A Superhero Series Review: The Arrow (Part I)

The prophecy that geeks will run the (entertainment) world is starting to come true. Aside from the movie industry, television and cable channels are slowly signing on the visual adaptation of graphic novel characters to expose everyone to the cinematic universe of Marvel and DC. Somehow, it makes me wonder why there’s a sudden commercial interest in this area. On a cultural case study level, could humanity be on an implicit journey to address a worldwide moral crisis in finding creative ways of reviving the spirit of heroism in its audience, especially the youth? There are countries still terribly torn by war, corruption, and religious violence. Crime will never be eradicated, unjust deaths of the innocent still break our hearts. On the other hand, natural disasters make people realize that the wrath of Mother Earth is a force that’s beyond our control. What are we to do and how are we to cope? Superheroes are symbolic representatives of hope and inspiration, but since the three guys that I picked are all human (just with extra strength and abilities), they are very relatable in their issues of frailty and inadequacy to answer the need to step up and be a savior. Why are they popular now, and what makes them relevant? These are all my personal thoughts and humble opinions, of course.

I can't find a clothed poster (excuse for the abs)
I can’t find a clothed poster (excuse for the abs)

The premise of the series didn’t interest me much at first. Playboy billionaire’s yacht sinks, he gets stranded on an island, gets survival skills training in the island for five years and returns home with a bucket of secrets, then decides to be a vigilante to save Starling City. When he realizes that the world doesn’t revolve around him, he makes it his cause to throw away his life for others. Now I don’t exactly know if people with post-traumatic stress disorders ever return to their pre-PTSD happy selves because Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen certainly isn’t a ray of sunshine in the three seasons. It isn’t hard to figure out what the Arrow’s life trajectory is. It just occurred to me now what the phrase “straight arrow” really means because it’s perfect for Oliver! Although not exactly honest and not exactly morally proper, Queen’s one-track mind of wanting to be a criminal killing machine created the paradoxical personal and social repercussions he had to go through. His tragic past of torture and emotional pain hardened him too much, and he isn’t accepting of failure and defeat (he even has an aversion to team work). He means well though, and he will always sacrifice his life just for everyone to be safe, but the series is also his journey to enlightenment that being alive is as much a source of heroism than always offering himself to be the sacrificial lamb.

Stephen Amell is a real stuntsman, and his physical investment in this is truly amazing. Maybe it’s required for the role for him to be as formal and as serious as he could so I can’t really vouch for emotional value in his character. He always tries to be the pillar and the leader who doesn’t crack under pressure! Thanks to John Diggle and Felicity Smoak, his friends demonstrate that compassion is what makes a true hero and that heroes need a lot of help from friends. Oliver Queen operated as a fixed point, but Felicity and the other supporting characters flourish in their own timelines. It’s the supporting cast that gives life to Oliver and this series. Without them, this series would tank. The Arrow is too much of a dark cloud, similar to Eeyore of Pooh and friends. I have to say though that ALL characters had their chance to show their dark sides along the way. That’s a great tactic in character development, but since ALL of them had to be featured, it got quite heavy in tone.

Here's the cast goofing around so I'll remember they're not morose IRL
Here’s the cast goofing around so I’ll remember they’re not morose IRL

I’d like to thank Felicity and Ray Palmer for the comic relief and for being a beautiful couple, although it’s sad that she really had to choose the brooding man in the end. Yeah, yeah. I get it. You can be a perfect match with someone else yet there is something that lacks in them to make you happy and contented. If I were Felicity though, I’ll choose The Atom because he doesn’t burrow into a rabbit hole. Thank you, Diggle, for being a rock of loyalty but also a rock of sense when Oliver closes himself to the world. Thank you, Roy, for being persistent in wanting to be a protege and in the end, his savior. I have to thank John Barrowman who’s an awesome Malcolm Merlyn. I missed him as Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood. That was his happy, sunshiny phase. Thank you, The Flash…

[End of Part I. Coming up, The Flash!]

Lemony Snicket series on Netflix!


I.can’t.wait. Loved the books, loved the movie. Its dark humor is certainly not for everyone, and I like how Netflix seems like it’s making really smart but unorthodox choices for its adaptations (a review of Daredevil is coming up). I sense a prevailing mood and tone that’s definitely not on the happy happy joy joy end (insert maniacal laugh here). Just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a trailer of the movie 5 years ago starring Jim Carrey:

Sunny Baudelaire is so cute. I’ll watch that movie again soon.