TV Review: Arrow Pilot/Episode 2
This past week, I watched the pilot for Arrow, the new DC series on the CW (which is owned and operated by Warner Bros. the owners of DC Comics). Taking the character of Oliver Queen and moving him into his own series, Arrow is borrows heavily from the realistic tone of the Christopher Nolan Batman films, even going so far as to include a “no powers” rule on the show. This version of Oliver Queen is completely removed from the Green Arrow who teamed up with Clark Kent in Smallville, and I have to say. If there’s another hero besides Batman who benefits from a realistic tone, it’s Green Arrow.
Well, actually, it’s “Arrow” now. Or maybe not. Oliver Queen never names his alter ego, instead donning a green hood and slapping green face paint over his eyes, like war paint. As someone who is aware of Green Arrow’s origin but has only read a handful of stories involving the character, the pilot episode was very easy to follow, and sets up a ton of interesting plot points for later in the season, even if the narration by Stephen Amell is a little much at times.
Speaking of Amell, he’s arguably the standout, and if the show proves to be a hit, could be a big star. He’s charming when he puts on the Bruce Wayne-ish “aloof billionaire” act, and suitably badass as Green Arrow (I’m calling him that even if the show won’t). The action scenes were surprisingly brutal. Any comparisons between Queen and Bruce Wayne will end once viewers see Oliver snap the neck of an attacker, or shooting arrows into the vital organs of some henchmen. Oliver Queen is out to save his city, by any means necessary.
And that means killing people. A lot of people. Unlike Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen has no qualms with cashin’ checks and snappin’ necks. Or hitting major organs with his arrows. Yes, the golden age Green Arrow is nowhere to be seen here, as Oliver Queen takes no prisoners in getting revenge on the people who have been ruling his city, particularly when he battles with some thieves who try to kidnap the newly returned Queen for ransom.
Speaking of “his city”, the monologue does get to be a little too Frank Miller at times, and there are a few times where the pseudo-Nolan take on the character gets to be a little too much. Plus, the show is CW all the way: all of the characters are ridiculously good looking, almost to the point where they are completely unbelievable. Seriously, there are points where you see the characters walking around the city that look like they’re pulled from an Abercrombie and Fitch bag.
While I’m not a huge Green Arrow fan, I am aware of his back-story and history. There are some weird liberties taken with this version of the character. Despite this, the pilot is extremely well done and much better than expected. The second episode definitely dipped in quality a little bit, however. Amell’s acting seemed a little stiffer here, leaving to some unintentionally humorous moments, and the introduction of the first villain, China White, left much to be desired. The fight scene between Arrow and White was cool though, even if it was over before it even started.
And yet, there’s something about this show that I found intriguing, despite my gripes about the second episode. Sure, it’s goofy that Queen somehow learned new languages while on the island, but those questions will presumably be answered throughout the season. As it stands right now, Arrow is a show that has a lot of potential, and is already doing a lot of fan service (episode three will feature Deadshot, and Deathstroke has already been teased for later in the season), but I hope the story doesn’t get overshadowed by the villain appearances. As of right now, Arrow hits the mark more than it misses, and is worth a view from DC fans.