To absolutely no one’s surprise, DC Comics’ streaming service has folded. Honestly, the news of its launch didn’t even garner as much attention as its demise. Largely due to the abysmal reception of DC’s cinematic universe. With the exception of the Batman trilogy and Wonder Woman, DC’s movies have been one disappointment after the other. It is extremely difficult to compete with the excellence that is Marvel’s cinematic universe. The Avengers franchise is, after all, the most profitable in movie history. DC does not even seem to try. Between the unbearably long, unentertaining Batman v. Superman, the confusing, lackluster Justice League, the dry Aquaman, the vision behind the films are as dim as the crappily lit movies they’ve created. Seriously, why are all of the movies so damn dark? Most moviegoers had all but given up on them long before the ambitious creation of the original series came into play.
Titans and Doom Patrol
Shockingly, DC Comics created the best projects of their franchise with the streaming service. Unfortunately for them, they went largely ignored until they were picked up by HBO Max. DC movies fall flat because they make the films too gritty and awkwardly include feeble attempts at humor. Creators made the fantastic choice to make Titans a drama and Doom Patrol a dark comedy. Titans is worth a watch. Doom Patrol, however, is the light at the end of a bleak tunnel. At its bare bones, Doom Patrol is your classic good vs. evil, super-anti hero series. A group of outcasts who don’t want to do anything, band together to try to save the world…..and hilariously screw it up at every turn. Actually, they are not really saving anything as much as they are trying to fix their screw-ups. The casting, storyline, and execution of the series set it apart.
One of Doom Patrol’s greatest assets is the use of its biggest stars. Brenden Fraser (The Mummy) and Matt Bomber (American Horror Story) are the series’ most notable actors. However, they spend the majority of the show as a robot, and a mummy-like figure, respectively. This gives the rest of the fairly unknown actors the opportunity to shine. Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New Black) excels as Crazy Jane, a troubled woman with multiple personalities. April Bowlby’s portrayal of Rita Farr and the character’s arc throughout the series is a truly inspiring story. All of these characters were brought together in a sinister, X-men like fashion. The series’ Professor Xavier-esque lead is Chief Niles Caulder. When he is kidnapped by the season’s villain, the group has to learn to be heroes in order to save him. The group finds an unofficial leader in Cyborg played by Joivan Wade.
Cyborg and the Hero Role
While this is not the first live action iteration of the character Cyborg, Doom Patrol’s version is the more successful. Previously featured in the Justice League film, Cyborg’s character was left ignored. Justice League almost completely skipped over his origin story, and the pieces we got were underwhelming. While Cyborg is a mainstay in the Titans comics, the film treated him as a useless sidekick. He was not brute strength (Superman), comedic timing (The Flash), or particularly intelligent (Bruce Wayne). He felt like a token, or better yet, like Joss Whedon simply could not be bothered to edit the actual storyline left by Zach Snyder. In fact, there is currently a lawsuit by Justice League’s Cyborg, actor Ray Fisher, regarding the harassment and racism he experienced once Whedon took over.
However, Doom Patrol made up for that and then some. He is the only one of the characters that wants to be a hero. Cyborg’s whole existence is centered around using his technology to save the world. He constantly attempts to boost the team’s morale to give them confidence in their abilities. Cyborg was the last to arrive but quickly became the glue to the rest of the team. Also, they refer to him by his name, Victor Stone, for the most part. Which helps to humanize the character in a way Justice League refused. Every character propels the series in a different way. The more we learn about their backstories, the more the series becomes a road to redemption for each of them. While they are all shrouded in some type of tragedy, there is an optimism that they still cling to.
Lest we forget, Doom Patrol is a comedy. So yes, there are dark moments, but the dark comedy of the series blends it all together perfectly. This works because the show does not take itself seriously. At all. It is completely outrageous, it is crass and hilarity ensues because of it. Doom Patrol is not the money grab the DC cinematic universe is. The show had nothing to lose as there were hardly any expectations, to begin with. It does not have to be wholesome fun for all ages like a film does. The Titans series is the more family-friendly of the two. Hell, even Deadpool is slightly more family-friendly. The best part of Doom Patrol is how it is constantly outdoing its own comedy. Just when you think it cannot be possible for the show to get more ridiculous, it does.
Overall, HBO Max did a great job in picking up Doom Patrol. It makes itself right at home at the streaming platform. Season 2 was unfortunately cut short due to the pandemic. However, they have decided to continue with season 3. Anyone looking for a crass, unpretentious, roller coaster ride of a show to watch should definitely give it a shot. In all honesty, there are only so many crime shows or medical dramas a person can take. Especially in this climate where it is all so depressing as it is. Step into a world where they continuously find the humor in how everything is going to crap. Here’s hoping the DC universe uses Doom Patrol as the framework for its upcoming movies. Maybe they would finally be able to step out of Marvel’s shadow.