When Arrow came out, it was considered a big question mark in terms of whether it would succeed or not. After all, this wasn’t a mega-popular DC character, especially among the casual fans. Also, there were numerous comparisons at the beginning to Batman, and the Nolan trilogy of movies. However, after a very successful starter season, and a mega-popular second season, Arrow has allowed the doors to open for another DC hero to takes its place on the CW. Barry Allen, aka the Flash.
I’m going to make this as non-spoilerific as I can. If you want spoilers, or want to see my views on THOSE scenes, check out this podcast I did awhile back after watching the pilot. But for this pilot, especially since I’m doing the review BEFORE the launch, I’ll keep it spoiler-free.
The Flash pilot, by all intents and purposes, is the perfect mix of action, comedy, story and foreshadowing of what this series can be. I have made known that I really liked the Arrow pilot, I even named it one of the best episodes of season 1. Flash though tops it, and that was truly mind-blowing to me.
For those thinking that the show would pull an Arrow and start the pilot after the lightning strike we saw during the crossover, not so fast. The pilot shows what Barry’s life before the night that changed him forever. I feel this was important, especially since “the night” in question was altered a little from how we saw it in Arrow.
A big question is whether Grant Gustin can bring to life Barry Allen, some (including myself) were unimpressed with him in the Arrow episodes. Put your mind at ease friends, for with the focus now solely on him Grant shines as Barry. Showing off a smart, excited, passionate, friendly, yet socially awkward kid that can’t help but root for. Especially as his backstory gets more and more flushed out.
Speaking of fleshed out, the supporting cast of Flash was shown in full effect as well. From Detective West and his daughter Iris, to STAR Labs crew (and future Team Flash members…) Wells, Snow, and Ramon, this is a deep cast, each with their own personalities and stories that we’ll no doubt get to learn as the series continues.
Now, the main difference between Arrow and Flash is the use of CGI. Flash NEEDS the CGI as he’ll be running at the speed of light (more or less), and they’ll be dealing with meathumans (aka people with powers), but for a TV show, the budget can sometimes hamper the effects. Well with the exception of one small scene, the effects look really good. Whether it remains consistently good remains to be seen, but first impressions lean to it being well done.
There are only some small nitpicks that bring the pilot down from a perfect score. First, though the show is generally lighter in tone, and loves comedy more than Arrow does, there is some flat comedy and eye-rolling moments. One moment in particular is a scene between Iris and Barry which ends just like a romantic comedy movie we’ve seen a thousand times over. Did it need to happen? Maybe. Could it have been done better? Yes.
The other downfall is the villain. One that many a DC fan will recognize, even if they don’t “say” his villain name. The villain in question is very flat in both story and dialogue, which is a shame because he started off with an impact at the beginning of the episode.
Some may say, “it’s the pilot! You don’t have to have a meaningful villain there at the beginning!”, and I would agree to an extent. Especially with what the episode did in regards to fleshing out Barry and his supporting cast. However, the effort that went into making this villain, and the subsequent use of powers makes me wonder why they didn’t spend a few more minutes on him. Especially given his relevance in the DC and Flash universe.
All that aside, the Flash pilot gives fans of all kinds something to love. From the characters, to the action scenes, to a certain “meeting” midway through, and of course the Easter Eggs and foreshadowing of what’s to come, there’s a lot to enjoy.
So for those who are reading this and wondering whether they should watch it (or watch it again), I would highly recommend running to your TV’s when it arrives.