As I’ve stated, and many others have probably noticed, it is the silver screen age of comic books. With continued success of the Marvel franchises, and mixed success on DC’s part, it’s no surprise that the most successful enterprise for DC, their CW shows Arrow and The Flash, would get a new sister show in Legends of Tomorrow. But while the first two shows in this universe are based on specific heroes, Legends of Tomorrow is a team of misfit sidekicks and villains stolen in time by a Time Master for the express purpose of stopping Vandal Savage, who is basically an immortal version of Adolf Hitler. I don’t know if this short description really describes how weird it is, so I think it’s worth just going into the cast of characters.
First off, Arthur Darvill portrays Rip Hunter, a Time Master whose goal is to kill Savage and stop his Universe destroying rampage. One might get déjà vu, seeing as Darvill was Rory Williams in BBC’s Doctor Who, a show about a Time Lord traveling with companions to save the universe. Disregarding that comparison, the cast includes a resurrected assassin, a pair who can merge into a Human Torch equivalent, an Iron Man–Ant Man love child called the Atom, two thieves that use heat and cold respectively, and to round out the group, Hawkgirl. If you get the impression I’m not a fan of the group’s dynamic, it’s because I’m not. The two thieves, who are Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller of Prison Break fame, have great chemistry but don’t play well with the other characters. Neither does most of the characters, which would be fine at the start of the show with a group of misfits, but this far into the show? It’s all just getting old.
But the dead dynamic is not my least favorite part, it’s that every move by the cast seems like an excuse to use a new time-based set piece. A throwaway episode just to use a western backdrop and throw in a new comic book character doesn’t give me what I want, which is development of the plot. Prior to watching this show, I watched Danger 5, which was a parody of 60s television shows focusing on the exploits on an international task force whose goal is to kill Hitler. This may seem like a weird connection, but a running gag on this show is that Hitler escapes capture every episode by running through gunfire then jumping through a window. The fact that this happens in each episode of Danger 5 is humorous, seeing it happen with regards to Vandal Savage in almost every episode of Legends of Tomorrow is not.
I’m waiting to watch this season to the end, but so far, I’m not impressed. As a fan of Arrow and The Flash, I’m disappointed how disjointed and uninspired Legends of Tomorrow is. But most of all, I’m disappointed how serious it is. The Flash learned from Arrow season one’s mistakes by not taking itself too seriously and embraced the comic book-y aspects of the source, while Legends of Tomorrow takes on topics like determinism and genocide in a juvenile and unoriginal way. If Legends of Tomorrow can come into its own in the few episodes before the season finale, I will most certainly be happy, but I won’t hold my breath.