Both of CW’s superhero TV shows have been building up to huge things recently and this week broke into a full sprint, delivering some fantastic television to the fans.
Arrow has been consistently brilliant week to week since the end of season 1, however they are still holding a lot back. The compelling content we have been getting is amazing, it feels like the most important developments we will see on the show ever and yet they still have a lot more up their sleeve. You know a show is good when it always feels like we are seeing the endgame. Every mid-season premier, mid-season finale or season finale has the gravitas of a final epic conclusion. And yet it still gets bigger and better every time.
Fittingly, The Flash has hit its stride very quickly indeed. The Flash has already begun delivering some killer superhero content. It isn’t overly gritty or too fluffy either, it is just a fun balance of good characters and impressive action set pieces. The Fastest Man Alive is very authentically realised on-screen, Grant Gustin is a very charismatic actor and the SFX have a lot of influence from how The Flash’s powers look in the comics.
The latest episode, which was a return after a short hiatus was rated 10/10 on IMDB. The fact that so many people viewed this as a perfect piece of television shows the effect it had on both fans of the comic and people who are fairly new to the character. Regardless of how familiar you are with the source material no doubt it is clear to you that this mid-season premier seemed to be straight out of the panels of a comic. Fans have been eagerly awaiting the reveal of Reverse Flash’s identity as well as the introduction of time travel since the show began. The writers have perfectly built up the mystery surrounding Harrison Wells and The Man In The Yellow Suit over recent weeks, these plot lines got some pay off on Tuesday in an explosive and gripping episode. The episode took the gloves off and smacked the viewers in the face with unrestrained comic book style action and plot twists. I believe the scene between Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes in which everything is revealed about Reverse Flash will become iconic. It may go down in history as one of the biggest moments in The Flash’s run, superheroes in general perhaps. A big part of this is the fact that the writers dumped all of the answers on us that we have been waiting for. The importance of this scene is also due in no small part to the acting and screen presence of Carlos Valdes who plays Cisco and Tom Cavanagh who plays Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells. I talk about this episode in more detail in my episode review which you can find here. There is still more to come too, I can’t wait for the appearance of Gorilla Grodd as a proper villain, from what I have seen Grodd could be incredible. Huge things are coming in the season ahead check it out in the trailer below:
Arrow has a much grittier tone and more martial arts and weaponry orientated fight scenes than the more traditional superhero vibe of The Flash. You would think then that the two wouldn’t work well together and yet when the two shows crossover it is pure magic. We got the Arrow/Flash team up episode a while ago and characters from both pop up on each other’s shows every now and then. It works, the CW have given us a DC shared universe on TV, we get a dose of DC superhero team-up on the small screen too now. It’s fascinating to see these well written and amazingly accurate representations of iconic characters interact on-screen.
Things are looking incredible on Arrow also. The characters deepen with every episode making the dialogue scenes as engaging as the action moments. I find the focus of this season absolutely enthralling, this on-screen version of Ra’s al Ghul is just an enigma that you want to know more about. Matt Nable puts on a very subdued yet charismatic performance. You are always focussed on that character, even when he is saying and doing nothing he draws the camera to him. Ghul is just a very visually interesting character that draws you in. Many fans were no doubt satisfied by the long-awaited appearance of the Lazarus pools in Ra’s lair. As for where the plot will go from here I honestly can’t say.
What is interesting is that there is talk of yet another TV series set in this shared DC TV universe. The rumours are that the CW Network will create a series based on Firestorm and ATOM. The idea of a TV show focussing on Firestorm I am absolutely sold on. You only have to watch his scenes in The Flash, especially the moment Martin and Ronnie get their power under control to know this is an excellent idea. The action scene at the end of the mid-season finale when the two became able to merge at will and communicate telepathically was awesome. The special effects and choreography of the action in that scene created a fluid and exciting action sequence. Showing that Firestorm taking out multiple assailants is awesome. The acting of both Robbie Amell and Victor Garber combined with the amazing visuals make the character a real screen presence. Not to forget that there is two people in there has a lot of dramatic mileage.
However, I think the character of ATOM needs some work. Brandon Routh is a brilliant actor and the troubled genius side of the character is compelling. I just don’t like the ATOM as a superhero. The suit looks stupid in my opinion and the effects on it when we saw him fly looked really cheesy. However, it is still early days its possible that I will be convinced after seeing ATOM do more.
The CW are at the top of the food chain when it comes to superhero TV shows, for the moment. We will see if that changes when Netflix release Daredevil, Luke Cage and A.K.A Jessica Jones. These exclusives to Netflix could tip the balance back in Marvel’s favour in the TV war. If this happens Marvel will be winning the battle on yet another front. We will see…