'Stargirl' Episode 1 Review: A bright new series with all the feel of a summer blockbuster

The series is filled with wonder, heart, light-hearted comedy and blockbuster action and it is an instant classic


                            'Stargirl' Episode 1 Review: A bright new series with all the feel of a summer blockbuster
Courtney Whitmore (The CW)

Spoilers for 'Stargirl' Season 1 Episode 1 'Stargirl'

To get it out of the way, 'Stargirl' is the most Disney movie-like television show that DC has ever made. From the music to the family themes to the action and color grading, the feeling is inescapable. However, that is in no way to its detriment as the show perfectly captures that sense of wonder, adventure and heart. 'Stargirl' is an instant classic.

Opening with the dramatic death of the Justice Society really shows just how far apart this show's quality is from other DC series. It's on par with most other blockbusters out there. It's a great action scene, even if the Easter Egg setups were a little heavy handed. The costumes do feel out of place in the current superhero landscape, but for once it works in the show's favor. The looks of both the Justice Society and the Injustice Society are emblematic of the Golden Age from which they all sprang.

Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore initially takes a backseat to the setting of this series. The move to Blue Valley, the hints of its many eccentric characters and establishing the rest of Courtney's family. It's a pilot episode done right, building up what looks like a vivid all-American small town with mysteries hidden just beneath its surface. There is light-hearted but unobtrusive humor, and the awkwardness of a family that's figuring out its new dynamic is done perfectly.

Courtney really gets to shine when she discovers the Cosmic Staff. Not since 'Shazam' has there been a superhero more thrilled to receive their powers, but 'Stargirl' takes the call to heroism a lot more seriously. Courtney was meant to be a superhero, even if she hasn't picked a name or a costume for herself yet. She's no reluctant hero. She believes in destiny, in the stars aligning, and takes up the call to action with far more zeal that her stepfather Pat Dugan is comfortable with.

There is a lot of heart in the relationship between Pat and Courtney. Luke Wilson is at his best as an earnest loser no one takes seriously enough, despite all the potential he has to offer. The awkwardness of the relationship with his new stepdaughter only makes their bonding over their new secret all the more endearing. They are not close yet, but it's obvious that they will grow to be, and just how much that relationship will anchor the show. Their scenes together are the pilot episode's highlight. 

In the shadows, Brainwave (Christopher James Baker) makes for an appropriately sinister villain, all cold logic and intimidating threat. He bears all the gravitas of a classic villain whose pride in their intellect and power adds that air of theatricality to every scene they are in and he stands as a formidable threat to a superhero who hasn't even figured out the extent of her new powers, yet.

'Stargirl' is off to a strong start. A highly entertaining series that takes superheroics back to its roots — the call to adventure and that sense of wonder. It's what superhero movies and television shows have been missing for a while, and hopefully, it's now here to stay.

The next episode of 'Stargirl' airs May 25, on DC Universe.

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