What to watch | Ageing superheroes, a quirky dramedy and a gorgeous animated adventure

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
First-generation superheroes Brainwave (Ben Daniels, left), Lady ­Liberty (Leslie Bibb) and The Utopian (Josh Duhamel) struggle to 
adjust to modern times in Jupiter’s Legacy. (PHOTO: Netflix)
First-generation superheroes Brainwave (Ben Daniels, left), Lady ­Liberty (Leslie Bibb) and The Utopian (Josh Duhamel) struggle to adjust to modern times in Jupiter’s Legacy. (PHOTO: Netflix)

Jupiter's Legacy Volume 1 ***

Sci-fi action. With zillions of superhero shows and movies out there, it’s not easy to stand out. This series is based on the comics by Scottish writer Mark Millar, who may not be a household name, but whose work has been adapted into films such as Wanted (2008), Kick-Ass (2010) and Kings­man (2014), which most movie­goers will recognise. 

Millar’s involvement in Marvel’s The Ultimates and Civil War comics has also had an enormous influence in shaping the Marvel Cinematic Universe beloved by millions. 

Jupiter’s Legacy flits between the present day – where an aging team of heroes, led by The Utopian (Transformers’ Josh Duhamel in dodgy old-age makeup) and Lady Liberty (Leslie Bibb) battle supervillains and squabble with their kids over the family’s legacy and place in the world – and the 1920s, with a more compelling story about the heroes’ origins.

The ensemble cast, which also includes Ben Daniels (The Crown) and Matt Lanter (Timeless), are pretty good, as are the action set pieces, but the moralising, introspection, family drama and social commentary the characters indulge in is too heavy-handed – and has been better handled – in other superhero shows such as The Umbrella Academy and Watchmen.

For fans of comic-book adaptations Jupiter’s Legacy is watchable enough, but don’t get too attached to this superteam – the show has been cancelled. The good news is that at least one spinoff set in this universe is coming soon – Supercrooks. –DENNIS CAVERNELIS


The King of Staten Island *** 1/2  

Pete Davidson, Steve Buscemi, The King of Staten I
Pete Davidson (left) and Steve Buscemi in The King of Staten Island. (PHOTO: Universal Pictures)

Comedy drama. Scott (Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson) has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter father’s death. 

He lives with his mother (Marisa Tomei) and spends his days smoking dagga with his friends while dreaming of being a tattoo artist. When his mother starts dating Ray (Bill Burr), a local firefighter, Scott is forced to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.

This semi-autobiographical dramedy is co-written by director Judd Apatow, Davidson and former SNL writer Dave Sirus. 

It’s loosely based on Davidson’s life – he grew up in Staten Island and, when he was seven, lost ­his firefighter father in the 9/11 ­attacks. While the film changes some of the details, it remains an edgy, honest story with heart-­warming and hilarious moments. 

Fans of Apatow’s meandering offbeat comedies such as Knocked Up (2007) and This Is 40 (2012) will enjoy this quirky, heartfelt film that, to its credit, is a little darker than his past projects. Davidson delivers an ­excellent and moving performance, as do the supporting cast. – CAMILLA THOROGOOD


WolfWalkers ***

Mebh, Robyn Goodfellowe, WolfWalkers
Mebh (left) and Robyn Goodfellowe in WolfWalkers. (PHOTO: Wildcard)

Animated fantasy. This gorgeous animated film is the third in a loose trilogy based on Celtic mythology by Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon. 

Its 2D hand-drawn style, inspired by illuminated manuscripts, instantly sets it apart from the glut of glossy CG animated movies that now dominate the medium and the love and care that went into every frame is evident. 

Robyn Goodfellowe (voiced by Honor Kneafsey) is a rebellious ­English girl whose father, Bill (Sean Bean), has been summoned by the Lord Protector (Simon McBurney) to exterminate the wolves in a nearby forest in Kilkenny, ­Ireland, in 1650.

Robyn wants to be a hunter like her father, and, disobeying him, follows him into the woods, where she encounters a wild girl, Mebh – pronounced “maeve” – (Eva Whittaker), who challenges everything Robyn believes. 

Themes such a friendship, loyalty, superstition and nature conservation make WolfWalkers a timely ­story. It’s just a pity the plot hinges on irritating clichés such as kids not heeding their parents’ valid warnings – putting everyone in needless danger – and misunderstandings that could be easily resolved if only the characters weren’t so ­obstinate. A few repetitive scenes could also have been trimmed.

However, its distinctive animation, a thrilling dream sequence set to an ­enchanting song, and a satisfying ­finale make this Oscar-nominated movie well worth watching.


A: All ages   D: Drugs   H: Horror   L: Language   N: Nudity   P: Prejudice   PG: Parental guidance S: Sex  V: Violence

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()