Jupiter’s Legacy is the latest comic book adaption to drop as of the time of my writing. I heard about it off and on as it was in production but honestly couldn’t be bothered to look into it. That is until I saw Mark Millar’s passion project. The guy made the Ultimates, better or worse his comics make good movies atleast. This is not about him or the works he did. Rather this is about what happens when you don’t balance your narrative. I don’t know how the comics flowed and I can clearly see how this disjointed story structure could have worked on paper. Just in the show, not so much. Enough beating around the issue let’s get too it. The series is about a superhero who has two massive disappointments for kids. Well in his opinion. To be fair to The Utopian he was a business tycoon during the great depression. He has a code that he expects heroes to live by. Especially when they are his kids. Not a bad show really.
It’s not a bad story, I mean it’s not great, it’s one I would have enjoyed enough watching start to finish. Just randomly, and I do mean randomly, it will cut back to the past. Like 100 years ago past. To the origin story for these heroes. Then it pops back to 2020 just as randomly. I can assume it did so in the comics. That would be pretty common given the short page count they have to work with. Just jump around after am ad page or so. Just in a show, a show on Netflix with no commercials, it is just a jarring jump cut. Still it could work if they tried to connect it with context or any way to tie the two narratives together. Heck even without it wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact that the origin story is so damn good.
Seriously it’s a depression era drama full of heart and mystery. Characters you instantly connect too and just project themselves fully with the smallest details and the little human moments. This is the story I want to see. Not saying the present day plot is bad, but compared to this it’s way worse. It feels like watching that old Garfield cartoon.
You tune in for Garfield and you are having a nice time all happy and relaxed until BAM! it shifts to U.S. Acres. About some lame animals on a farm that nobody cares about when Garfield was just here. Randomly switching narratives without reason will inevitably lead to one outshining the other. Especially when it didn’t have to be this way. It’s not like we are a season in and they wanted to do a backstory arc. We are not even invested in the characters yet for the most part. It could have been split easily into two 4 episode collections. Only I guess not because by the end of episode 8 there isn’t enough going on to merit stopping. They had a perfectly good miniseries length origin story series and decided to carve it up with a less than stellar first act of a follow up.
You are being forced into watching parts of what essentially adds up to the sequel just to see the more interesting story. Just to not have enough time devoted to the current plot to really feel satisfied. Flashbacks and prequels end when they wrap up what needs to be told. By starting the show with Utopian’s kids already running around, and then showing the other big players one by one. You essentially say “Hey, this story has to end okay look they have kids.” So a good amount of tension is removed and very little has been added. Sure it might be staying true to the way it was originally presented, but I always thought the point of an adaptation was to get a new audience. Sometimes this means updating the characters to be more inclusive like Invincible did. Other times this means changing up the story structure or altering events to fit the limitations presented like The Watchmen. Or sometimes it requires changing every aspect of the source material to make something brand new. In the end it’s fine no matter how it changes the source stays the same. I don’t know why they wanted to present it like this. All they did is cause me to not care about the big twist. A good twist sure. Just I don’t care. Yet Invincible made me go back to a comic I wrote off awhile ago and read 140 some issues. They took what could have been great and turned it into another show I’ll watch next time I think about it. You know, I’m no film critic, but I know what I hate, and I don’t hate this. Just I’m going to forget about it in about a week until Netflix drops a new season. That’s not a good thing.