Honestly, I only started watching The Arrow because I was excited about Barry Allen’s insertion in the former’s storyline during The Flash teaser promo. I wanted to know where the intersection in their timelines began. I have a huge crush on this dude who sang and danced in Glee and who seemed PERFECT as the awkward nerd who’ll play a huge role in saving both Starling and Central City. After having seen the first season, I’d say he is!
If Oliver Queen is yin, Barry Allen is his yang. He’s from a middle-class family and is haunted by his mother’s murder when he was a child. His father, though innocent, was accused of the death and sent to prison because no one can explain the phenomenon of the figure who created a speed tornado and killed his mother. Although this was Barry’s emotional baggage, he’s a pleasant, earnest guy searching for the truth until lightning struck him and changed his lifestyle and perspective.
Barry is charming and smart, but a little clumsy and always late for work. The particle accelerator-charged lightning that originated from Star Labs gave him the speed and efficiency that he needed, and it was such an amusing discovery on his end. Barry can’t stop himself from pushing his speed to the test, especially when the Star Labs crew composed of Dr. Caitlyn, Cisqo, and Dr. Wells employed him to maximize his skills and actually help the city fight crime through his speed. The visual effects for The Flash are seamless, and the comedic timing of his entrances and exits are always fun. Of course, a life with superpowers is not always fun because the explosion of Dr. Wells’ machine had created other meta-humans aside from Barry who gained control of worldly and natural elements.
When Barry had trouble with mastery of his skills, The Arrow came in to help with his physical training. The crossovers really pumped up both the viewership and the ‘meat’ of their stories. Whoever thought of that was brilliant because it juxtaposed how Queen’s darkness and Allen’s light, when combined, actually make a good team that complements and learns from each other. Barry’s world is admittedly too fantastic and idealistic, even metaphysical. The Arrow grounded him and made him realize that idealism won’t always work in Starling City where the threats were of a wide-scale conspiracy of government, military, and cult assassins. Strategies are completely different because Oliver faced humans with human tendencies as compared to the meta-humans using extraordinary powers.
The Flash, on the other hand, helped The Arrow lighten up. Barry’s hopefulness was a notch higher than Oliver’s, but our scarlet speedster did give up a few times out of frustration. Unlike Oliver though, his moral integrity was well placed, his family support strongly conventional. The script always had heartwarming scenes with Barry’s two fathers and with his friends, and his crime fighting ways were not to shift attention to himself by causing a scandal. His covert strategy showed a higher level of emotional quotient, but believe me, my biases are not because I like the actor. I loved how the storylines, up until the very end, were born out of pure love instead of deep trauma, hate, and revenge. I was a puddle of tears in the season finale and I guess so were the hundreds of viewers who watched Barry make the most difficult decision of his life. Those Broadway dudes made heartbreak so real (I’m talking about Jesse L. Martin and Grant Gustin’s exchanges). Oh, and of course, the original The Flash, John Wesley Shipp casted as Barry Allen’s father, is just an awesome thing to happen in the television world. You could see that there was so much of empathy and emotion in his eyes as he looks at the younger version of himself go through the hardships he used to. On a lighter note, Cisqo stands out. I love him. He’s a natural as the quintessential funny geek.
The Arrow’s stark realism is balanced by The Flash’s optimism so the audience can get a healthy dose of contrasts when watching these two shows side by side. It’s just enjoyable to see them struggle with their character differences! It’s an exciting time for Grant Gustin to have the mainstream exposure not just in season 2 of his show, and in The Arrow’s fourth, but there’s also the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. I love the idea of how the storylines are getting weaved with other DC characters. Marvel’s not the only one expanding its cinematic universe. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to read all of the graphic novels to be able to make a comparative review. I’ll stick to watching the shows and the movies. The next few years are gonna be filled with them heroes. I just don’t know how to feel about Grant Gustin NOT being the actor for the film. I don’t have anything against Ezra Miller, but fans are definitely going to feel the confusion of seeing a different face if the movie and the shows co-exist in the same year. I’ll cross the bridge when I get there. In the meantime, here’s the teaser trailer for next season. Will we see Caitlyn and Cisqo suddenly as villains? We’ll find out soon!