Monday, 28 August 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 2

Cast: Victor Garber, Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, Dominic Purcell, and Neal McDonough

Creators: Marc Guggenheim, Phil Klemmer, and Greg Berlanti

715 minutes (15) 2016-7
Widescreen ratio 16:9
Warner blu-ray region B

Rating: 8/10
Review by Steven Hampton

A by-product of the DC media franchise, comic-book TV adventure Legends Of Tomorrow follows the relative success of Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, assembling a mixed gang of rogue supporting characters. Recruited for time-travel missions against a super-villain, to save the planet and fix an unstable history troubled by immortal Vandal Savage, who’s conquered the entire world in the future. After defeating their arch-enemy, this epic story continues in Legends Of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season, beginning with a mystery as their leader Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill, Doctor Who) disappears. The group of ‘outcasts and misfits’ remain together and take over the unofficial police duty against any time-travelling pirates and meddlers. Charting a safe pathway between the chaos theory and domino effects of aberrations in the time-stream, to repair or defend the established timeline - even with guidance from a new historian, is not easy for the fractious crews of time-ship ‘Waverider’.

Although Dr Martin Stein (Victor Garber), one half of nuclear-powered hybrid ‘Firestorm’, assumes command initially, it’s Sara Lance - alias White Canary (Caity Lotz, Arrow) who soon becomes the new captain. Ray Palmer - alias The Atom (Brandon Routh, Superman Returns) has various problems with his hi-tech suit, while thuggish Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) mourns the loss of his partner-in-crime Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). But the individuals in this crew must be forged into a team capable of saving troubled humanity, and the whole world, from all their fractured yesteryears to the distant future-history. 

In 1942, the heroes save New York from a Nazi nuke and meet the Justice Society for a WW2 mission. In feudal Japan, they tackle the roles of seven samurai protecting a village from a brutal Shogun. In Mississippi during the Civil War they face zombies that bite, although the really hot topic here is rebellion against slavery. Evincing a world-weary heroism that few can match, Lance Henriksen guest stars as Obsidian, last of the JSA in 1987, working at the White House. Always excellent in cowboy movie roles, Jeff Fahey turns up in a wild western where the desperado of death Jonah Hex is found in need of saving from a lynch mob. Along the way, the Waverider irregulars pick-up newcomers including new historian Nate (Nick Zano), who becomes Citizen Steel, and JSA super heroine Amaya - alias Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers). But nearly all trails and clues lead to plots by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), aided by evil cohorts Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), and Eobard Thawne - alias Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher). 

There are visits to Capone’s Chicago in the ‘roaring 1920s’, Washington’s great revolution against British colonial rule, King Arthur’s Camelot where ‘Sara Lancelot’ adds some spice to a classic myth, and Raiders Of The Lost Art suggests that George Lucas directs classic movies to inspire inventors and historians. The brain-washed Rip Hunter is captured, but he takes over Waverider time-ship, and the only way that the crew have of getting their old captain back is to get inside his head with a mind-link. So, after psychic contretemps, the lanky Brit is soon back in charge. A rare space mission intercepts the sabotaged, and hijacked, Apollo 13 mission on the dark-side of the Moon. Can even the legends pull off a lunar rescue to get Odyssey’s crew home safely without any resorting to a Cold Equations sacrificial solution?

The main cross-over storyline links LOT with Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl for a team-up adventure to fight alien invaders the Dominators. Shadowed by men-in-black agents, haunted by absent friends and missing relatives - due to the alternate ‘Flash-point’ world, and afraid of strangers, the various heroes defending the Earth must learn that meddling with timelines for personal gain doesn’t result in a better world.

Finally, got the Spear of Destiny? “Set a course for the Crucifixion.” But, no... They’re off to the French trenches of WW1 on a quest leading to a fellowship with the young Tolkien instead. Doomworld posits absolute victory for the Legion of super-villains complete with clich├ęd, homicidal monologues. Ultimate iterations of Legends might also be final or fatal versions. Will superheroes die or just fade away? LOT season two is 17 episodes, packed with amusing comic-book sci-fi fantasy sketches and witty genre mash-ups. The show is one of a kind that’s slowly risen to the heights of being the best DC TV series because of its comparative lack of boring soap opera where the story grinds to a halt for supporting players to emote, while details of their sundry relationships are delivered with gratuitous moping about or woolly introspection. Sob stories always spoil the fun. 

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