Prime Video's Invincible is Wonderful

Posted on May 1, 2022 by Richard Goulter

Amazon Prime Video’s “Invincible” is probably most well known for the meme image.

I saw it recommended by the YouTube channel “Critical Drinker”.

So I watched the show, it’s pretty good!

In the same way that “Rick and Morty”’s Rick and Morty are kinda bastardised versions of “Back to the Future”’s Doc and Marty, “Invincible” is kindof a bastardised homage to superhero media the same way “The Incredibles” is.

It’s both a bit dark, at times emphasising cosmic-horror themes that underlie superhero shows, as well as poking fun of superhero motifs.

I find the show suspenseful and subversive.

“Subversive” seems almost a joke term with regards to how it was used to describe Star Wars’ “The Last Jedi”. TLJ pretty much shits on the legacy that came before it.. I think to the point where it’s so different from the material it’s ‘subverting’, that it’s not interesting to watch.

A better example of “subversive”, I think, was in the side quests of the game “The Witcher 3”. In the Witcher 3, you play a fantasy wizard-warrior. The game follows your expectations about 90% of the time. As in, 90% of the time, playing a heroic figure who rescues the people from monsters works out well, but 10% of the time you’ll be punished for being naive or foolish or whatever.

I think with “Invincible”, it’s similar.
The show knows what you’re set to expect, and will deliver on that most of the time; but will vary from that just enough to keep you on your toes.
So you end up with 3 or 4 plots going throughout the story where you’re not sure whether you can trust the characters or not.

I think the premise of the show is more interesting than the characters or plot of the show, though. – I found “Rick and Morty” less interesting as the show seemed to try to develop its characters.. but the characters are only really interesting as archetypes in the weird situations.
Invincible’s characters are largely not-Superman, not-the-Justice-League, etc. and I enjoyed them as they played a part in this half-ironic, mature interpretation of superhero stories.

The show’s worst part is definitely the main character’s love interest.
The love interest is the kind of person who reads Ta Nehisi Coates.. the character certainly doesn’t seem to get the same edgy interpretation treatment the rest of the show tells its story from. (Unless the love interest’s character is supposed to subvert our expectations that the superhero’s love interest be a likeable character. Which, maybe is the intent).
– I was fairly annoyed by one plot point: love interest and the main character are visiting a college campus when a villain terrorises the square. The main character runs off to Clarke-Kent-into-Superman, then fights and stops the villain. Afterwards, the love interest chastises the main character for running away and not helping people(?!). – We then find out she had already figured out that her boyfriend was the superhero. – It comes across as holier-than-thou, smarter-than-thou, author’s-daughter-stand-in character.

So. I dunno if the story’s going to be able to keep up the momentum. But, I think the edgy, humorous interpretation of popular culture is interesting. I think it’d be interesting to see Star Wars or whatever in a similar manner.

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