With myself taking part in MPU's fall semester, I wanted to take one of my submissions each week and use it to celebrate someone or something rather than have them all my focus on criticisms and judgements. (I'm British judging things harshly is what I do)
This week I want to take the time out to commend one Stephen Amell a.k.a Oliver Queen a.k.a The Arrow a.k.a Green Arrow. Not Just him as a character on one of my favourite shows, but the man in general as well.
"Can I say something strange? *brief pause* I'm happy."
These are words that will haunt most fans of The Arrow for a very long time, but I'm hear to draw your attention to all things good where our emerald archer is concerned.
Admittedly I wasn't the biggest fan of Arrow when it first aired in the UK. I was stuck in that post Nolan era where anything that even tried to come close to that sort of felt like an instant write off. But I swallowed my pride after some time had passed and I purchased the season 1 and 2 box-set and I watched them in their entirety. I then stormed through season 3, and I have to say I LOVED it (maybe watching them back to back helps with the less than exciting episodes).
I wasn't a fan of what Smallvile did to The Green Arrow, given that he was one of my favourite characters. (anyone with a bow and arrow was a winner to a younger, Josh Hardie.) So Stephen Amell's take on the character was a refreshing change. He brought a level of seriousness to the character and I feel it's his performance and passion behind the scenes that has really driven this lesser league member to the foreground in recent years.
Before Arrow started, superheroes on the television were somewhat lacking (Don't get me started on heroes). But the creators behind this show and Stephen Amell really broke that curse and set a really high standard for all others to follow (With some credit going towards the Dark Knight films, Naturally). It's my honest opinion that without the hard work and craft that went into this show we wouldn't have the exciting slate of DC centred projects coming our way that we do today.
Now, as much as I'm writing this to celebrate Stephen Amell, my main focus is on all the good he's done since taking on the role of the Arrow. Much like Robert Downey Jr. becoming the living embodiment of Tony Stark, Amell is now pretty much The Arrow incarnate, and rightfully so given the excellent job he's done revolutionising the character.
A hell of a lot of the success Arrow has had to go towards the incredible team both behind the scenes and on the screen, all of which deliver a level of chemistry that's both engaging and exciting to watch. They all look like they have so much fun working together in the behind the scenes clips and footage, not to mention all the Comic Con picture and magazine shoots, as seen below. (give me a job please!)
The show itself isn't without it's flaws, but then again what isn't these days.
But the sheer level of commitment they all put into their training and every other aspect is nothing but commendable. Following the cast on various social media gives you a brilliant insight into the lengths they all go to in order to honour the fans as best they can.
Depending on what celebrities you follow on social media, it gives us as fans a certain level of connectivity with our favourite celebrities in a way that's never been experienced before. (gone are the days of sending a letter to join their fan club)
I don't follow very many celebs on social media, but after watching Arrow I decided to see what sort of person Mr Amell really is. Mainly because seeing his workout routines on the show really got me motivated. Watching your favourite hero train really kicks your ass to get in shape. Plus I'm overly competitive, so naturally if he can do it so can I, right? well wrong actually (hello shoulder injury).
Stephen Amell is constantly updating his various social media platforms and keeping all of his fans in the loop with the show's progress, daily musings, workouts and family photos. He truly has a connection to his large fan-base and works hard to keep that connection strong, regularly and consistently. Like I previously said, I don't follow a lot of celebrities so I can't say for certain that this is out of the ordinary. But it certainly goes far beyond the level of just generic text, or a brief summation of how he's feeling. He goes out of his way to speak to fans when he can, he encourages everyone to join in with his happy community, spreading good karma and really keeping a personal connection with the millions of people that subscribe.
This guy even feels extremely bad when he thinks he has offended someone on some level, even if they are not a fan of his, regardless, he tries to win the world over with kindness and in most cases, it's worked. He drives #mememonday's and #fanartfriday's with genuine enthusiasm and a passion, all of which the fan's love, and the man shares the love and gives it all back ten fold.
He uses his social media accounts to entertain us with his life long dream of wrestling in the WWE (and winning might i add), And to inform us on his lesser known series dude's being dude's in wine country. If you can find this series, it's a really entertaining watch.
But he also uses his platforms to launch various charities and help spread awareness to his fans for the causes he feels most passionate about, Some of which even get catchy names. My personal favourites are the "Fuck Cancer" campaign and Sinceriously - the t-shirts they produce for these campaigns spread like wildfire and in turn help reach millions of people across the world.
He even likes to include his fan base in the creation of the logos and shirt designs for these campaigns, helping everyone to contribute in anyway they can. All of which is highly inspirational and nothing short of heroic. Stephen Amell is a man of the people, he will never fail his fan base, and I mean that sinceriously.
The guy gives back to his fans and so many others in such a way that inspires me to want to be a better person, but I could never remain as humble and down to earth as that guy.
As well as being an all round charitable and incredibly nice guy, He's also a force to be reckoned with physically speaking.
I read somewhere recently that he's a master of parkor and does all of his own stunts, they even incorporated the salmon ladder exercise into the characters workout routine on the show because the creators were that impressed by it. (if you don't know exactly what that is, go to YouTube, it's seriously impressive)
His numerous workouts and impressive physicality have motivated me to get back into the gym, even if it is out of sheer envy. Although If you ever read this Stephen, my girlfriend is not happy that I now have a giant tractor tyre in our back garden, and I have to admit I failed at the salmon ladder (It seriously hard!! haha).
Our man Stephen Amell even takes his Archery seriously, putting in regular practice to keep his form and stance on the show as accurate as possible.
He even continues to shoot at the weekends, mainly to make up for the lack of real shooting he does on the job (health and safety reasons). You too could share in his archery lifestyle and if you've got a spare £1,895 laying around you could even buy the same bow as The Green Arrow himself.
Which leads me to my main query with Arrow as a show. Oliver Queen would be the master archer of the show compared to the rest of his group and would therefore be the best and strongest with a bow and arrow, right? So why is he the only one with a compound bow and the likes of Roy and Thea have to struggle on with a recurved bow?
Surely he should have the tougher bow to wield, right? The Arrow even said to Laurel in season 2 when she said she wouldn't be able to use it,
"It's a highly compounded bow. The bow will do all of the work for you!"
- Hardly fair Mr Queen!
Now celebrities in this day and age are held to an extremely high standard and judged severely for even the simplest of mistakes that we as normal people make on a daily basis, that's why I wanted to take time each week to celebrate the good in life.
This isn't a love to The Green Arrow but more of an attempt to shine a light on the great and good things in life and help spread a little positivity, and this week that person is you Stephen Amell. You aren't just our favourite (DC) archer, you're an all round great human being and a true inspiration, someone who reaches out the their fans and tries their hardest to give back the love they receive from millions around the world.
Stephen Amell. A truly kind and incredible human as well as a hulk of a guy, If you're even in Britain and visit Somerset, I would love to grab a drink with you my friend (He just seems like he'd be a cool guy to hang out with).