Review on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot, Part 1”
As DC’s comic book movies are building towards an epic superhero team up, the television division has gotten to a head start in the form of Legends of Tomorrow which debuted Thursday night on the CW.
Legends of Tomorrow wants to be a bold adventurous sci-fi romp through time. It’s got the time-travelling part down, the rest is a work in progress.
Is it so wrong to critique a pilot for … being too much like a pilot? Consider that all but one of the main characters were already established on The Flash and Arrow. We would hope that Legends could hit the ground running. The conundrum is that while Legends is a spin-off show, it still needs to cater to new viewers getting to know the team members for the first time.
The pilot does a decent job of introducing the team which includes Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer (aka the Atom), Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold /Leonard Snart and Caity Lotz as Sara Lance (aka White Canary). A large part of the episode is rightfully spent on establishing the motivation for each individual to join and stay with the team. Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory/Heat Wave has the best motive/quip “I just like to kill people“.
What’s gets lost in the mix is showing why these characters are so darn likable. This was done better on The Flash and Arrow where these characters had individual time in the spotlight. In a 40 minute pilot (minus the commercials) there just isn’t enough time to have all 9 team members make a strong initial impression.
The question heading in is how awesome would the team chemistry be with all these super powered heroes and trouble makers? We should get a better feeling for the team once they have the chance to gel. However, off the bat the fresh appeal was lacking and the fun factor wasn’t consistent enough.
The relationship that’s having trouble translating from the written page to the screen is Ciara Renee as Kendra Saunders (aka Hawkgirl) and Falk Hentschel as Carter (aka Hawkman). They are eternally intertwined as lovers from one life to the next, which supposedly sounds all deeply romantic and all. But because they are in the beginning of a relationship cycle where Hawkgirl isn’t comfortable in her own skin yet and there is a divide between them, their scenes together come off as lacking in chemistry.
The strongest hero pairing is Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein and Franz Drameh as Jax Jackson. Where Hawkgirl /Hawkman are a little too stiff and serious, the duo who make up Firestorm gets some of the better laughs. Garber is consistently strong whether doing comedy or playing the science buff. The pilot does a good job by showing why Dr. Stein is a courageous hero even when not as Firestorm.
Another bright spot is Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill as time master Rip Hunter. This is excellent casting. Rip was an unknown factor because he wasn’t set up in The Flash and Arrow. He’s one part wrangler, one part time-travel guide and is sort of the glue that’s holding these characters together. Rip rounds out the team very well.
The pilot ends on a solid story beat which gives the team a purpose that is both meaningful and personal. It’s clear what the week to week formula will be. Rip even says it to the team as if they were the TV audience at home.
The thing is that we’ve already seen the rag-tag team of comic book based misfits done better and very recently.
Still, there is definitely potential if Legends of Tomorrow gives us a team we can whole heartedly root for as they dive into epic comic book moments throughout the past and future.
The start to Legends of Tomorrow is a tad underwhelming given it’s promise, but is good enough to warrant further viewings as it hopefully develops into a stronger superhero team based show.
What will make or break your decision to watch Legends of Tomorrow? If you watched it, what did you enjoy or dislike about the Pilot, part 1?