The first season of Legends of Tomorrow was a huge surprise for me. I began watching fully expecting a strange mix of Doctor Who and the Justice League, a bit like one of those bootleg toys you find in the Poundshop or that dodgy news agent down the street that sells alcohol to underage kids. And although that is essentially what Legends of Tomorrow is, I also found myself having a lot of fun with the team on their oddly charming time travelling adventures.
• Exhibition: Blu Ray
• Rating: 15
• Run Time: 715 minutes
Season one ended with the defeat of the Time Masters. In the months that follow the Legends have been travelling through time policing those who would tamper with history and deal with mysterious aberrations – alterations to the timeline – that have been occurring.
Their journey takes them to 1942 where they discover Damien Darhk working with the Nazi’s, his plan to fire a nuclear bomb at New York city. After Hijinks that results in the Waverider being hit by the nuke and the Legends being scattered throughout time, it falls to a present day historian – Nate Heywood – to follow the clues and reunite the Legends so they can stop The Legion of Doom.
Like the Legends, the Legion is a team of super villains consisting of Damien Darhk, Malcolm Merlyn, and Eobard Thawne, and the trio’s plan this time is to acquire the Spear of Destiny. Said to be the spear that pierced the side of Jesus Christ on the cross, the Spear of Destiny is rumoured to hold the power to rewrite reality itself, allowing the Legion to change history without fear of time-fighting back.
Thawne is definitely the strongest character of the Legion of Doom. It was nice to get an explanation as to how, after being wiped from the timeline in The Flash season one, he is able to exist, and how that itself is the driving force for him to find the Spear of Destiny. He is almost sympathetic in his situation, and his presence here gives us some fantastic nods to seasons one and two of The Flash.
As for Darhk and Merlin, as a fan of Arrow, I am painfully bored of these two. Dark was a weak addition to Arrow’s already weak enough season four, so seeing him again left a bad taste in my mouth. I also feel that Merlin has been milked dry since Arrow season one, and it’s obvious that John Barrowman is just phoning it in at this point. This season would have benefited from two new villains, with Thawne as the tissue connecting them. The season is definitely at it’s most interesting when these two are nowhere to be seen.
The most interesting aspect of the season isn’t the conflict with the villains, but the team’s internal conflicts and personal struggles. There’s a real emphasis on each character who has their own crosses to bear, and it makes for some of the strongest character development since this Arrowverse started back in 2012.
The standout moment for me comes from Dominic Purcell’s Mick Rory learning to deal with the loss of his best friend Leonard Snart, who sacrificed himself at the end of season one to save the team. Mick was completely one dimensional in season one. However, here we get to see a different side to him as he lays his vulnerabilities out, and at times even empathise with him, even when he’s playing up. And Purcell does like to play it up.
The newcomer to the team, Nick Zano’s Nate Heywood aka Citizen Steel is a great addition, and his on screen chemistry with Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer is delightful. The pair often drives some of the most fun orientated stories. They are a great antithesis to last seasons Heat Wave/Captain Cold combo.
I have to mention my personal favourite episode as it features a young film student named George Lucas and focuses on the importance of both Indiana Jones and Star Wars to the hearts and minds of modern-day geniuses. In fact, this season has several nods to Star Wars that, as the super fan, I found genuinely entertaining.
As far as content goes this seasons boxset is severely lacking. In addition to the 17 episodes. there’s a Comic Con panel, a gag reel, and some deleted scenes. That’s it. There are no more mini docs or behind the scenes looks, which is a shame as they’re always the most interesting extras. The biggest issue I have with this content lite boxset is the fact it is missing episodes.
If you were hoping to settle in and watch the annual Arrowverse crossover you’re out of luck. Unlike last year where the Blu Ray’s came with the entire crossover event included, this season only comes with the Legends of Tomorrow episode.
Not only is the Legends episode the final episode in the crossover, meaning you’re missing out on almost the entire event, it breaks the momentum of the series and causes us to miss important parts of one of Victor Garber’s character Martin Stein’s major character arcs. The crossover in its entirety is available as a separate DVD, but after it being included in each boxset last year that feels like a cheap cash grab.
My biggest issue with this season is its inconsistent tone. There are some genuinely funny and charming moments littered throughout the season, but it isn’t afraid to tackle some seriously tough subject matter too. Which is great, I love the variety in my story telling, changing tone scene to scene can be jarring, and it happens several times throughout the series.
The episode “Abominations” comes to mind as the worst example of this. Taking place during the American Civil War elements of the story focus on slavery and attitudes toward the black community of the time. Franz Drameh’s character Jackson Jefferson (one of only two people of colour on the team) must adapt and act in order to blend in for the mission or else potentially cause another aberration. There are some moving and powerful moments in the episode which are completely offset as soon as the comedically bad zombies turn up.
Legends of Tomorrow feels like it’s becoming surer of itself, and this season definitely feels tighter than last. I enjoyed watching season two, and despite the aforementioned tonal issues, I had a great time with it. Some of the jokes land as hard as some of the punches during the action scenes and the deeper character development was something I was pleasantly surprised by. It’s a shame, then, that the lack of anything extra in the boxset keeps this from being an essential purchase for anyone but hardcore fans, especially when it’s available to stream.