The Flash Season 1 Pilot "City of Heroes" Review

10/07/2014 Stephen Colbert 0 Comments


It's been a long time coming, but CW has officially launched it's shared DC TV universe.  Arrow is now in its third season, and it is officially joined by Flash.

Flash is one of the more ambitious adaptations in the new era of live action comic book adaptations.  When the words "grounded" and "gritty" are thrown around with almost every new comic book property, Flash just sounds like it would be out of place, especially when it is sharing a universe with Arrow, which is known for being (mostly) grounded.

Fortunately, Flash nailed it.  At least as far as pilots go.  After only one episode, it feels like the show is already in full swing.  Where Arrow, Gotham, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. all seemed to struggle to find their feet, Arrow hits the ground running (yes).

Tonally, Flash is has gotten (and will likely continue to get) a lot of comparisons to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies.  They are very fun, with a self aware narration, but still hit the proper dramatic moments.  It's an excellent blend of fun and seriousness that allows it to exist in its own tonally distinct episodes, but still fit in with Arrow when the crossovers come.

The writing is fairly solid.  It has many of CW teen angst and drama issues, but it is mature enough.  It also does a phenomenal job of weaving in an impressive number of easter eggs without hitting us over the head with each and every one.  It's a very deft execution of what could easily have been a massive flop.

Performances are also mostly excellent.  There's a few moments where this show seems to shine better than arrow, with a cast that seems slightly more dynamic.  Grant Gustin is very entertaining and makes a great match for the character of Barry Allen (even if he's not blonde).  We'll see how everyone holds up over time, but so far, there are not any characters that really bug me.

The effects were quite good for a CW show.  Showing Flash move at a super speed is definitely a technical challenge, but they put together a good blend of effects to make a believable and cool looking scarlet speedster.  The big question is if the effects are a one trick pony.  Barry Allen can't only run fast, but his super speed enables him to perform many other feats which I'm sure will be explored in later episodes.  Effectively pulling off super speed moves besides running as a red blur will be a central point to this show continuing to stand up.

All in all?  One of the best TV pilots I've seen.  Barry Allen was introduced through season 2 of Arrow, so it did get a little but of a hand up, but the pilot definitely didn't lean on it's CW neighbor for support.  Sure, Arrow ties were definitely established, but The Flash stands firmly on it's own very red, very fast feet.


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