Its highest triumph is as an unprecedented live-action exhibition of DC Universe mythology that seemed a long time coming. Throughout cinematic history, most times superheroes have invaded the silver-screen anew, it has been confined to the well-known names–Superman, Batman, X-Men–resulted in brief multimedia booms about those well-known names, before receding for a while. For nearly a decade now, though, the genre has found a way to be self-sustaining; with almost every bit of media centering on a certain character laying the groundwork for a new bit of media centered on a certain other character–but it was almost solely Marvel whose films were doing this. Even-so, the recent years have proven DC just as capable of digging deep and crossing over in the television realm, with The Flash and Arrow inhabiting the same continuity and bringing in all sorts of niche characters beyond what would be seen as the core requirements for their series. Now, those niche characters are posed to break out onto their own with Legends of Tomorrow, and it juggles its ensemble with sufficient grace for even people unfamiliar with its predecessors to grasp.
Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) is a British time-traveler from the 22nd Century, who recruits/rescues/captures various talented and/or superpowered people from the present day, including Leonard “Captain Cold” Snart (Wentworth Miller), Sara “White Canary” Lance (Caity Lotz), and the two-people making up the fusion-hero, Heatwave, Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jay Jackson (Franz Drameh). The entire world, Hunter explains to the crew, is under threat from the immortal illuminatus Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), who served as the villain of last year’s Flash/Arrow crossover event and has managed to cheat death once again. It feels sudden, but he assures the team that they are fated to thwart Savage, and become, as the title suggests, legends.
With that quick but rather sufficient exposition, the ragtag team boards Rip Hunter’s space/time ship, and embarks on a Star Trek-style expedition to the 1970s in order to speak to and rescue an old nemesis of Savage’s, Dr. Aldus Boardman (Peter Francis James). In the process, ample amounts of character drama and action occur; it’s no The Avengers, but it’s impressively easy to follow given how convoluted it could have been.
Where this episode thoroughly underwhelms, though, is in the time travel central to its mechanics. LOT’s 1970s feature some Afros and lower inflation, but aside from that they could be any time with more-or-less recognizable technology and conventions relative to today’s. By the end of the episode, the strange fellowship of heroes and villains are already leaving again; further demystifying the trip. Similarly, so far there is no Back to the Future-style exploration of The Butterfly Effect this time, although to be fair, we’ve yet to see the cast arrive back in the present.
With that in mind, there is still everything to play for. What the showrunners can hopefully remember is to do more than try to duplicate the success of past works that involve a colorful crew traveling aboard fantastic aircraft, and also play up that this work’s fantastic aircraft can time-travel. That’s what will take Legends of Tomorrow from plenty-watchable to plenty-memorable.
Leave your thoughts on this review and this episode of Legends of Tomorrow in the comments section below. For more Legends of Tomorrow photos, videos, and news, visit our Legends of Tomorrow Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ or “like” us on Facebook.