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.
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.
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).
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