“Jupiter’s Legacy” 1st Trailer Is…Embarrassingly Bad

I want to believe Jupiter’s Legacy is just a victim of extremely poor marketing. Certainly it wouldn’t be the first time Netflix has unwittingly self-sabotaged their own original content with marketing that ranges from nonexistent, to deeply misguided, to “what were you even thinking?”. But if you’re going to toss around big words like “visionary” in the trailer for your upcoming superhero series, I’m sorry, but I expect it to look a little bit more compelling and/or visually interesting than an angsty CW ripoff of The Boys, The Snyder Cut, and…The Incredibles.

Jupiter's Legacy
Jupiter’s Legacy | syfy.com

The thing is: we’ve seen superheroes get deconstructed now hundreds of times, in those and other titles, often very well and very successfully. It’s not exactly a radical concept anymore, nor was it even that radical when the first Jupiter’s Legacy comics were published back in 2013. The Boys and The Umbrella Academy were just a few of the comics that had already appeared on the scene at that point, breaking new ground for the medium.

And The Boys in particular, both as a comic and an Amazon Prime series, has already shown us a world where superheroes are only heroic in front of the cameras, weaponizing their power to commit unspeakable atrocities whenever they’re not being filmed, protected from any form of justice by both the capitalist organization that funds their missions and their own violent disregard for laws or moral codes. Jupiter’s Legacy is…trying to be on that level, but from the looks of this trailer, the social commentary from the comics this series is based on is missing almost entirely; and as a result there’s no clear hook.

Jupiter's Legacy
The Union | superherohype.com

The superheroes in this world lack the savagery or intensity of the Vought Seven. Their powers mostly consist of the same generic combination of enhanced strength and flight, with bad CGI and boring fight-scene cinematography collaborating to ensure those overused powers don’t have any chance of coming across as fresh or exciting. Their costumes look like imitations of the Vought Seven’s sleek bodysuits and armor, but in heinous pastel color-schemes: giving some of the heroes the appearance of sentient Easter eggs, particularly those wearing long white wigs. They have a troubled family dynamic, but that’s been done to death at this point, from Pixar’s Incredibles to Netflix’s very own Umbrella Academy.

Based solely on this trailer, the one thing that really seems to set Jupiter’s Legacy‘s heroes apart is that they’re very old characters, who received their powers during a journey to a mysterious island in the early 20th Century. The golden-hued flashbacks to this era tease a concept and a genre that looks infinitely more interesting than whatever’s supposed to be going on in the modern day scenes, where the team of heroes known as the Union must reassemble to save the world from “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Darkseid!” (whose actual name is Blackstar, in case you were wondering).

Jupiter's Legacy
Jupiter’s Legacy | nerdist.com

The Jupiter’s Legacy comics, from what I can tell, are supposed to be quite good: exploring themes of generational division through the eyes of the children of superheroes struggling to uphold the burden of their family history. But that idea has been done before in comics and onscreen using superheroes (I repeat, Umbrella Academy), so you really have to work to sell that kind of storyline at this point – and instead the marketing is going for hollow phrases like “visionary” while clogging the screen with simply “more of the same”. Sadly, there’s not a thing in this trailer that doesn’t look like it was pulled from better source material.

Sorry, Josh Duhamel. Henry Cavill from The Witcher season one make-up test called: he wants his horrendous wig back.

Trailer Rating: 4/10

Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” Finds A Director!

Finally!

Lord of the Rings fans have been waiting with bated breath (or, at least, I have been) for news of the upcoming Amazon Prime adaptation of our favorite novel of all time: or, more specifically, the appendices of our favorite novel of all time, as well as posthumously published writings by the same author  – I mean, possibly: we don’t know how much Amazon has the rights to, but the fact that the island of Númenor shows up on their official maps suggests that they at least have the rights to Unfinished Tales, the only time in which that map was published in one of Tolkien’s own works – unless they’re going off of Karen Fonstad’s Atlas of Middle-earth? Or is it possible that-

Sorry about that, moving on. So, uh, yeah, where was I? Oh yes, we’ve been waiting to hear some solid news about the show – there was a flurry of excitement early this year, when Amazon released some maps and a few tantalizing messages on their social media platforms, but since then…nothing. Brian Cogman of Game of Thrones was brought on as a consultant, and there were rumors the show would be filming in Leith, Scotland, in August (as you can imagine, those rumors had me pretty excited, since, you know, the name). But since then, literally nothing.

Over the last week, our excitement has blown up like one of Gandalf’s fabulous fireworks. Conflicting reports started coming out left and right – Amazon was filming possibly 90% of the show in Scotland! No, Amazon had actually changed their minds and was moving filming to New Zealand! The latter seems to be true, with Amazon pretty much officially settling down to start filming in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, where preproduction on the show has already begun. A casting call has gone out for extras, specifically for people to play soldiers and farmers. And now, today, we have breaking news that is sure to divide fans.

Juan Antonio Bayona, director of films such as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and The Orphanage, has joined the series and will direct the first two episodes of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings, along with his producing partner, Belén Atienza. In an official statement, Bayona said he “can’t wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age” – confirmation, if you needed it, that this show will cover events in the Tolkien legendarium long preceding The Fellowship of the Ring, or The Hobbit. Meanwhile, a new name has been added to the series’ team of screenwriters: J.D. Payne, Patrick McKay and Brian Cogman will now be joined by Gennifer Hutchison of Breaking Bad, a big win for the show. We know from previous reports that Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey is involved as a consultant, and famed Tolkien artist John Howe is part of the show’s creative team.

Coming hard on the heels of Netflix’s first look at their upcoming Witcher adaptation, this is proof that Amazon isn’t about to let anybody steal their thunder when it comes to the fantasy genre. I, for one, am hugely excited for the show (a little disappointed that Leith, Scotland, won’t be the main filming location), and I cannot wait for more news on this front. I’m expecting some more announcements at San Diego Comic Con, where Amazon will also be unveiling shows such as Carnival Row and The Boys.