Recently, we caught up with the rest of the world thanks to borrowing DVDs from some friends. (Thank you!) One of the shows we caught up on was Doom Patrol. I had found the trailers intriguing despite not being familiar with the comics. It looked funny and unusual. What I wasn’t expecting was absolutely unique and quirky characters with true insight into characters with mental issues and disabilities. These are not your average everyday type of heroes and if you expect that, this might not be for you but it certainly was for me. I loved getting to meet a different kind of hero.
We meet each character through flashbacks and as they grapple with their various abilities, or new identities. We have Robotman (Brendan Fraser), who has his entire body replaced. We meet Rita Farr (April Bowlby), film star of the twenties who now can barely hold onto her form, let alone her beauty. Then we have Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer), who wears special bandages to prevent his radiated body from harming others and who also has a special passenger, a creature of energy that he shares his body with. Diane Guerrero plays Crazy Jane, who has 64 personalities, each of whom has special abilities. Joining them along the way is Victor Stone also known as Cyborg (Joivan Wade), who is half man, half cyborg and at odds with his father. The group is gathered by father figure Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton), a man with many secrets who is attempting to help each member of his family with their struggles with their abilities and inability to fit in with society. That inability to function wouldn’t be an issue until they encounter Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) who kidnaps Niles and leaves the group floundering as they attempt to get him back and defeat their own demons along with Mr. Nobody.
Possibly one of the biggest reasons I loved the show was that I didn’t realize that it starred at least two actors I love, Brendan Frasier and Matt Bomer. Both are talented and infuse their characters with wit, charm, and empathy. Brendan Fraser steals the show at times with his humorous portrayal while Matt Bomer weaves a complex character who is at odds with himself. The rest of the cast is equally skilled with their portrayals. Alan Tudyk never misses and as the nutty villain of the piece he narrates the story but we learn he has as many issues as the heroes. Timothy Dalton straddles the line of grey, his character not perfect but Dalton managing to not give away the darkness of the character from the beginning, his portrayal as a father figure warm and loving. Diane Guerrero is brilliant as Jane, portraying all of her various personalities with skill. Jovian Wade portrays Victor Stone as torn, distrusting, and full of doubt even with a confident exterior. One of the best performances is April Bowlby as Rita Farr. The character starts out full of pain and unwilling to help others but by the end the character comes into her own, strong and confident, a leader who steals the narrative back from the male narrator.
One of the best aspects of the film is the way that it portrays unique characters, none of which are the ideal hero and that is what makes this show so good. Even though at times we do have to see them working through individual issues, it is this very thoughtful aspect that makes this show so unique. None of the characters are perfect, each seemingly flawed but not by their seeming imperfections, their visible scars, their mental issues but by the inability to accept themselves and learn to live within society rather than apart. This insight is what makes this show so brilliant. If you like complex, unique characters, with presentation of differences like gay characters, mental illness, physical disabilities, then you will love this show. The stories work through a range of issues, like betrayal, mental health, accepting sexuality, female strengths, and trans characters, such as Danny the Street. Along with the main characters, we have Danny the Street, a cockroach and Animal-Vegetable Man, each unique and while unusual, each compelling and dynamic. While it is not for everyone, if you like a more character driven show, you should check this out.
Rating: 5 out of 5 weird moments