Friday, 29 January 2016

Legends of Tomorrow 'Pilot Part 2' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for the episode to be discussed, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt for you, please do not read further.

The second half of the pilot story for the new CW superhero show 'Legends of Tomorrow' takes all of the good moments from the first episode and adds to it, taking the time to address some of the criticism that people had about the first half and showing that despite being a show made up of recurring sideline characters and one off guest stars 'Legends of Tomorrow' definitely has the chops to stand side by side with both 'Arrow' and 'Flash' as a great show in it's own rights.

Whilst part one was light on action part two give not only one big action set piece, but two, with big scale fights that not only bookend the show nicely, but eclipse what it's parent shows have been able to do in the past.  We've got the fistfighting and martial arts of 'Arrow', the super powers and spectacle of 'Flash', but here it's all thrown in together with multiple heroes all battling on screen at the same time.

The first fight scene of the episode displayed just how grand and dynamic this show can be, with a team of variously skilled and powered characters fighting together.  Yes, 'Arrow' has become a team show, but it's a team consisting of two archers, a street fighter and a marksman, it's not very visually dynamic.  Here, however, we have Firestorm flying around shooting blasts of nuclear energy whilst White Canary stick fights terrorists.  You see a miniaturized Atom zipping around a hanger throwing people around before returning to normal size to beat the crap out of people.  Captain Cold and Heatwave fight back to back with streams of fire and ice, looks of pure joy on their faces, while Hawkman and Hawkgirl swoop in and beat the crap out of people with medieval weaponry.

It's big, flashy and it's a feast for the eyes.  It also gives us a little cameo from Damian Darhk, the current 'Arrow' villain, that raises some interesting questions for that show, such as how has Damian Darhk not aged in 40 year?

This single action scene gives us something that has been lacking from every other superhero show we've had, a team of people all doing different things in spectacular fashion.  It felt more akin to small screen Avengers rather than a regular comic book show.

The second action sequence went on to show that this kind of action wasn't just a one off though, as it threw the entire cast into the fight, this time will Rip Hunter and his amazing laser revolver (have I said how much I love that gun already?!) and a change in visual style as we get a closer quarters night fight.  The visual difference to the early daylight hanger fight makes a good contrast and makes sure that it doesn't feel dull or a straight copy of what we'd seen already.

Despite the addition of two big action sequences the show also managed to continue to deliver great character moments and some time travel hijinks, along with some serious emotional moments.

We get to see Professor Stein, Jackson and Sarah track down a younger version of Stein in order to get their hands on some tech the young scientist was developing, and get some fun Back To The Future moments as they struggle to achieve their goal without interrupting the timeline and stopping the younger Stein from going on to meet his future wife.  Once again we get to see the fragility of the timeline as Steins wedding ring vanishes from his finger, erasing his marriage from future events.  Thankfully with some help from Rip things get nudged back onto the right course and Steins past is repaired.

These scenes are great to watch, as they not only go to show just how much Professor Stein loves his wife, despite leaving her to go have adventures through time, but we also get some fun moments from Sarah.  The back and forwards banter with Stein and Sarah, and her being high yet cocky enough to still be able to beat up a bunch of terrorists shows us that maybe being on this unlikely team really is a good thing for her after what she went through on 'Arrow', and just what she needs to start to rebuild and enjoy her life.

Elsewhere we get to see a little more of Captain Cold too (something I'm always happy about) as he and Heatwave get teamed up with Atom on a heist.  Whilst I'm starting to like the Atom less and less with his very cocky and self righteous attitude he does get knocked down a few pegs by Cold, a man that he sees as being beneath him, which will hopefully go towards some positive character development.  We also get to see that unlike Heatwave, who's in this purely for the money, Cold might actually have a bit more depth to him, that maybe he does on some level really want to be a hero and change his destiny.

The biggest moment in the episode is once again the emotionally shocking one, as Vandal Savage murders Hawkman right in front of Hawkgirl.  No sooner had Carter helped Kendra remember a key part of her first life, and that she does deeply love him, then he's snatched away from her by Savage in a rather brutal scene.  I didn't expect any team deaths at this point of the show, or even at all really, so the sudden departure of Carter was definitely a shock.

It might be an easy choice, or even a cheat by the writers to chose him as the first man to go down, as they could in theory find another version of Hawkman from further in the future, but I hope they don't.  Kendra lost her son and her lover in a single day, and the effect of that should not be lessened by bringing another version of Hawkman into the show.  Let's have her dealing with that loss, with that anger and sadness without taking it away.  Plus it will give her a chance to interact with the other members
of the team, which so far hasn't happened yet.

The second half of the pilot really shows what 'Legends of Tomorrow' is capable of, fun and entertaining characters, big emotional scenes and some of the best super hero action on television.  Anyone who doubted the shows ability to stand up on it's own or break away from its parent shows will surely have their minds changed by the end of this episode.


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