Jupiter’s Legacy is based on a 2013 comic book which I hadn’t heard of until now, and centres around the world’s first superheroes, whilst jumping back and forth in time, slightly, to tell its story.
The opener begins with a scene set around 20 years ago (although it didn’t state onscreen, precisely), where a young girl called Chloe discovers she has super powers whilst two male friends are winding her up and she rather reacts.
Fast-forward to now, and similar to the Avengers, these good guys are superheroes who save the world, stepping in to deal with the bad guys – not just regular criminals, but super-baddies as well.
Josh Duhamel takes the lead, and fatherly role as Sheldon Sampson, known as The Utopian, who leads this superhero team known as The Union. But being a superhero ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, as he still has the usual trappings of modern life. Married to Grace (Leslie Bibb), who can flick the caps off beer bottles with her fingers, they have kids who can be rather a pain at times, with daughter Chloe (Elena Kampouris) rebelling against pretty much anything, while son Brandon (Andrew Horton) behaves like a grumpy teenager.
However, Sheldon knows he needs to play the long game because he won’t be around forever, and so in time, one person will be the next Utopian.
In one aspect of this which is quite interesting, the show mixes 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio superhero ‘present day’ clips with 16:9-filmed segments, set in 1929 Chicago, just as the Wall Street Crash is about to happen. Before long you’ll discover why that period in time is important, with the drama flicking between them, but I don’t want to give spoilers.
However… at the time of writing this, I’ve seen two episodes, and even just watching the first one, I felt like I was just waiting for things to start. For a show about superheroes, there’s an awful lot of standing around, talking and pontificating, such as when Sheldon and elder brother Walt (Ben Daniels, with the most coiffured beard ever) waste time conversing about how they could’ve changed world events by intervening.
But even when some action does happen, such as a baddie called Blackstar breaking out of the Supermax prison, and ready to cause havoc, it just felt like a copy of Magneto clearly finding it no barrier to be stuck in a plastic complex at the end of the 2000 X-Men film. Similarly, seeing one good guy having mind control powers, and another having flaming hands… it all feels like repeating old X-Men films.
Plus, there’s a lot of shouting from various cast members, but somehow there’s a ‘Code’ which means killing baddies is forbidden… even though those baddies aren’t quite so picky, which is completely nuts as a policy.
So, unless I hear this series really takes off, I’ll be bailing after two episodes. There’s so much these guys could do, and they only have eight episodes (in this first season) to tell their story, so why to they waste so much time with content that’s not interesting? Would 2012’s The Avengers have been such a draw if it had been two hours of being sat in that cafe at the end of the film?? Seeing Sheldon being very disapproving of Chloe, for example, just feels like a dull soap opera set in a superhero world.
Jupiter’s Legacy is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from Friday April 23rd 2021.
Episodes 1-2 Score: 3/10
Directors: Charlotte Brändström, Christopher J Byrne, Marc Jobst, Steven S DeKnight
Producers: Sang Kyu Kim, Steve Wakefield, Brook Worley, Morenike Balogun
Screenplay: Julia Cooperman, Steven S DeKnight, Henry GM Jones, Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn
Based on works by: Mark Millar
Music: Stephanie Economou
Sheldon Sampson / The Utopian: Josh Duhamel
Walter Sampson / Brainwave: Ben Daniels
Grace Sampson / Lady Liberty: Leslie Bibb
Chloe Sampson: Elena Kampouris
Brandon Sampson / The Paragon: Andrew Horton
Fitz Small / The Flare: Mike Wade
George Hutchence / Skyfox: Matt Lanter
Raikou: Anna Akana
Ruby Red: Gracie Dzienny
Blackstar: Tyler Mane
Jane: Meg Steedle
Chester: Richard Blackburn
Barry Bishop / Tectonic: Stephen Oyoung
Petra / The Flare II: Tenika Davis
Willie Small: Tyrone Benskin
Briggs / Flaming Fist: Gregg Lowe
Sierra / Ectoplex: Aiza Ntibarikure
Richard Conrad / Blue Bolt: David Julian Hirsh
Young Brandon: Aidan McGraw
Young Chloe: Sabine Halsey
Young Jake: Ishaan Natarajan
Iron Orchid: Sharon Belle
Vera / Phase Out: Kathryn Davis
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.