So The Flash pilot leaked and the internet is exploding with all sorts of hype and freak outs. I was able to watch it and I have to say that I was absolutely floored with how good it was. Yes, it’s true that pilots are normally a lot stronger than the rest of the season due to it’s sole purpose of getting the series picked up and yes, one could worry about the drop in investment on quality writing and special effects in the rest of the episodes, and yes…yadda yadda yadda yadda. As I watched the Flash, I realized that despite even considering about worrying about all of these potential drop offs, this episode had so much fun, action, comedy, and set up all in one episode, it legitimately gives me hope that the creators of the Flash will be taking smart notes from Arrow’s book in continuing to create a full season’s worth of quality episodes. So here’s a break down of what I thought about the Flash pilot below.
This review contains no major plot spoilers, but does contain images from the leaded episode that can contain sensitive information.
All Images Owned by The CW and DC Comics
My Background with The Flash
I think it’s important to discuss my background with The Flash first. Something important to realize is that I’ve never actually read a comic book starring The Flash. I actually received today my shipping of New 52 Flash vol. 1: Move Forward, but I haven’t been able to read it. Other instances where I’ve seen the Flash are comic books like The Justice League vol. 1 & 2, the webcomic JL8, and animated television series like Young Justice and Justice League, and even those last 2 had a different Flash that wasn’t Barry Allen. But from what I’ve seen in the television shows and team based comic books, I’ve learned a couple things about Barry Allen. He’s kind of a dork, he’s often hungry, and he’s super good hearted. I’ve read that Batman said he would want to be the idealistic human being Barry Allen is if he wasn’t so jaded. All these were taken into account as I watched how the writers interpreted Barry Allen. I’ll be sure to reevaluate this as I watch the rest of the season and catch up on his New 52 run.
Grant Gustin as The Flash
Grant Gustin was introduced as Barry Allen in the second season of Arrow. Audiences absolutely fell in love with the flat footed dork Barry that Gustin brought and helped the show pick up a chance of being ordered for a full season. Gustin brings it on again in his own 42 minute episode where he does a little bit of Sherlock brilliance as a crime scene forensic specialist. The episode primarily acts as an origin and background story, focusing on how what a day in the life of Barry Allen is and how gets his powers. Years of comic book myth-lore is difficult to cram in 42 minutes, which is why I’m glad this episode took it easy and spread out the origin story throughout the episode and I’m sure we’ll see it more in the coming season. This is why movies based on comic books are difficult because they try to tell the origin story, set up a villain, set up the heroes motives, do the battle, and show the resolution. The Flash pilot only tries to tackle a couple of these major points, not trying to develop anything too much and leave it more to teasing, much like Arrow does, building suspense and hype for the audience. And that’s only the first episode.
The Supporting Cast
Surrounding Barry is a cast of stereotypes yet to be developed, save a few exceptions. He’s got a childhood love interest who keeps him in the friend zone, her cop dad, a geeky gadget maker, a quirky/closed-off lady scientist, and most interesting Tom Cavanagh’s Harrison Wells. There’s plenty of character development to be had here, both good and bad, which we’ll assume due to Arrow’s track record of having melodramatic moments that, while they develop characters, often feel like they’re taking up screen time. This drag might seem be afflicting at first, but as I look back at season’s 1 and 2 of Arrow, some of those episodes were only painful because they felt like they were taking up time from the main events going on. But in hindsight of the entire season, those episodes truly did develop the characters in interesting ways that make me feel attached to them. Let’s hope The Flash can do this similarly. The last thing we need is another ‘ Goddamnit Laurel’ thing.
The DC Easter Eggs and Teasers
I’m not that familiar with Flash lore and I still picked up on several DC callbacks. The one I have shown above actually holds no relevance to the episode, but shows that we may indeed see one of Flash’s most notable enemies. You’d have to search on the DC forums to get a full list of the references done on only the pilot, but if this show is anything like Arrow, we’ll see so many references to the extended universe from subtle to blatant in the coming episodes. The more blatant references serve as hype and set up for [from what I can tell from the DC reddit] a lot of crazy things to come.
The Special Effects
Arrow is a much easier TV show to make because a vigilante with a bow and arrow isn’t as expensive to work around then a hero whose super power is super speed. Luckily we live in an age of where good CGI can be delivered to the silver screen. The Flash pilot had a lot of special effects. I mean a lot. I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer and yes, Barry Allen’s speed looks great. Here’s to hoping there is enough in the budget to deliver that greatness for 20+ episodes. Because based on The Flash’s rogue gallery: Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, Zoom, Mirror Man, etc., there is bound to be a lot of crazy things to be seen. We’ve only recently seen Arrow amp up it’s budget for explosions, submarines, etc., and those are normally saved for the big episodes like mid season and season finales. Can Arrow keep it up for 20+ episodes? I sure hope so.
Just based on the episode, we’re bound to get a lot of what the audience will be begging for. The creators of Arrow love teasing and hyping up the extended universe and delivering on the Flash shows just how far they’re willing to please us. We want to see Ollie and Barry team up, the rooftop scene in the trailer delivered. You wanna see a giant Gorilla rampaging in Central City, they’ve already teased it. You want to see metahuman vs. metahuman fights, that’ll hopefully be just about every other episode. The Flash is setting the bar even higher for more mainstream comic book heroes to make it to the silver screen, in terms of budget, big names, and extended universes. I have high hopes for the Flash television show. I plan on tuning in very Tuesday come this Fall.