Surrender 55: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

My grandson Dayan and I get together every Wednesday afternoon. I pick him up from school, we grab Chinese food, and spend time together chatting and watching interesting shows on TV. For more than a year, our series of choice was BBC’s Doctor Who. In catching me up to the current series, we moved through nine seasons. Now that I’m caught up, we’ve discovered a new series to watch, while Doctor Who is in between seasons. 

 

Legends of Tomorrow stars Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Arthur Darvill, Ciara Renee, Franz Drameh, Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller and Casper Crump. This sci-fi action drama is part of the DC Comic universe. 

Time traveler Rip Hunter (Darvill) assembles a ragtag group of heroes and villains in an attempt to save the future, and his family, from an evil nemesis, Vandal Savage (Crump). More than the earth’s future is at stake…time itself is threatened. 

 Vandal Savage 

Rip tells his group that he has seen the future, and that they are all known as the heroes who save mankind. Each person brings gifts to the team…and also quirks, egos, and pasts full of angst and challenges. 

Ray Palmer (Routh), is Atom, whose ability is to shrink his body. Sara Lance (Lotz), also known as White Canary, is a trained assassin. Jax Jackson (Drameh) and Dr. Martin Stein (Garber) together form the symbiotic hero, Firestorm, with the ability to fly, pass through solid objects, generate destructive blasts of fusion energy from his hands, absorb radiation harmlessly, and demonstrate superhuman levels of strength and resistance to injury.

 

Mick Rory (Purcell), is Heat Wave. He possesses a handgun sized flamethrower and knowledge of pyrotechnics and combustibles. His partner in crime, literally, is Leonard Snart (Miller), also known as Captain Cold. He has a cold gun that freezes objects to absolute zero and he possess knowledge of cryonics. These two are the “bad boys” of the group. 

And lastly, Kendra Saunders (Renee), who is Hawkgirl, has the ability to fly, thanks to a electromagnetic/gravitational belt. It also grants superhuman strength, super-acute vision, and an enhanced healing/regeneration ability. Kendra’s partner, Carter, also known as Hawkman, has been with her through centuries of regenerations. His character died in episode 2. 

 

This is a fun, fast paced series, which premiered last month on CW. Dayan and I both enjoy superhero type shows, and we have seen many of the DC Comic and Marvel Comic movies and series. We were initially drawn to Legends of Tomorrow because the main character, Rip Hunter, is played by Arthur Darvill, who also portrayed Rory on Doctor Who. It’s been interesting to see him as a time traveler in this show, and to get to know this cast of characters. 

I like that this group of people, with their unique gifts and common flaws, were told that in the future, they are all called heroes. The truth is, none of them are. Rip selected them because extraordinary as they are, they live ordinary lives. Their possible deaths don’t greatly affect the future timeline. 

However, as the group slowly becomes a team, united in their purpose of defeating Vandal Savage and securing the future for all mankind, they will most assuredly be known as legends…Legends of Tomorrow. In acknowledging who they are, and offering out of their strengths, they are sure to create their own futures. I’d call that heroic. 

  

Journey 4: Hercules

Hercules movie

I love “larger than life” characters in epic stories. As a child at the movie matinee every Saturday, I cheered on super heroes such as Superman and Spiderman. In a slightly different genre, heroes from classic mythology captivated me also, including Jason and his Argonauts, and the strongest man in the world, Hercules, well known for his far ranging adventures and amazing feats.

When a new super hero, or Hercules, or Argonaut, or Titans movie comes out, I’m there. It is partly because of the memory of being awe struck by these stories brought to life on the big screen. And partly because as an adult, I still enjoy a good hero movie. I love it that good always prevails. And that even heroes have doubts about themselves and yet overcome fear, loss and being misunderstood, to step up into the space that they were born to occupy. I wanted to see the newest Hercules movie, starring Dwayne Johnson, when it was playing at my local theater. I happened to be in Scotland at the time, pursuing a quest of my own, and I missed it.

Over this holiday break, I rented the DVD and tonight, I had the pleasure of watching an amazing hero again. My journey took me back into the legends and myths of mighty men and offered me a glimpse into my own past and my own heart.

The movie opens with Hercules’ nephew, Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), spinning the tales of his legendary uncle. He briefly recounts the circumstances of Hercules’ birth, sired by the god Zeus and loved by a mortal mother. Zeus’ jealous wife, Hera, intending to kill Hercules, brings many challenges into his life. Iolaus briefly touches on the Twelve Labors of Hercules, in which he attempts to please Hera by performing dangerous and near impossible feats. He becomes legend, the stories growing even as Hercules’ reputation takes on a dark twinge with the unexplained deaths of his cherished wife and children.

After his Labors, Hercules seems destined to fight, to battle on behalf of others, to slay beasts of all kinds. In this movie, based on the graphic novel, “Hercules: The Tracian Wars”, the storyline focuses on Hercules as he and his band of loyal followers agree to battle a warlord on behalf of Lord Cotys (John Hurt), ruler of the kingdom of Thrace. Hercules and his band train the unprepared army, readying them for battle. Outfitted, trained and with a confidence imbued by fighting alongside a demi god, the soldiers and Hercules are successful at defeating the army of Rhesas (Tobias Santelmann) and bringing the warlord back to Thrace as a prisoner of war.

The quest over, all should be well. However, all is not as it seems. The true enemy is not Rhesas, but Lord Cotys. In defeating this evil man, Hercules must not only find his true strength, based on who he believes himself to be, but also confront the pain of his past.

I enjoyed this film.  I’ve seen many Hercules movies and this was a different storyline, coming later in the life of the world’s strongest man. I appreciated his band of followers, who, with the exception of his nephew, were all acquired during his Labors. Autolycus (Rufus Sewell) was his right hand man, Amphiaraus (Ian McShane) his Seer, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) the Amazonian woman who excelled with the bow, and Tydeus (Aksel Hennie) was a fearless warrior with a troubled soul, whom Hercules rescued as an orphan. This eclectic band was more than a group of mercenaries, they became family.

Johnson played this Hercules as a brooding, honorable man….a get the job done and get out type of fighter. The part of the movie that I was most touched by involved Hercules moving beyond the legends and stories about his feats and finding out who he was. Chained down in a dungeon, his band held captive in nearby cells, Hercules was faced with deciding if the tales about him were true, or just stories. Urged on by the questions of Amphiaraus, who in essence was asking his friend, “Who are you, really?”, Hercules at last throws back his head and bellows, “I AM HERCULES”. And frees himself from his chains. What a defining moment.

My defining moments have not been as dramatic. And there was no one in danger of being killed as I wrestled with my identity. However, I have been just as immobilized as the chained Hercules as I sought to figure out who I was, really. And the one in danger of being harmed was my own shining soulful self. During our journeys, we are all brought to these defining moments when we must decide if the stories about us (the tales others tell about us) are truth for us or if the truth lies somewhere deep inside, near our hearts. It’s not usually one ultimate moment, although that can happen. It is more likely a series of moments that present the ultimate question, “Who am I, really?”

What I declare after the words, “I am…” is crucial. When I began to move past all the labels that I had attached to myself…I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a realtor, I am a daughter…sister…Yaya…then I began to uncover who I really was. Like Hercules, declaring who I am, truly and deeply, brings a strength that frees me from all the expectations that I have bound myself up with. I am Cindy. And more deeply, I am Mithril, which is my soul name. Strong, silvery, beautiful, protective, nurturing, valuable. At my core, that’s who I am. All else flows from that awareness. My journey with Hercules this evening reminded me of who I am. And for that, I am also….grateful.

Cindy is open and ready to receive e

                        I am Mithril