Wednesday, October 10, 2012
So I recently finished taking in the pilot for the new CW show 'Arrow.' For the one or two people out there who are not so much in to comics the show is an adaptation of the DC Comics character Green Arrow. I guess the producers decided to drop the "Green" from the name since historically green superheroes do not tend to do so well in terms of live action adaptations. Green Lantern, Green Hornet, The Hulk, you get my drift. I had been looking forward to the show for quite awhile and after seeing the adds, was really digging the more grass roots approach they seemed to be taking with the emerald archer who, in a departure from his more theatrical, hi tech depiction as a re-acurring character in Smallvile, was now wielding an actual bow and sporting a no thrills vigilante get-up.
The show kicks off with a haggard looking Oliver Queen being rescued from a remote island were we find out he has been stranded for five years. The flippant, overprindulged son of a wealthy industrial Tycoon who perished in the shipwreck that turned him into a castaway, Oliver returns to his home town of Starling City a changed man with a newfound social conscience and an agenda against the criminal elite who have profited in the wake of his father's demise. While openly trying to reconcile matters with his family and an old flame, Oliver secretly dons a Green hood, and armed with little more than the bow and arrow sets about a one man crusade to set things right while making some very powerful people very angry in the process.
Throughout his comic book history Green Arrow has always struggled with the perception of being a cheap knockoff of Batman, even being dubbed the unflattering nickname of "Batman Lite." Arrow does not do a whole lot to disprove this mispercection as indeed the pilot has A LOT in common with 2005's Batman Begins both in tone and narrative structure. From Oliver Queen's character building years in exhile, to his mission to take on the crimminals who are morally bankrupting his hometown, to the requisite love interest who works in a law office and is already trying, albeit unsucessfully to make a difference from within the system, to the none linear format the story is constructed in jumping back and forth from the present day to the fateful beginning of Oliver's ordeal when his father's yacht capsized in a storm, all of these felt somewhat derivative of Bruce Wayne's journey in the first entry of the recently concluded trilogy. I am not necessarily saying this is a bad thing. Better they try and copy something that was good than something that wasn't.
Probably my biggest qualm with the pilot was that it just seemed too rushed. I would really have liked to see more service given to Ollie on the island, struggling to make the rough transition from a world were everything was handed to him on a silver platter to one were he has to kick scratch and claw for every scrap of food he can get. On that same note, I wish they had built up the bow more and explored the idea of him employing the same tool he mastered to stay alive as a weapon to fight injustice. Like Captain America's shield or Thor's hammer, Green Arrow's bow is an integral part of who he is and what he represents though in the pilot next to nothing is said about what it means to him or even were the heck he got it in the first place. Perhaps this is a theme that will be touched on in later episodes.
Despite falling a bit short of a bullseye Arrow's aim was true and it definately hit the marks that will make me want to tune in again next week. Just no Arrowmobile please.