Are These Really Legends?
Main Cast: Ciara Renee, Arthur Darvill, Wentworth Miller
Debut: January 21, 2016
“You call this a team? A girl with wings and a past lives complex? A deceased assassin? A pair of criminals? And a billionaire with more tech than he clearly knows what to do with! And I’m half a hero… and my other half is combustible! “ – Martin Stein, teaser trailer
The whole thing sounds insane, but was it crazy enough to work? Let’s find out.
Legends of Tomorrow: The Good
Sara: “Oh, come on. What’s the harm in us just… taking a look around?”
Stein: “With this group? Clearly, you haven’t been paying attention.” – “The Magnificent Eight” (season 1, episode 11)
The Legends are a diverse group. First is Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee), the reincarnation of an Egyptian priestess. Due to magic BS, she is the only one who can kill their main enemy, Vandal Savage. She is joined by The Atom (Brandon Routh), a genius in Iron Man-esque armor that shrinks. The other members are assassin White Canary (Caity Lotz), villains Captain Cold and Heatwave, (Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell respectively) and Firestorm (a fusion of Victor Garber and Franz Drameh’s characters.)
Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), a renegade Time Master, leads the team. Considering how much time traveling Darvill’s done, you’d think he would be a Time Lord by now.
Vandal Savage: “Who are you to stand up against me?! Vandal Savage, Destroyer of Empires!“
Captain Cold: “Leonard Snart, Robber of ATMs!” – “River of Time (“Season 1, episode 14)
Heatwave and Captain Cold are the team’s standouts. Captain Cold is a snarky crook who often figures out how to save the day. He is also treacherous, often abandoning missions to commit crimes. Throughout season one, he changes from a common crook with a freeze ray to a true hero.
Heatwave gets the most character development in the show. He starts as a thuggish, pyromaniacal lackey, who the team abandons. He is brainwashed by their enemies, but overcomes the torture.
Trippy Time Travel
Jax: “People actually wore this crap?”
Stein: “People smoked a lot of pot in the ’70s. It clearly had a deleterious effect on the fashion of the era.” – “Pilot” (season 1, episode 2)
Time travel is a double-edged sword that provides plenty of interesting events to interact with, but raises countless questions. For instance: how can you possibly fail at anything if you can just travel back five minutes and do it again?
Legends of Tomorrow uses time travel well. One episode might show the team traveling to a future dystopia, while another might have them defending a town in the wild west. And unlike some shows I could mention (cough, Doctor Who, cough cough Star Trek), they are clear about the rules of time travel and don’t just make stuff up to serve the story.
Legends of Tomorrow: The Bad
Hawkgirl: “Maybe that’s because, up until two months ago, I was a barista, not some damn winged demigoddess.” – “Pilot” (Season 1, episode 1)
Hawkgirl might be a main character, but she is the worst character in the show. She’s bland, boring, and spends more time being melodramatic than helpful. But the worst part is that everyone keeps telling Hawkgirl how important she is, because she is the only one who can kill Vandal Savage, an immortal who’s been killing her for millennia. I like Hawkgirl and Hawkman as characters, but not main characters if this is how they are portrayed.
Legends would end in one episode if the team ever realized, “Hey, why don’t we just KO Savage, chop him into little tiny pieces, and throw him into the sun?” But no, it’s gotta be Hawkgirl.
Sara: “I thought you knew how I was resurrected and what it did to me.”
Rip: “I know you were restored by something called the Lazarus Pit.”
Sara: “Well, apparently there’s a downside to being brought back to life. My friend, Thea, calls it a blood lust, and I think that’s being too generous, and so is calling me an animal. I’m a monster.” – “Blood Ties”, (Season 1, episode 3)
Legends of Tomorrow is the third show inthe Arrowverse and stars supporting characters from Arrow and The Flash. This leads to a lot of references to the previous shows, from in-jokes and character names to major plot points and spoilers. That can be troublesome if you haven’t seen all episodes of both shows. It’s not insurmountable, but it is annoying.
Legends of Tomorrow is an entertaining show bogged down by an annoying main character and a knowledge threshold. If you can get past those, it’s one of the better superhero TV shows.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.