Riley Wilcosh ’22
After the commercial and critical success of the adult superhero shows The Boys, Amazon Prime has once again been able to produce another top-tier show in the same vein. This being the animated gem, Invincible.
Drawn in an art style similar to many animated shows over the last decade (Venture Bros, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Batman: The Animated Series), the show preys on the viewer’s nostalgia. Because this style of animation is used, the tonal switch from gleeful to gory is quite effective. Invincible kicks off the series wonderfully fun, nearly making it through the first episode before plunging into its indulgent, graphic violence; it is a remarkable sight.
Just as the title card before each episode adds an extra splatter of blood, the violence slowly ramps up, climbing higher and higher with each episode. The violence reaches its full crescendo in the finale, displaying the heights of a mature animated show. But among this grotesque display of what an R-rated cartoon can achieve, it manages to hit more poignant and tragic notes.
The show starts off shallow and decidedly average, with a cookie-cutter Spider-Man-like story. But as we see more of each character, the viewer’s emotional attachment to them grows. Characters that were annoying now make you laugh. Characters that were heartless make you cry (especially in the finale, when both the blood and tears are free-flowing). While it doesn’t explore topics of ‘corporate callousness’ and ‘the realistic psyche of the characters going through superhero-flavoured events’ as The Boys does, Invincible does succeed where its spiritual predecessor failed. Invincible plays its gore and violence completely straight, never using it as comedic or thematic relief, especially in the harrowing finale.
I abstained from spoilers because if you have not seen it, I would encourage anyone and everyone to see Invincible, even if just to see J. K. Simmons voice a hard-core superman-type. Besides Simmons, the cast boasts an impressive array of talent, from Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead fame to Seth Rogen and Jon Hamm in minor roles. Every actor does a phenomenal job. Season 1 of Invincible is a treat, showing nuance and a certain freshness that makes rewatching and binging a breeze. The future for all of Amazon’s work in the same vein is bright, inching the streaming service closer and closer to gaining the mainstream appeal of its rival, Netflix.
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime