DC’s Legends of Tomorrow really snuck up on me! While I’m perusing the episodes and beginning to write up some reviews, I thought it might be a good idea to recap a brief history of each character, especially since many of them have appeared on other CW shows like Arrow and The Flash.
Rip Hunter, a time traveler from the future, leads our motley crew of heroes. He has been personally wronged by Vandal Savage, not to mention Savage has all but destroyed the world in his time. He gathers this curious team of superheroes together after commandeering a time travel vessel in order to make the future a better place (or time?) for everyone. Rip is a new character introduced for this series, who hadn’t appeared on any current CW shows.
It will not be lost on Doctor Who fans that Arthur Darvill, who portrays Rip Hunter, was a recurring cast member on that show for several seasons. For non-Whovians, Arthur played Rory Williams, a sort of sidekick (technically “companion”) to Matt Smith’s Doctor Who alongside Karen Gillan’s character. I did not like Rory’s character in Doctor Who so I didn’t have great expectations for Darvill in this series but thus far I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Rip’s overall character is a little bit outlandish because he’s so used to a different time and it seems a little over the top, but at the same time he pulls off the part with more finesse than I’d expected. I’m impressed. It’s also a touch ironic that his costuming in this series is somewhat similar to David Tennant’s Doctor. Is type-casting for time travelers a thing?
Sara Lance as the White Canary
You may recall Sara as the Black Canary on Arrow, primarily in Season 2. She’s the sister to Laurel Lance (who has now taken up the Black Canary mantle on Arrow), who was thought to be dead at the beginning of the show, but actually jumped in during Season 2, then was killed at the beginning of Season 3 of Arrow but was then resurrected via the Lazurus Pit at the end of Season 3.
I didn’t exactly speak fondly of Caity Lotz’s Black Canary in my Arrow reviews, but looking back on it, I thought she did a decent enough job playing the part; my main qualms were really with the treatment of her character in the writing. Dead, not dead, then dead again, then not dead…again. But she looks the part of the Canary, acted it well and all in all was a great fit with that cast.
So…White Canary. The concept of her character is that now that she’s been subjected to the Lazarus pit, she feels a strong desire to kill- a sort of bloodlust that the Lazarus Pit gives in return for life. Sara decides to follow Rip because she can’t stay with the Arrow crew given her craving for violence, and yet she feels like she must do something to better the world.
Honestly? I don’t know how I feel about her as this “White Canary”. First and foremost, her entire look is awful. She’s exchanged the buxom corset and black leather we last saw her in for this weird off-white bodysuit that completely washes out her complexion. Her hair is straight and sort of greased back compared to her springy Black Canary waves. It looks terrible! In fact, most of the outfits they put her in to “blend in” with the time travel period surroundings during the show look better than her signature bodysuit thing. I’m also really not getting “bloodlust” or “strong desire to harm people” anywhere from her, outside of her repeatedly saying it in a gentle, soft-spoken voice. Maybe that will change as the series progresses. (?)
Good ol’ Ray is our other character from Arrow who joins the cast of this series. I really enjoyed Ray in Arrow and so far he’s a fantastic fit with this cast. Ray is a very smart and kind-hearted man with big brown puppy dog eyes who can shrink himself down to a tiny size in his Atom suit and fly around and do lots of other cool stuff. This has proved useful in a number of situations, even if it’s not the most glamorous superpower.
I’m very, very pleased with the way that The Atom developed. Initially when his character was introduced on Arrow, he seemed almost like an off-brand Iron Man. Millionaire playboy, flying around in a big metal suit, gets all the girls, buys ridiculous things…sounds like Tony Stark to me. But in time Ray has found his own identity and the Atom has evolved into something very distinct from Iron Man.
Ray’s personality on this show is very consistent and his good-guy attitude serves as a great foil to some of the other characters in the series with more questionable motives. He’s one of my favorites on this show to date.
Kendra Saunders as Hawkgirl
We met Kendra briefly on The Flash. First she was a barista at Jitters, and briefly dated Cisco before regaining her memory and powers as Hawkgirl and leaving Central City to better understand what this means for her.
