The flash is everything that is great about superheroes, it’s both light hearted and at times serious, it’s funny, it’s got over the top villains and it’s all grounded in a relatively realistic situation.
Now I originally didn’t like the flash, the first 4-5 episodes came off as cheesy and just annoying. I thought the storylines were poor and the cast wasn’t great, but it wasn’t until I was listening to a Kevin smith podcast recently that I realised what was great about the show. Every single episode was like reading a comic book, each week featuring a different villain with an overarching story that would run across multiple issues all to be collated into a trade paperback. This is the exact same but collated as a individual season instead, we get all of that plus things like a title card popping up and a teaser for what’s to come following it, much alike comics. It was at this point that I returned and realised how great the show actually is. Superhero films are always great fun to watch, rarely have I watched a bad superhero film. But they lack the ability of being able to explore the depths of the more random villains, or obscurer fun storylines because 1, there only being made once every 1 or 2 years and 2, because audiences generally want more mainstream content (I can’t imagine the dark knight film would have been as popular had the villain been the court of owls). This means there are tons of superhero villains and stories that are left untouched by films because of the above (and sometimes because they are too complicated to put into 1 film) and “The flash” goes completely against this. Every week we’re getting ridiculous villains like Heat wave or Girder and even exploring the origins of the flashpoint storyline, all things that would never have been explored in film. This is what makes it special, no other TV show will commit to the comics like this and I absolutely love that.
The cast also grew on me, once I returned with this new mindset I realised how true each actor was to their comic counterpart. The lines that originally seemed to cheesy to me came across as being lines that would have been taken straight out of a comic. By the end of the season certain actors had come into the spotlight. Grant Gustins performance in the second half of the season rivals that of most film superheroes. His performance in the last episode is testament to how brilliant he can be and how even Tv shows can rival films in quality. Cisco has also become a great actor and has over time embraced his weird but very intelligent cameos and I always appreciate a good film reference even if they become a bit crowbarred in. The only other actor to come close to Grant though is Tom Cavanagh who plays Harrison Wells, the villain of the season. He, without spoilers, plays his very mixed role flawlessly, switching between villian and good guy almost seamlessly. He gets even better later on in the season and when the explanations start arriving and some dark storylines come in he rises above the majority of the cast.
The CGI on the show isn’t perfect but at times it really does come across as film worthy, especially the very last scene in the season. The flash genuinely looks good when at super speed and gorrila grodd looks especially great when he appears (a perfect example of an obscure villian, no film would ever do gorrila grodd in fear of scrutiny, this was a risk that paid off). There are some moments that don’t look as great but they never really take you away from the action because what your watching is normally really fun and entertaining to watch. This show isn’t afraid to get complex either, never did I ever think I’d find a flash TV show that would introduce time travel, never mind in the first season, it’s another example of it taking risks and them all paying off. Not only that but in season 2 the prospect of earth 2 gets brought into concept, again something i never thought id see on screen. Bit by bit the show introduces the rogues (a villian troupe similar to that of suicide squad) and we see how that is building up as the show progresses. The show even brought back Mark hammil playing the same role he did in the original flash TV show its insane how much depth and effort they go into for fan service.
Obviously this is also part of a bigger picture, the Warner Bros TV universe now contains 4 shows and bit by bit there all crossing over and it works so well. I’ve never seen Arrow before, I know bits and pieces about it, but even I recognised how cool it was to see the flash, green arrow and some other heroes unite and fight villians. It felt epic when they all arrived and I have a feeling that if it continues like this we could be getting our own TV justice league which would insane. You definitely don’t need to watch any of the other shows but I’m sure it would only further how cool some interactions are.
I’ve made the show out to be perfect which it’s not, the CGI can be a poor at times (it seems like the budget was spent primarily on some big events). The cast can sometimes come off as really cheesy and a bit awkward, Caitlin especially, and not every joke hits. But when I’m watching this I’m not really thinking about that I’m so busy being baffled by the surprising introduction of storylines and villians that I can deal with that because the show is just fun. It has reduced me to fanboy status, I’m so excited to see every episode because I genuinely want to know what villian they will use next, or see them travel in time or visit earth 2. This show is fearless in the experimental department, I’ve not seen a superhero this close to the source material ever and its ability to not treat the fans/audience as idiots is refreshing. You have to have a good knowledge of the DC universe and flash to propely enjoy this to its full extent (if you do youll get smaller references and probably be more excited when certain huge things happen). I’m not saying you won’t enjoy it if you don’t, but you probably won’t get the same enjoyment out of it. For example my face lit up when i first saw a gorilla grodd reference and when they mentioned in passing about a missing fighter pilot, it’s all so much better if your aware of what your watching before you see it on screen. This is my favourite show at the moment and the heartbreaking ending to the first season only makes me more excited for the next season.
Written By- Dawson Roberts