Jupiter's Legacy cast

‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ Review: Ambitious Superhero Family Drama

Proving that the superhero genre is broad enough to adapt and evade fatigue, Jupiter’s Legacy provides an interesting spin that focuses as much on dysfunctional family dynamics as it does intrigue and adventure. It sits perfectly in the middle of the superhero scale – courting an older audience than Marvel while being more optimistic than the relentless cynicism of The Boys. Based on the graphic novels by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, the show introduces us to two generations of heroes. With the younger members under immense pressure to emulate their parents, they struggle with the ethics of their role in a world that is becoming increasingly dangerous and violent.

The older generation, led by The Utopian (real name Sheldon Sampson and played by a haggard-looking, aged-up Josh Duhamel), live their lives by a strict moral code. They never kill, and they never seek political power. Sheldon attempts to teach this to his own children, Brandon (Andrew Horton) and Chloe (Elena Kampouris), but his inability to distinguish between his family life and superhero alter ego has driven a wedge between them. It is also clear that the code gives heroes a distinct disadvantage against villains who would gladly use lethal force. Meanwhile, a secondary plot set in the 1920s explores Sheldon’s life before receiving his powers and tells the origins of the superhero union.

Thematically, Jupiter’s Legacy is clearly ambitious. The early episodes show Sheldon’s unbending, black and white worldview while examining its effect on the mental health of his children. Brandon dons his own super-suit, in the hope that he might one day live up to his father. Instead, he is chastised for the decisions he makes. When Brandon talks about his friends, Sheldon pauses, confused, before recognising them only by their superhero nickname.

Duhamel gives a brilliant performance as both old and young Sheldon. They are two sides of a coin – one a resilient idealist searching for truth and justice, the other gruff and tired, clinging to that idealism while others question its place in the modern world. The role allows Duhamel to show his range, and he succeeds by giving the most interesting performance of the show. This is rivalled only by Matt Lanter, who plays young Sheldon’s best friend, George Hutchence.

READ: Starlight will explore the softer side of Mark Millar’s storytelling

Aside from family drama and questions of morality, Jupiter’s Legacy is also comprised of standard superhero elements. There are a handful of fight scenes, and while not huge in scale they are serviceable. The show isn’t afraid of inflicting gory injuries on its characters, and this saves its fights from being extremely run-of-the-mill. The secondary plotline focusing on young Sheldon also creates a lot of intrigue and adventure. It keeps us guessing about what happened to him until the very last episode, and is definitely the more focused on the entwined stories the show is telling.

This ultimately lets the series down. Jupiter’s Legacy is an interesting and ambitious superhero tale that combines typical conventions with family drama and intrigue, but it is sometimes too ambitious. In the first few episodes, a multitude of characters are introduced, and most of them have their own individual plot threads. This is especially the case with Chloe, Brandon, and Hutch (Ian Quinlan), George’s son. These threads are woven together somewhat messily, with characters sometimes disappearing for a couple of episodes before their story is picked back up. There are simply too many characters to explore in eight episodes, especially when there are already two narratives being told.

Having said that, each character is interesting enough to warrant their screentime, and in the last episode, everything comes together in a thrilling cliffhanger conclusion with a surprising twist. Jupiter’s Legacy not only gives us superheroes, but also drama, intrigue, and adventure. Its ambition might be a weakness, but it’s also one of its greatest strengths. This is a promising first volume of what is shaping up to be a brilliant series.

Thank you for reading! If you’d like to support our website, you can follow us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *