From the creators of The Flash and Arrow comes this Super Hero team-up that combines characters from both series, as well as new heroes from the DC Comics pantheon. Having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront the unstoppable threat of the immortal Vandal Savage— a threat which not only puts the world at stake, but all of time itself.
"You usually work alone captain?"
"This time, I need a team."
You have to appreciate when a network has spent the last several years creating an entire universe of superhero shows. Year after year, the CW has brought to the small screen colorful characters the likes of 'Arrow,' 'The Flash,' as well as some of their fellow compatriots as they knock out some of DC Comics' most entertaining fringe bad guys. With each episode of these series chugged along, more heroes and villains entered and exited, forcing one to question where it was all going. As it turns out DC Comics and their parent company Warner Brothers were hard at work creating a television shared universe that operates outside of their big screen aspirations. For better or worse, these efforts have lead to 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow.' While it starts off strong, as each episode of 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' rolls along, it has a harder and harder time justifying its existence.
Imagine a world where everything is a wasteland of war and tyranny. No, I'm not referring to the upcoming election results, I'm talking about the distant future of 2166 - and things have gotten a lot worse. The immortal genocidal madman Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) has taken over the world - most recently leaving London in total ruins. The Council of Time was created to preserve the continuity of time and space and not upset the course of events, however, for Time Master Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), upsetting the timeline is exactly what he intends to do. By traveling to 2016 aboard his Waverider, Rip hopes to prevent Vandal Savage's rise and the subsequent murder of his wife and son by recruiting a team of heroes - heroes who also don't appear to have much of an impact on the future timeline. By grabbing men like the brilliant Dr. Ray Palmer A.K.A. The Atom (Brandon Routh), men like Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jax Jackson (Franz Drameh) who merge bodies to become Firestorm, the deadly assassin Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) A.K.A. White Canary, the winged reincarnated Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée) and Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel) known as Hawkgirl and Hawkman respectively. On top of some heroes - Rip Hunter is also going to need some villains, guys like Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) and Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) if he hopes to put an end to Savage's reign before his genocidal plans even have a chance to start.
With his crew assembled - albeit reluctantly - Rip Hunter has the pieces of the puzzle he needs to change the timeline and rescue the world from Savage's domination. Unfortunately, nothing ever goes according to plan. As the team travels through time, they must work to delicately alter past and present events without drastically altering the future. Added to potentially changing the timeline and creating a universe ending temporal vortex on top of having to destroy Savage, Rip Hunter and the rest of the Legends of Tomorrow will have to defend themselves against bounty hunters sent by the Time Council to stop their mission and preserve the established timeline.
As 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' have enjoyed fantastic success on TV cultivating and growing a fervent fanbase, it's understandable why fans would want some of the producers and writers of CW's DC Television Universe to have a more active role in the DC Cinematic Universe. Instead of creating a fractured and confusing set of characters you see in movie theaters and one you see on your TV every fall, why not bring them all together and share the workload? The long and the short of it boils down to 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' personifying the reason not to do that. As much as I love Grant Guston's Flash and it would be a real kick to see Ben Affleck's Batman show up in an episode, the DC Television Universe is starting to show signs of being stretched entirely too thin with too many characters to do justice by. Because there are so many characters in this show, there was entirely too much bleed through to 'Flash' and 'Arrow' and those shows suffered for having to operate as springboards for this new series. Crossovers are fun, but even in comics, characters tend to work best with a sense of autonomy without feeling like they need to be part of a bigger whole all of the time.
While I enjoyed almost everything 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' had to offer, the show's focus was cloudy and direction felt aimless at times. Time and therefore time travel is a tricky creative thread to play with and can cause any number of continuity traps the main characters can get stuck in. Particularly when our titular team of misfit heroes decides it's necessary to visit multiple time periods to undo the damage they may have caused in a different era. I loved seeing Jonah Hex (Johnathon Schaech) but that little adventure into the wild and untamed old west was more of a distraction from the heroes' ultimate goal than it was a rip-roaring adventure. It was a lot of fun, but it wasn't necessary. Perhaps, even at only 16 episodes for this initial season, there is too much bloat. We didn't need to see the team run to the 1980s and 1950s for the story to progress, they just felt like excuses to have cool costuming and expensive-looking production design rather than a need to legitimately further the plot.
