[The Flash](movie:15273) returned to television airwaves for the first time since 1991 and overall it was a decent start for the Scarlet Speedster. It does feel like the character has jumped off the comic book page and that is a huge accomplishment for such an ambitious property. The new series is a spin-off of the hugely successful CW show Arrow and is brought to life by producers Greg Berlanti and Geoff Johns. The pilot was directed by David Nutter, who is a veteran TV director with credits that range from the original 21 Jump Street to [Game of Thrones](movie:817617).
Grant Gustin (Glee) portrays the DC Comics' icon, in the newest adaptation of one of the most known characters in comic book lore. Gustin plays Barry Allen, a forensic scientist for the Central City Police department. He is affable, extraordinarily geeky, good-hearted, a little naive, all traits that mask a tragic and troubled childhood. An unlikely strike of lightning grants Allen with the gift of incomprehensible speed. This new found power gives him the ability to save lives and to unravel the mystery of the murder of his mother.
We are first introduced to Allen by voice-over while he is on-duty. In a clever sequence, Allen breaks down the crime scene of a violent bank robbery and the visual effects highlight Allen's innate ability to scan and process evidence. It immediately establishes that he has a formidable mind, before any type of physicality is established. However, the show wastes no time in getting the scientist on his way to becoming a hero and quickly distances itself from a standard crime procedural.
The beginning of the episode feels rushed. It's jarring how quickly the lightning strikes Allen and the plot gets moving. Which is fun, but he was in a coma for nine months and the only one who seems to have been genuinely concerned is his childhood friend and foster sister, Iris West. The show is admittedly cram packed with story and exposition, in fact CW added an extra 3 minutes to the pilot time. However, it literally seemed like he got struck by lightning and woke up the next day.
A strength of [The Flash](movie:15273) is in its casting. Gustin seems to fit the role like a glove. The optimism and joy that he exhibits when he discovers his new abilities is truly infectious. He also balances out his glibness, with an unexpected undercurrent of rage when it comes to justice being served. Allen is a complicated character because many of his physical and personality attributes, contrast so heavily with his optimism and the colorful world that he inhabits. Grant is great as the character, particularly in the scenes of self-discovery. The pure exhilaration that he exudes as he tests his limits is infectious. He also was the anchor carrying the emotional scene with his father John Wesley Shipp. (Check out the fun fact below.)
Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order) plays Allen's surrogate father, Joe West, a detective at the police department that Allen works at. His daughter Iris West, is played by Candice Patton, Allen's childhood friend and secret crush. It is clear that this hidden romance will be a continuing sub-plot, a la Clark and Lana in Smallville.
Tom Cavanaugh plays Harrison Wells, the head of S.T.A.R.S. lab and the man who is helping to groom Allen into the hero he will become, maybe... The other two primary members of the S.T.A.R.S. team, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdez), were either too wooden or too goofy. It's clear that they are supposed to balance each other out, but for some of the smartest guys in town...they seem a little green. However, due to a terrible explosion, they may simply be all that is left.
In the scenes where things slowed down, it becomes clear that most of the dialogue in the show is cliched and trite. This was never more evident than in the conversation Allen has with a surprise guest star on a rooftop. The dialogue was so wooden it seemed as if the actors could barely say them with a straight face. These moments quickly remind the viewer that this is a TV show on the CW. However, once the action hits, the special effects and scope of the action are high quality. Take a look at the Flash in movement:
The Flash feels like a comic book come to life. With that comes the good and the bad. The world is full of color and watching the Flash in motion is worth the price of admission. The creators will need to steer clear of being overly melodramatic and avoiding a monster-of-the-week scenario however. There are a multitude of villains and heroes they plan on introducing from the comics. Hopefully these characters are given the room to grow over a few episodes.
While The Flash is not a perfect show, it is most definitely a smile-inducing experience for fans of the character and comics. It looks to be the optimistic bright adventure that mirrors Arrow's shadowy exploits. There is a wide variety of superheroes being brought to life this season and this pilot is a strong start.
So what did you think happened in the final scene? Let discuss on the comment boards!
Source: Point of Geeks
FUN FACT: John Wesley Shipp played The Flash in the 1990 short-lived series.