In an era brimming with superhero movies and television shows, studios seem to be at war with one another competing for the next big hit. Netflix’s newest Jupiter’s Legacy presents all the promise in the world, then falls short of a cohesive storyline that actually makes sense in the end.
Jupiter’s Legacy opens up audiences to a boundless world full of superhero characters fighting crime in some of the most original action-packed sequences in recent television. With the show playing off of two storylines, one within the present and another in an origin story-based past, the show divides its audience members from the start.
The central characters stem from a group of six superheroes who were the original power-wielding beings that fight crime in a group known as The Union of Justice. The past storyline follows their journey to an undiscovered island where they are granted gifts beyond imagination. Sheldon (Josh Duhamel) leads the group of crime fighters as the Utopian while his wife Grace (Leslie Bibb) leads beside him as Lady Liberty. Together they represent the highest form of power and justice within the world of good and evil.
The present-day storyline is driven by the original six superheroes’ children as they navigate the perils of modern-day supervillains who are obliged to kill. This is where the audience’s dissolution begins as older viewers may gravitate more towards the past storyline driven by classical film noir, while the present storyline takes an edgy approach at conveying modern interpersonal relationships.
The Utopian and Lady Liberty have conjugated a world that worships them as perfect beings of promise and idealism. This standard is then passed down to their two children who are in line to potentially become the next utopians of society. It is within this story arch that the present-day storyline becomes far more interesting than any origin-based plot points the past has to offer.
The two children of the Utopian and Lady Liberty provide a fascinating character study into the lives of overbearing parents that expect too much from their children. In one direction we see their daughter Chloe (Elena Kampouris) completely subvert the family tradition of heroism by succumbing to drug and alcohol abuse, while the son Brandon (Andrew Horton) follows in his father’s footsteps with hopes of becoming the next Utopian. This identification is the only real plot area that provides the show with dramatic moments that are worth watching.
The real heart of the show comes from “the code” each member of the union must uphold. This code protects any superhero from interfering in politics and from taking the life of another during battle. These morals were strong and true back in the 1950’s when villains were not as egregious in their tactics and motives. We see this idea also upheld within many other superhero comics like Batman, where the superhero vows to never take a life. This argument provides much grey area through the act of self-defense, showing the dilemma of a superhero’s choice to kill or be killed. The only wonder then is if the real villain of the show is not the crime seekers but the code itself.
The moral code archetype conjoined with family relationship affairs and hard-hitting action could have carried this show to greatness. Instead, the show falls short of its complex beginnings and kills any meaningful ideas it laid the groundwork for, ending with an unsurprising plot twist. Jupiter’s Legacy in itself is a superhero show that may try too hard at incorporating arduous storylines told in non-linear sequences, leaving little room for the action and fun viewers watch the genre for.
All episodes for Jupiter’s Legacy season one are currently available on Netflix.