CW’s new show, “The Flash”, is set in the pre-existing “Arrow” universe. Despite having comic book origins, characters, and concepts; “Arrow” has been notable for being more realistic in it’s take on things. Even so much as changing Count Vertigo into a drug dealer of a drug called Vertigo. Flash exists in the same universe, but feels like it goes in the opposite direction.
Flash is created in an accident (as seen in the Arrow episode “Three Ghosts”, when S.T.A.R. Labs’ particle accelerator overloads causing freak lightening strikes across Central City. Later, it’s revealed that this same accident created quite a few of what Dr. Wells calls Meta-Humans. This accident also left Wells paralysed and ruined S.T.A.R. Labs, leaving him bitter. The series then continues in the tried and true “Hero Discovers his Powers, Hero has Doubts, People in Hero’s life convince him he can do it and to keep it a secret” formula. While on one hand, this formula is sort of stale, it sort of works for the series.
To me, the introduction of Flash’s team feels very heavy-handed. “I do the science”, “I make the gadgets”, “I’m the older scientist/mentor”. It feels more like a role call than an introduction of characters. The pilot, in parts, feels like they crammed 2 hours of content into a 42 minute bag and in other parts it feels like it’s dwelling too long on subjects that would be better fleshed out across a season like the Barry Allen – Iris West – Eddie Thawne Love Triangle. Thawne is a name that fans of the comics might relate to Professor Zoom, someone who the series seems to be developing as the murderer of Flash’s mother (also keeping with the comics).
I think my biggest problem I already knew was coming. Quicksilver was portrayed perfectly in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” as a character who moves at super-speed and is forced to wait on everyone else who moves at normal speed.
“The Flash” chooses the opposite way of portraying it’s hero. Barry Allen is someone who moves at normal speed with everyone else but CAN move at super-speed. In one moment it’s telling us that his heart is beating insanely fast and shows him perceiving the universe in slo-mo, but then it makes those instances more like “Wanted” where they don’t happen all the time, only when he uses his super-speed. I already knew I was going to say this, but Bryan Singer and Evan Peters have ruined me for all other speedsters. It’s quite possible that they’ve set the bar too high.
All-in-all, I found the series enjoyable and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here. There’s more about the series to talk about and muse on, but I hate spoilers and I know others do too, so I’ll leave it at saying one more thing: The use of Weather Wizard as a meta-human isn’t half bad. While “The Flash” doesn’t have an official release date, it’s generally assumed that it will premiere in October to run back to back with it’s source, “Arrow”. I’m looking forward to seeing just how much of an influence the introduction of meta-humans will have on the Arrow universe or if it’ll be handled in the manor of “Static Shock”‘s Bang Babies who never seemed to leave Dakota City.