Initially, I liked Kendra a lot. The character is very layered and complex and I think Ciara Renee is doing a great job making Kendra both vulnerable and strong, and also relatable, which my autocorrect doesn’t think is actually a word. I’m growing less certain about this as her character evolves, but to be fair she had very little screentime coming into this show, so it’s only natural that we’d see her character expanding and testing new limits. I’m eager to see more of her in the mix.
Carter Hall as Hawkman
I did not like Hawkman from the moment he was introduced. He came off as a total jerk. In The Flash episode where he first appeared, all he cared about was Kendra getting her memories back and kept trying to shove her off a building so that she’d see that she could really fly and would spontaneously become Hawkgirl and remember how much she loved him. His total lack of empathy for pre-Hawk Kendra really lost me.
Even now that Kendra has some of her memories back and is checking out her new powers, it seems like Carter is never satisfied because she could always do more. My initial impressions of him haven’t really changed. I can’t tell if Carter would be more empathetic if played by a different actor, or if this is a writing and/or directing situation. At least there are plenty of other characters to focus on…
Professor Martin Stein as Firestorm
Professor Martin Stein was a recurring character in The Flash for a while as the Firestorm metahuman story developed and evolved. Initially, Professor Stein was merged with The Flash character Ronnie Raymond and the two of them together created Firestorm. Eventually though, Ronnie was KIA and Professor Stein’s body became unstable, and the STAR Labs group found Jay Jackson as a compatible new partner for Professor Stein.
Professor Stein is the oldest member of the team and often tries to share his wisdom and life experiences with the rest of the crew, and especially with his young partner Jax. Unfortunately Jax and Stein tend not to see eye-to-eye on many things and are often in conflict, although they tend to come together when the stakes are high and generally work well together when they merge as Firestorm. Stein generally gets along well with the other characters and while he’s not my favorite guy to watch on the show, having a really experienced science-y nerd that can even out-science Ray Palmer is kind of handy to have around.
Jay Jackson (“Jax”) as Firestorm
Jax was introduced on The Flash, but only briefly, since he is Stein’s second partner. He is basically dragged unwillingly on this mission and I don’t have a lot of great things to say about him because he just whines a lot and his immaturity bothers me. He’s the youngest member of the crew and makes many mistakes and doesn’t like listening to the Professor’s “sage” advice.
I’d really like to see more character progression with Jax if he’s going to be kicking around. He needs to become mature enough to work effectively with the rest of the team and to understand what he needs to do without being told.
Leonard Snart as Captain Cold
Fans of The Flash will be very familiar with Leo “Captain Cold” Snart. He’s appeared in a few episodes of the show, initially as an adversary of the Flash and then partnering with him in an uneasy alliance.
Snart’s presence on the show is a little bit confusing, because he’s definitely not a conventional superhero. However, he’s not a complete bad guy either (although his sticky fingers seem to be a personal attribute and weakness- he can’t seem to go anywhere without trying to steal something.) I’m not exactly sure if he qualifies as an anti-hero, either; while he lacks conventional heroic attributes, I don’t think we really know enough about him coming into all this to understand his motivations and really how he’s going to act on this heroic quest. Maybe he’s just not such a bad guy after all.
Anyway, he’s a really fun addition in the show. He doesn’t necessarily care if everything goes exactly as planned, which actually makes him an asset since his actions are a little more improvised (much to Rip’s dismay.) However, this can also be a detriment, since he does tend to consider personal gain and likes to steal things as they go, which tends to complicate situations. He and Rory usually pair off, and it’s especially fun to watch Leo interact with good-boy Ray.
Mick Rory as Heat Wave
We also met Rory on The Flash, although he didn’t get quite as much screen time as Snart. He is also a career criminal and is partnered with Snart, so again it’s not all goody-goody superheroes in this cast but really quite the mix.
I don’t know if I really have that much to say about Rory. He’s good just as Leo’s sidekick, although he sort of pales in comparison (IMO) and doesn’t get as much screen time or character development. I’m hoping this changes a little as the series goes on because it could definitely be fun to have two characters causing chaos!
Now, you may have noticed that this is a pretty sizable main cast. As in, holy crap, can we literally get them all on the camera at once sizable. I’m certainly having a hard enough time keeping them all straight just to write this review. Having watched a few episodes of the show, it seems like the writers kind of struggled with a cast of this size at first and then fell into a little bit of a cadence. But we’ll talk more about that during the upcoming episode reviews- stay tuned!