The TV series is based on a comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker, and it’s another interesting entry in the growing pantheon of movies and TV shows that want to take the idea of superheroes seriously in one way or another. There are many ways of interpreting exactly what “seriously” means, and for superheroes, the options are usually big budgets, adult themes, gritty aesthetics, or gore. Or the seriousness can be something like psychological realism, a baseline assumption that superheroes might be people with uneven motives, petty grudges, and simple human desires.
“Invincible” starts as a fairly typical superhero story. Two blue-skinned giants wearing black-and-white spandex are launching a frontal assault on the White House, and a group of heroes swoops in to stop them. There’s Darkwing, a Batman surrogate with cool gadgets and a dark, winged suit; War Woman, a Wonder Woman replacement who wields a sleek golden club; Red Rush, a super-fast Russian dressed in red (and standing in for The Flash); Aquarus, the King of Atlantis and, rather than a muscly, bearded, Jason Momoa-type, is instead a human-sized fish. Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern knock-offs complete the Guardians of the Globe, but their de facto leader is Omni-Man (voiced by J.K. Simmons), who’s like the graying, mustachio’d Superman fans once dreamt they’d see in “Justice League.”
Though The Boys isn’t an animated series, as we learn more about Omni-Man and the Guardians of the Globe, there’s certainly a feeling to the show that’s reminiscent of that series. There are also shades of Spider-Man and Batman Beyond here, as new heroes learn about using their powers and joining the legions of heroes around the world.
A big part of Invincible’s charm is in the way it has little use for most of the traditional sources of drama in superhero storytelling. Keeping his powers a secret from his parents isn’t a problem — the entire Grayson family knows about Omni-Man. And it’s set in a world that’s familiar with superhero tropes, without winking at the camera about it. It’s also casually hyper-violent and gory in a way that feels jarring, but also essential to the show’s worldview: While it’s not a cynical take on superheroes, it wants to engage with the violence of superpowers, and it presents a world where superhuman dust-ups aren’t great for innocent bystanders. There’s a self-awareness to the series that’s easy to appreciate, and it hits even better when it lays its cards on the table at the end of its premiere.
Invincible is one of the most intriguing riffs on the classic superhero yarn we’ve seen in some time. From its slick animation to its excellent voice cast, it’s a winner from top to bottom. And just when you think you know exactly which direction it’s going to explore, it pulls the rug out from under you in a truly exciting way. The long-running comic series couldn’t have been made into a better-serialized format, and if the rest of the show is just as interesting as this one, Amazon has quite the hit on its hands.
Amazon has renewed Invincible for two more seasons, which means much more blood-filled action is on the way.
Final Score – [8.5/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)
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