Marvel may have the upper hand when it comes to movies, but Detective Comics have clearly taken the initiative on television, thanks in no small part to prouder Greg Berlanti: For the man who bought us The Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, now unveils what’s arguably his most ambitious project to date; DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (LOT): A 16-part sci-fi spectacular that sees disavowed, Dr. Who-esque time master; Captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), recruit a motley crew of superheroes and ne’er do wells to stop immortal megalomaniac; Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) from taking over the world. Now I know that sounds like I’ve just described a cartoon and, in some ways, LOT is a welcome throwback to the Saturday morning fare of the late 1980s / early 90s (e.g. Defenders of the Earth, Super Friends, Galaxy Rangers etc); A bold, bright and bombastic world of epic adventure, laser battles, giant robots, inter-planetary warfare and time travel; its all here, in a relentlessly paced show that blasts its way through the space-time continuum with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
Our reluctant heroes and anti-heroes include Kendra ‘Hawkgirl’ Saunders (Ciara Renée) and Carter ‘Hawkman’ Hall (Falk Hentschel) who’re actually the latest incarnations of an ancient Egyptian couple who were murdered by Vandal Savage in the year 3000 BC (don’t ask), criminal duo; Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heatwave (Dominic Purcell) –now simply referred to as Leonard Snart and Mick Rory, Dr Martin Sheen (Victor Garber) and Jax Jackson (Franz Darmeh) who combine to become Firestorm, ex-League of Assassins hit-woman Sara ‘White Canary’ Lance (Caity Lotz) and mild mannered scientist; Ray ‘The Atom’ Palmer (Brandon Routh). LOT’s sneering super-villain; Vandal Savage, is played with aplomb by the Christoph Waltz-esque Casper Crump; who takes on the role with a brilliantly OTT, scenery chewing performance that perfectly fits the tone of this series.
Now don’t be put off by the less than stellar pilot episodes, because it picks up very quickly from episode 3 onwards; and despite the odd duff detour (e.g. the wild west episode) the stories are pretty engaging, every character is appropriately fleshed out and by the end of it; you’re reasonably invested in their fate. Personally, I thought Brandon Routh’s The Atom (with his incredible, atom-manipulating armoured suit) has the best power whilst Caity Lotz is very convincing as a resurrected (via the Lazarus pit) warrior; who really comes into her own during an episode that’s partially set in the League of Assassins stronghold, and features a memorable cameo from Ra’s al Ghul himself.
LOT isn’t the most original show ever made, the scripts are quite good if a little melodramatic and the acting sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. But high production values and an infectious sense of fun and narrative buoyancy, ensures that Arrowverse fans and newcomers alike, will find something of interest here; After all, where else can you hear Wentworth Miller casually deliver the line: “This isn’t my first prison break” or see Brandon Routh referencing ‘Top Gun’? Helium-light, consistently entertaining superhero shenanigans: I look forward to the next season.