Review by Sean Boelman
Mark Millar is one of the most acclaimed comic book writers in the industry, hence why the new Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy, based on one of his properties, was so highly anticipated. Unfortunately, due to subpar acting and a complete lack of forward momentum, this is one of the biggest duds that the streamer has put out in their history of original programming.
The series follows the children of the first generation of superheroes as they struggle to live up to the legacy that their parents have set for them. This definitely isn’t the first time that there has been a story about superpowered kids trying to live within the image of their family, and it won’t be the last either, but this is the first one that has been so intentionally edgy to the point of shooting itself in the foot.
One of the issues with the series is that it is unable to settle on a tone. It wavers between being campy (sometimes on purpose) and gritty (occasionally unintentionally), which is entirely off-putting. However, even more frustrating is the fact that this feels like eight hours of build-up to something that never comes at the end.
There are some things to be said in the series about heroism and patriotism, but the writing is extremely on-the-nose and didactic, not to mention the fact that nearly every superhero movie or show ever made deals with the same themes. The series ultimately focuses more on these elements than the loyalty to one’s bloodline angle, which is far more interesting, if not entirely unique.
The thing about the series that is perhaps the biggest letdown is the lack of world-building. Millar’s work is known for vibrant characters and immersive mythology, and this just feels painfully generic. Even the side story that details how the parents got their powers is a bland and ambiguous origin story.
Josh Duhamel gives a performance that is nearly unforgivable in the lead role. It’s clear that he’s trying his best, but due to a combination of poor writing and the fact that he is seemingly imitating other, better heroic turns, his delivery is never believable and frequently laughable. The only highlight in the cast is Elena Kampouris, who is the sole person who was able to infuse personality into her role.
One would think that a Netflix series based on comic books by a popular writer would have unlimited resources at its disposal, but it’s not evident in the final project. The set pieces are minimal, the CGI is atrocious, and the costume design is unimpressive. If the writing didn’t do it already, viewers will be drawn out of the world by the terrible look.
Jupiter’s Legacy is a massive swing and a miss for Netflix. Even those looking for passive amusement will likely find themselves bored by this largely conflict-free schlock whose legacy will ultimately be getting lost in the sea of content on the service.
Jupiter’s Legacy is now streaming on Netflix.