I'm not going to go into any number of plot inconsistencies of Rip's plan. If you start wondering why he chose these individuals to alter future events rather than someone like the Flash or Supergirl or Martian Manhunter since they're now all apart of the DC Television Universe continuity, the whole thing falls apart and stops being fun. This is a show that is desperately trying to have a lot of fun. As there is a second season on order for these "Legends," my hope is that the creative forces behind the camera have found their groove - and more importantly figured out a specific time period for the show to exist in. They proved they could pull off the 70s or the 80s or even the 1880s for that matter, so now it's time to have a season that sticks to a specific era and just enjoys the ride versus having a series that needs to come up with zany ways to justify a 16 episode order from the network. This is a hell of a cast. I love each of the characters and the actors playing them but the show needs to find a sense of direction and ultimately a reason to have these famous heroes and villains in the same room other than dishing out a heaping helping of fan service.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Brothers. Pressed onto two BD50 discs, the discs are housed in a standard 2-Disc Blu-ray case with identical slip cover. Inside with the discs is a is a flier with a complete episode listing and descriptions along with cast photos. Also included is an Ultraviolet Digital HD Voucher slip. Each disc opens directly to a static image main menu that plays the show's theme music in the background and features traditional navigation options.
Each episode of 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' enjoys a bright, colorful, and well detailed 1.78:1 1080p transfer. Fine facial features, the intricate costuming from Rip Hunter's futuristic outfit that looks like he stole it from 'Firefly' to The Atom's combat suit - everything is on screen for the audience to appreciate. This is especially important as the team travels through time and each period requires a shift in clothing and production design. All of the practical work is really solid stuff and looks great on screen. CGI effects tend to suffer at times because they just can't keep pace. Colors are bright and vibrant tending to favor color tones of whatever time period the team finds themselves in. Flesh tones look great as do primaries. Black levels are solid all around and provide a sense of depth to the image. There are a few instances where the cast is obviously in front of a green screen as the sense of depth is lost and they can look like they're floating over the scene in question. All around, this is a great looking show and this transfer does the show justice.
Each episode of 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' gets a solid English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track to enjoy. Dialogue comes through front and center and is never a strain to hear - even during some of the big action sequences. Surrounds are constantly active, there are very few - if any - quiet moments so there is always something happening in the background to make the scene feel lively with a sense of dimension. Scoring from Blake Neely is good stuff and fits within scenes without dominating the mix. Action provides plenty of imaging as there is almost always constant movement through the channels in a fluid and efficient way. Levels are pretty good, at times I did feel like I had to adjust my volume in places where it goes from being quiet to rip-roaring action complete with gunfire and laser blasts. Taken as a whole this is a consistent auditory presentation from episode to episode without any serious issues to report.
2015 Comic-Con Panel: (HD 18:49)Hosted by Geoff Johns, this is a pretty great panel discussion about the show, how it came together, what it was like for the actors to get into their roles. Some pretty basic stuff, but it's fun to see it presented in this way with the fans in the background at Hall H.
Gag Reel: (HD 7:03) Your basic stuff really, tries to look more vintage than it is considering the time periods the cast visit, but it's alright. Since these were onset moments it's kinda cool to see in the background that there was a lot of practical effects work done.
Jonah Hex: Hex Marks The Spot: (HD 6:59) As one of the best episodes of the run, it was kinda cool to see how they made this episode come to life. From finding a town to shoot into the costume design and makeup, this is a short, but fun bonus.
A Fantastic Voyage: Touring the Waverider Set: (HD 8:57) This is your basic set design bonus feature covering the ship and its components. Short and to the point but still interesting stuff.
History in the Making: (HD 13:04) This is a pretty cool but perhaps too short look at what went into creating each time period the team visits. It's fun and informative but for some of the locations it would have been cool to have more focused material.
While not quite the rousing success it was intended to be, 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' is still a good bit of fun. Now that it's burned through the necessary introductions, perhaps season 2 fill find a reason to exist beyond expanding on the worlds 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' have already built. Not every episode is a winner, but there is enough going on that comic fans should be entertained - at the very least. Warner Bros. has done a solid job with this Blu-ray release bringing in a terrific A/V presentation. Extra features are short but pretty decent overall. Fans of the show will be very happy with this release if you're a fan of 'Flash' and 'Arrow' consider it worth a look. It's clunky, but rewarding in the entertainment category.