Legends of Tomorrow: Will It Be Legendary?

The Legends of Tomorrow

As I write this, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has aired two episodes. I, like many, had been waiting anxiously for this show to premiere. However, did last week’s pilot meet (or even exceed) our expectations? Did this week’s episode make the show stronger or weaker? Let’s break down what we know so far. WARNING: There are spoilers in this article for both Legends of Tomorow and Arrow if you’re not caught up!

As the show begins, the year is 2166 and Vandal Savage—a 4,000-year-old immortal villain—has somehow been resurrected after being killed on a previous episode of Arrow. Savage then kills the wife and son of one Rip Hunter, a rogue in possession of a time-traveling vessel. After going back to 2016, Hunter recruits the following team of heroes and villains to help him take down Savage:

  • Hawkman and Hawkgirl, whose destinies have been bound to Savage’s since the age of ancient Egypt. They share the powers of super strength, winged flight, and the ability to reincarnate.
  • The Atom, a scientist with a power suit of his own design. His suit possesses multiple weapons, flight, and the ability to shrink to the molecular level.
  • White Canary, the recently resurrected sister of Black Canary. She was trained in martial arts and killing by the League of Assassins.
  • Firestorm, a being forged from the merger of Professor Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson. Between them, they possess Professor Stein’s genius intellect, Jackson’s athletic strength and durability, and the power of fire manipulation.
  • Captain Cold and Heatwave, two thieves and enemies of the Flash. They possess an ice gun and a heat gun, respectively.

After watching the premiere, I can fairly say that this show has potential . . . but that’s all I can say. I can honestly claim that there is nothing in the pilot that wasn’t given away by the commercials for it. I’m confident that this show can be a hit but, as it stands, it is just “OK.”

First, I’ll say what is working for this show. The three best characters are White Canary, Captain Cold, and Heatwave. Captain Cold and Heatwave provide much needed comic relief and sarcasm to the otherwise very straight-laced characters. White Canary provides a much needed strong female lead. Yes, I know there is also Hawkgirl, but the difference is that White Canary has existed in this universe for three years now and is a much more developed character. The thing that makes these three characters stick out is that Captain Cold and Heatwave are technically thieves (and thus bad guys) and White Canary herself has killed many people in the past, so she’s not exactly a “good” good guy, either. Together, the three of them are antiheroes: good guys who are rougher around the edges. These are the scene-stealers, and it becomes obvious in the pilot’s bar-fight scene: these are the characters to watch. This theory was further proven in this week’s episode as well.

I originally had Hawkman down as a character that needed to be explored further . . . until Thursday night. As of the latest episode, Hawkman has passed away—a twist I saw coming, but not this soon, and it makes the show better in my eyes. The thing that makes this a great opportunity is that it allows further development of Hawkgirl as her own hero, rather than female version of an existing male character. In addition, with Hawkman out of the way, it allows her to explore other love interests, and the there are options that would make for great entertainment. Captain Cold or Heatwave would be fun. My favorite option would be if Hawkgirl explored a relationship with White Canary . . . come on, we’re all thinking it!

What needs work? I have had a problem with the Atom ever since he first appeared on Arrow: he’s just Iron Man! I’m not the biggest Atom nerd, so perhaps this is how he appears in the comics, but in a world of Iron Man movies, Legends needs to distinguish what makes the character of the Atom unique in order to keep people interested. A good start was episode 2’s focus on his shrinking ability.

Hawkgirl, Rip Hunter, Vandal Savage, and the current version of Firestorm are all relatively new to this television universe. As such, they also need to be further developed to the point where they can become the proper protagonists (or antagonist, in the case of Savage) that they are meant to be. To make this team work, Hawkgirl needs to establish who she is, Rip Hunter needs a personality, and the two that make up Firestorm need to be developed as individuals. This week’s episode did a great job of showing who Professor Stein is and where he comes from. Jefferson is another story. I argue that Jefferson—when he’s Firestorm—is the most powerful member and should be used as such. Failure to develop these elements will lead to the show being cancelled and all its potential going nowhere. We shall see. I plan to review the show as a whole once this season concludes.

So . . . is it good? The commercials may have ruined the pilot, but it still has great potential to be the CW‘s next big hit! Should you watch it? If you watch Arrow and/or The Flash, you must!

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays on the CW.

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