The world needs legends.
In the apocalyptic battle between good and evil, where planet Earth and Time itself are at stake, heroes are not enough.
But what if the legends of Today were just the nonentities of Tomorrow – unless they commandeer a time machine to revise Yesterday and become heroes?
DC’s audacious “Legends of Tomorrow”, a 16-episode series which started last week, tackles that theme, assembling a motley array of protagonists with superpowers from sister series Arrow and The Flash plus new characters from the DC Comics pantheon.
The story opens in the year 2166. Time-travelling rogue, Time Master-in-a-trench-coat Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) watches the immortal Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) on the verge of bringing total chaos and utter destruction.
In a bid to prevent this Future – and avert the murder of his wife and son, Hunter travels 150 years into the past to assemble an ill-matched group of heroes and rogues.
He recruits billionaire inventor Ray Palmer a.k.a The Atom (Brandon Routh), who created an exo-suit with the power to shrink himself to miniscule size, a frustrated assassin who recently died and came back to life – Sara Lance a.k.a White Canary (Caity Lotz ), career criminals Leonard Snart a.k.a Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and partner Mick Rory a.k.a. Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), the meta-human Firestorm Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) with Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), flying couple Kendra Saunders a.k.a. Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée) and Carter Hall a.k.a. Hawkman (Falk Hentschel).
I enjoyed the first episode though I didn’t find Savage sufficiently scary and everything seemed too busy.
I mean, they have to pack the characterization of ten players, establish new rules of time travel and rev up the action to keep audience interest for the upcoming installments – all at warp speed.
Indeed it’s a huge ensemble but the possibilities of the series are immense.
Also, the setting shuttles back and forth through the Time continuum. This gives show makers artistic license to pull out variants of favorite super heroes and super villains, experiment with endless combinations.
Vandal Savage can even recruit a counterpart crew akin to the Legion of Doom versus Super Friends of the old days.
One scene from the first episode stood out in my mind: White Canary, Captain Cold and Heat Wave in a brutal melee in the 1970’s bar as the jukebox blared out “Love Will Keep Us Together”.
It was a welcome comic relief after two heavy death scenes, not counting the fact that the diabolical triumvirate showed real good chemistry and their devil-may-care attitude made them so much fun.
And there’s the part when Rip disclosed the real reason why he hand-picked the group – because they were truly “the nobodies of Tomorrow” who won’t mess up the timeline.
Each reacted in their own way –raging, wallowing in misery, feeling letdown before deciding they wanted to be the Legends of Tomorrow, come hell or high water. That’s it.
White Canary brought up a core motivation that’s pretty deep: “If we have the power to change the world, don’t you think we have the power to change our own fate?”
Needless to say, I look forward to the next Legends of Tomorrow episode this week.