doom patrol review

Once DC Comics’ streaming service, DC Universe, announced that it was developing several live-action comic book adaptations, many were leery. However, the young upstart streamer defied the odds and delivered the polarizing Titans which, regardless of how you felt about the series, you had to admit that it wasn’t what we were expecting. Now, the DC Universe is tackling an adaptation of the story of the group that was once dubbed “The World’s Strangest Heroes.”

Doom Patrol is DC Universe’s second original live-action series following last year’s Titans. In an interesting move, DC decided to introduce the titular Doom Patrol, a group of heroes that aren’t the most well-known in comics lore, in Titans Season 1, and the group was positively received by fans and critics alike.

In the first couple of episodes of Doom Patrol, we are introduced to the group, brought together by Niles Caulder/The Chief (Timothy Dalton) who rehabilitates people who have gone through traumatic experiences. We have Cliff Steele/Robotman (Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan), an adulterous race car driver whose brain was salvaged and put inside a robot, attempting to reconcile with his past mistakes; Rita Farr/Elasti-Woman (April Bowlby), a former Hollywood star who became infected with a weird substance while on set, which makes her body stretch and shrink; Larry Trainor/Negative Man (Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk), a charismatic military pilot harboring a secret from his wife and kids, who is disfigured in a freak accident and has some sort of negative energy now manifested inside him; and lastly, Kay Challis/Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), a young woman with 64 different personalities, each possessing a distinct superpower.

When their leader, The Chief goes missing, the rag-tag team makes it their mission to find them and bring him back safely. They soon find out his disappearance is due to a farting donkey (yes, you read that correctly) and some entity called Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), who is able to mess with others’ sanity after he was experimented on by Nazis. Tudyk’s Mr. Nobody also serves as the narrator for the series, because what’s more fun that having the villain describe all of the trials and troubles that are placed upon our heroes?

In Episode 2, we’ll see Joivan Wade pop up as Victor Stone/Cyborg. Without revealing what’s going on with this iteration of the character (only Episode 1 was allowed for plot review), Wade gives a strong performance and in his first scene, establishing himself hands-down as the best live-action version of the character (no shade towards Ray Fisher in Justice League, but c’mon). As a whole, the cast really helps set the tone, bringing alive what possibly could have been seen as a misfire. But they bring the script to life and make us believe every moment of what this group of superheroes gets themselves into. Guerrero seemingly had the hardest task on her shoulders, portraying so many different characters in one, but she does so with ease and is handily the standout. But that’s not to say everyone else doesn’t kill it as well, with Bowlby and Bomer and Fraser all giving us great depictions of these tortured individuals.

It seems as if the team behind Doom Patrol took everything folks criticized about its parent series, Titans, and decided to do things totally different for this spin-off. A common critique of the first season of Titans was that the series took itself too seriously. All of that is thrown out of the window in Doom Patrol, as the show and its characters have a heavy sense of self-awareness. The narrator even states during the opening introduction of the series, “Critics are gonna hate this.” You can’t get more cognizant than that! Another critique of Titans was that it spent way too much time crafting a backstory for its heroes. Yes, there is time spent learning about all of our wacky heroes and how they came to be what we see them as now, but it is not long and drawn out and we still get the point.

Also, the fun thing about Doom Patrol is that none of them are meant to be superheroes  nor do they want to be (with the exception of Cyborg). Sometimes the underdog story can be played out, but that definitely isn’t the case with this series. Then, there will of course be comparisons to Titans, but the series are so different in tone that it would be impossible to try to figure out how they stack up directly against each other. While there is a whole season left to dive into and the series will definitely have to develop and pinpoint its central narrative clearer in the next episodes, the show is definitely off to a solid start and if you didn’t realize this before now — DC Universe means business.

Doom Patrol debuts Friday, February 15 on DC Universe and new episodes will be released each week.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: