big and small screen shows to satisfy every niche.
With Doom Patrol, The Boys and Invincible all filling in those darker and morally grey areas, it leaves very little wiggle room for a new contender to enter the market.
Netflix tried and failed to usher in its own superhero show last year, with Jupiter’s Legacy cancelled almost as quickly as it was commissioned. The Guardians of Justice then, is likely to follow in the same vein. Despite some quirky visuals, a nice satirical vibe and a couple of neat twists along the way, Guardians of Justice slips up with its execution, which is shaky to say the least.
Each of these seven episodes zip by like a hyperactive child that’s just eaten several packs of smarties. The show rockets through its story, leaving absolutely no time for characterization, depth or wiggle room to allow the world and characters to breathe. Unfortunately, this breathless pace also breezes past the comedy, which largely fall flat in favour of the larger story at work.
The plot itself is, unfortunately, nothing new. Riffing on the ideas of the Justice League and Watchmen, the story takes place in an alt-historical world. World War III is stopped by an alien called Marvelous Man, who manages to unite humanity into a fragile world peace. However, forces behind the scenes conspire to bring him down, determined to start a nuclear war.
After four decades, Marvelous Man decides to commit suicide, which he does live on TV. His subordinate, Knight Hawk, believes there could be foul play involved so he sets out to find who among the Guardians of Justice is responsible for killing him. But the truth is far more shocking than anything you could imagine.
And those shocks are about all that this show has going for it. There’s a lovely swatch and bait in episode 6 that turns the game upside down but it falls flat thanks to that aforementioned lack of depth.
That’s a problem that extends out to the supporting players too, who show up and disappear almost as quickly as they appeared. Their purpose seems to be solely to serve as a nod to their DC or Marvel counterparts, rather than actually advancing the story.
Case in point- Sepia Spider. Midway through the show we’re introduced to this character after a brief bit of expository dialogue. After an action set-piece, he’s never seen again. We know nothing about this character’s backstory or motivation beyond a few snippets dialogue. And that’s a trend that’s repeatedly constantly through these episodes, as Hawk gruffly narrates about the world, the characters and what’s happening around him.
All of this combines to form a pretty stale watch and one that’s as forgettable as it is flawed. Some of those flaws come from the aesthetic which attempts to blend various animation styles with a sort of live-action Cowboy Bebop hybrid.
While the intention here is to breathe that live-action anime style, while also dipping into the 8-s’ hedonistic, neon-washed vibe, this show is a mixed bag of cheap, amateurish sets and gorgeous animated stylings. The two go together about as well as yoghurt on steak.
It’s a shame too because there are some genuinely nice transitions and some beautiful bits of animation here, including stop-motion clay figures and CGI. Unfortunately, these visuals will only get you so far in this crowded field.
Unfortunately Guardians of Justice is not a show I can recommend to anyone. With so many other superheroes shows out there, most of which doing a far more competent and rewarding job than this one, Guardians of Justice is another dud and a failed superhero experiment to add alongside Jupiter’s Legacy.
Verdict - 3.5/10