By Juan Calvillo
Netflix’s “Jupiter’s Legacy” is an introspective, smart and visually stunning adaptation of writer Mark Millar’s comic book series by the same name.
The show takes its time addressing questions that other comic book movies and shows have only glossed over. It questions the role heroes have in an ever-changing world and if there really is “always another way.”
“Jupiter’s Legacy’s” storyline is told from two points of view. The current storyline is told in modern times, while the second storyline helps in explaining how the super powered people came to get their powers.
The storylines have threads that mirror each other throughout the episodes. It provides the audience with two stories that complete and complement each other.
The storyline told in the past shows the very human struggles that created the psyches of many of the original heroes.
The modern storyline focuses on the second generation of heroes, many of them being children of the original heroes, trying to make sense of rules and legacies that were created decades before their births.
The first generation heroes abide by a certain set of rules or ideals. This code is similar to many other superhero codes and frowns on the killing of villains.
The newer generation of heroes must contend with battling not only changing villains but also the pressure to conform to the expectations of the first generation heroes.
“Jupiter’s Legacy” is set in the early days of the United States, with the story taking place right after the Stock Market crash and the depression of the 1930s.
The story is about the Sampson family and their struggle to live like a normal family but also deal with living up to heroic ideals created decades before. Sheldon, played by Josh Duhamel, and Grace, played by Leslie Bibb, are the patriarch and matriarch of the family.
Brandon, played by Andrew Horton, and Chole, played by Elena Kampouris, are the brother and sister trying their best to live up to the ideals of their heroic parents.
From the main cast, it is Bibb that is most interesting and really a joy to watch on screen.
Her character seems at first to simply be parroting many of Duhamel’s feelings and perspectives as pertains to being heroes, but as the episodes continue she becomes much more three dimensional.
Bibb’s acting is best in the episodes that foray into the past, before she and her husband had powers. She’s shown as a take-no-spit from anyone type of woman.
It’s fun watching Bibb contend with characters who at the time still call her “a dame” because she comes back and gives them reasons to be intimidated by her character.
The supporting cast is full of interesting talent, but the stand out is Ian Quinlan who plays Hutch. Quinlan’s character is the son of a superhero who turned and became a super villain. Quinlan plays his character with both an intensity and smoothness that will cause audiences to think he’s a jerk— but one that can be redeemed.
“Jupiter’s Legacy” is beautifully created. Its use of computer graphics and practical effects is stunning, and the hero fights showcase the amazing action that would unfold if a half dozen heroes were to fight a villain at full tilt. It’s this visual flare that makes the fantastical moments of the show both believable and outlandish.
The inside sets used during the past storyline are beautiful and filled with time appropriate decors, crafts and minutia. During the modern scenes the settings always look lived in.
The only gripe is that there aren’t many superhero level battles during the show. The fights seem to bookend this first series. Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt the main attraction of the series which is the rich story being spun.
“Jupiter’s Legacy” allows it’s characters to analyze themselves and also allows the story to ask hard questions when it comes to power and its uses. The show is available to stream now on Netflix and is rated TV-MA.