This week, the brilliant minds behind Arrow and The Flash brought us their own, unique spin on the superhero team-up genre. That’s right, The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, the brainchild of Greg Berlanti, Marc Gugenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg, made its world premiere as what is sure to be another huge success for the DC television universe. While the episode had its ups and downs, the coolest part of the Pilot Pt. 1 episode was its knack for throwing in Easter Eggs and its share of plot twists. The show features the best of the best “B-List” DC TV heroes and villains pitted against the treacherous and notorious comic book fan-favorite, Vandal Savage. The Atom, Firestorm, White Canary, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Hawk Man, and Hawk Girl have all had their supportive moments on Arrow and The Flash, but now they finally get the spotlight to themselves.
I’ll go ahead and be totally honest, the first 15 minutes or so seemed to fall flatter than the producers probably had planned. It felt clunky, with a bit too much info-dumping, and overall felt like there were too many characters introduced (or reintroduced, I should say) rather quickly. The introduction of “group leader” and time traveler Rip Hunter seemed pretty weak to me, and I even felt like the better actors in the cast were having trouble keeping the ball rolling. However, once the plot was afoot, so to say, the Legends began to show its true colors. The ensemble aspects started to come into place, the characters started playing off of each other well, and the pacing felt natural and clean. All in all, I was impressed with how the second half of the “Pt. 1” episode played out, and I’m even more excited to see where “Pt. 2” of the Pilot leads.
As far as character portrayals go, there are a few obvious stand-outs in my opinion. Victor Garber, who has been a part of numerous award-winning television casts, shines above the rest as far as sheer talent goes. Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/The Atom, despite his unluckiness as having a terrible script in Superman Returns, again proves that he has what it takes to fill the boots of a superhero. Wentworth Miller, as the villainous Captain Cold, even brings a sort of eerie charm to his character that really seems to play well with the other supporting cast. My biggest surprise, and perhaps the actor I changed opinions about the most, was Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter. To start off the episode, disappointed didn’t even come close to how I felt about his portrayal. However, by the end of the episode, he was honestly one of my favorites. A complete 180 degrees, Darvill managed to pull off an exceptionally emotional scene with flying colors, and that’s what sealed the deal for me. As far as weak points go, I have to say that Victor Garber’s other half of Firestorm, Franz Drameh, really falls flat here. I wasn’t a fan of his acting on The Flash, and I was proven right again in Legends. He works well onscreen when he isn’t carrying the dialogue, but every now and then he has his moments of weakness.
But after all that has been said, the question remains: What makes Legends of Tomorrow worth watching? I mean, it’s a superhero team-up…are we really going to fall right back into another one of these? My answer: yes. Consider this, and allow yourself to decide on your own…Legends of Tomorrow brings a familiar superhero vibe to the table, a la The Avengers. However, the biggest reveal of the story is what truly makes it unique. When Rip Hunter recruits his team at the beginning of the episode, he tells them all that while they may not be well-known in 2016, in fact they are “legends” in his future. Yet, they find out later that the ACTUAL reason they were picked is because they “had the least impact on the chronological timeline.” In other words, they’re nobodies. And while this angers the group at first, they decide to stay on and help Rip Hunter bring Vandal Savage to justice, and as a result, change their own fates. While it might not be completely obvious, I think this is actually most comparable with Guardians of the Galaxy, in many ways. This rag-tag bunch of “A-holes” bands together to stop a common enemy, and as a result becomes a team of heroes and “legends” in the process. Legends is sure to tickle the fancies of DC, Marvel, and even Doctor Who fans alike. Ultimately, they got me hooked, and I’ll be back for more next week.
So what do you think? Can you make a truly compelling show based off of a cast of B-List supporting superheroes, or will there be a “Green Arrow or Flash-sized” hole in the cast? Will Legends of Tomorrow be a success or a flop? Time will tell, but for now I’m actually really digging where this show is heading.
Image Credits: Legends of Tomorrow/The CW