Legends of Tomorrow: “Pilot, Part 1” Series Premiere Review

Photo Credit:http://www.comicsonline.com/2016/01/advance-review-legends-of-tomorrow-pilot-parts-1-2-series-premiere/

So it’s come to this. Arrow spawned The Flash and now together they have spawned Legends of Tomorrow, a time travel superhero show featuring a cast full of B- and C-list comic book characters. It’s striving to be the TV equivalent of Guardians of the Galaxy. The amazing thing is, it kind of works.

The first half of Legends of Tomorrow‘s pilot is so off-its-rocker ridiculous and full of big personalities that it manages to be a ton of fun. Ray Palmer, a.k.a. the Atom (Brandon Routh), charmingly discussing scientific legacy with Dr. Stein (Victor Garber), who’s also half of the superhero Firestorm when fused with Jax Jackson (Franz Drameh)? Great! Sara Lance, now known as White Canary (Caity Lotz), getting into a bar fight in costume for no reason alongside Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell)? Yeah, I’ll watch a few seasons of this.

Don’t get me wrong, this show is dumb and cheesy. The only new character, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), quickly tells us who he is with, “I’m from East London…oh, and the future.” It works because both the show and the actor know this is a terrible line and take full advantage of it in setting the tone. This isn’t a dark, gritty Marvel Netflix series. This is a CW DC series and it wears that honor prouder than The Flash or Arrow.

The skeleton of the premiere is a slightly rushed version of that in Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Avengers. It’s a formula, but a good one. Rip Hunter has to gather this band of misfits to take down an immortal foe known as Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), who takes over the world in 150 years. Once assembled, their first lead is in 1975, using groovy tunes to add to the playful tone.

Of course, there’s got to be a climactic fight against some villain. Here, it’s a bounty hunter known as Chronos from Rip’s time. The fight itself is much less about him and more about seeing all the Legends in action together. That said, having eight superheroes fight one bounty hunter felt like a bit of overkill. This is a show that will likely benefit from a slew of disposable henchmen in the future.

Still, there’s no denying that Legends of Tomorrow is worth any superhero fan’s time. This pilot establishes some very fun dynamics that will hopefully be further explored as the season goes on. So far, this fun group of diverse personalities leaves a lot to look forward to. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • White Canary and Atom are sort of shoehorned back into Arrow for the first act of the episode to establish their history on that series. It’s very clunky, especially with how dark last night’s Arrow was. That said, as an Arrow fan, I really liked the moment where Laurel gave Sara her costume. It was a nice payoff for the sisters who keep finding strength in each other.
  • Rip Hunter’s laser pistol looks like something out of Firefly. I’m more than okay with Legends of Tomorrow taking up the mantle as a fun ensemble series akin to Joss Whedon’s tragically cancelled classic.
  • Pretty much the whole cast got their moment to shine in the pilot. But let’s be real, Captain Cold and Heat Wave are by far the biggest scene-stealers.
  • Sara Lance has had a lot of great stuff on Arrow over the years, but none of them compare to her chillin’ in a bar in 1975 in her full superhero garb, hitting on women, and getting into a bar fight. Finally away from all the melodrama of Star City, this character now has a chance to be fun!
  • At the moment, my biggest concern is that Savage doesn’t look like he’ll even come close to matching Malcolm Merlyn, Deathstroke, Ra’s al Ghul, or Reverse-Flash as the season’s big bad. But only time will tell.

By Matt Dougherty

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