Arrow, DC's television series that rivals anything they will probably do in the upcoming films.
With Arrow season three premiering the other day, and two season finally being released on Netflix, it seemed like a good time to look back at season one of DC's semi-hit TV show.
Arrow follows Oliver "Ollie" Queen, son to the billionaire Robert Queen. After being stranded on an island for five years, Oliver is rescued and returns home. During his five years on the island, he discovered that his now dead father left a list of people that Oliver believes to be the scum of the Starling city. To stop these criminals, Oliver suits up as the vigilante Green Arrow, or "The Hood," as the series refers to him as. Despite the simple premise, Arrow is a very solid series with impressive action sequences and cool characters. When the series originally aired on the CW, I missed the first few weeks, so I never had the chance to give it a try.
The Good: Impressive action sequences every episode, Stephen Amell is great as Oliver, Cool villains, Unique flashback scenes, Fun comic book references, Manu Bennett is a bad*ss as Slade Wilson, Great tone, Felicity is cute and hilarious, Mostly strong character development, Epic finale,
The Bad: A few really dumb moments, Inconsistent opinion of killing, Relationship drama gets repetitive, Stormtroopers have better aim than Arrow's villains,
Plot: 7.9/10- Arrow uses a unique storytelling device that I have not seen before, although it is said Lost used it first. In virtually every episode, the series flashbacks to Oliver's time on the island, which shows how he turned from a flamboyant playboy to vigilante killer.
Showing both timelines actually works to the series advantage, because it cuts out a lot of the downtime in the present day timeline, to allow for more entertaining and streamline stories. As with most network TV series, Arrow is often episodic with various episodes focusing on a name on the list, or a criminal in the city. After the first few episodes, the series throws in some interesting overarching storylines. A lot of the series plays out like a crime drama with cool superhero elements that make it standout from other series.
Unfortunately however, Arrow's writing can be incredibly dumb on occasion. Some things do not make sense, characters' actions are absurdly stupid, and the "Villains Can't Die" cliché gets a little annoying. For example, one of the villains in the series has one of the main characters dead-to-rights, yet he says some dumb line and does not kill the character. Of course killing off a main character is not possible for the TV series, but having the character in that position is just bad writing. Another problem with the series is that the relationship drama gets old and repetitive fast. Sometimes it works, but other times the series comes to a screeching halt because of it. One other thing is that certain elements of Arrow seem to be stolen from Batman Begins' plot. Despite these issues, the series does make up for it with several very strong episodes.
Characterization: 8.3/10- Oliver is the most developed character throughout the series. Seeing what he was like on the island in contrast to what he is like in the present provides layers to the character’s complexity. One strange inconsistency with Oliver's character is his opinion of killing. What sets "The Hood" apart from a somewhat similar DC character, Batman, is that Oliver will kill when necessary, which works great in the series. While he does not always kill, he has no problems with doing so when the time comes for it. Some viewers might be off put by a "hero" killing the bad guys, but that is what you have to do to save the city. However, Oliver seems to have no problem shooting random thugs and bodyguards in the heart with an arrow, yet when it comes time to takedown the next guy on his list, he seems to have a problem killing said person. It makes sense to takedown the guy without killing him to make a point, but he seems to struggle whether or not to kill the main criminals, whereas he literally just shot several bodyguards a minute ago, which becomes incredibly annoying.
The main female protagonist, Laurel Lance, is like Rachel Dawes from the Dark Knight trilogy, if the audience actually gave a crap whether or not Rachel dies. Even though Laurel is not the best character ever, she is a solid romantic interest, and while there is a "love-triangle" of sorts, it is not a big issue. Slade Wilson, a character that is featured heavily on the island segments of the series, is majorly cool and all kinds of bad*ss. He is probably the best aspect of the flashback scenes. Ollie's sidekick of sorts, John Diggle, is probably the second most well developed character in the series behind Oliver. Felicity Smoak, a computer specialist, who works for Queen Consolidated (Oliver's company), is featured later in the season, and she is one of my favorite parts. While some might be annoyed by her, Felicity's awkwardly hilarious remarks are a lot of fun. There are many other characters featured in Arrow, most of which serve their purpose well, especially the villains.
Action: 9.8/10- Unlike virtually every other series on TV, Arrow is a true action series. Every episode features a fun and mostly well choreographed action sequence.
While other series feature well executed action scenes, Arrow's tops just about everything else in live-action. Of course, the action scenes are not perfect, but the close-quarters-combat is well done with the series rarely, if ever, using shaky-cam. The only problem with the action scenes is that the bad guy's aim with a gun is often worse than a Stormtrooper. Seriously, when someone shoots at Oliver with an automatic gun, the bullets sometimes encircle him, but never hit their mark, which is absurd and often annoying.
Acting: 8.1/10- Stephen Amell plays the dark and brooding character of Oliver Queen very well. Also, Amell certainly has the physique to make the action scenes believable, although he should really try to wear a shirt more often, because there are not many episodes where he is not shirtless for a period of time. While not perfect, the performances in the series are often consistent and rather good, although Paul Blackthorne takes a bit to grow into his role.
Special effects: 7.1/10- Arrow is not a special effects heavy series, which is certainly for the best. Most episodes do not even feature obvious CGI, but when CGI is necessary; it stands out, and not in a good way. Overall, it is not a determent to the series, even if the lower budget is noticeable.
Soundtrack: 8.3/10- Arrow's soundtrack is one of the best in network television with some very exciting tracks that add to the action and superhero vibe.
Humor: 7.8/10- Arrow has its fair share of comedic moments, most of which are great, especially any scene with Felicity.
Entertainment Value: 9.0/10- Thanks to a plethora of fun comic book references, frequent action scenes, and a tone that maintains a perfect balance between light and dark, Arrow is almost always entertaining.
Overall: 8.2/10- While certainly flawed, season one of Arrow is a strong start for the series that sets the stage for, hopefully, an even better second season.
Closing comments: Except for the Dark Knight Trilogy and the Arkham video games, Arrow is easily the best thing DC has produced in ages.
Recommended for: Action fans, Crime drama fans, Comic Book fans, Superhero fans,
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