Josh Wilding Reviews: ARROW; "Pilot"
So, is Arrow a hit or miss? Unfortunately, it's the latter! Hit the jump to read my spoiler-free verdict on last week's "Pilot" of the CW series which stars Stephen Amell as DC Comics character, Oliver Queen (a.k.a. Green Arrow).
"The name of the island they found me on...is Purgatory." Following that horrible bit of dialogue, Arrow goes from bad to worse in its underwhelming and (unsurprisingly) disappointing series premiere on the CW. The terrible screenplay is perhaps the biggest problem, and the fact that these are the same guys working on the likes of The Flash and Wonder Woman for the big screen is very worrying indeed. Regardless, this pilot is riddled with clichés, stereotypical characters and even worse dialogue than the line mentioned above. Like Elementary, it's hard to sit through without constantly rolling your eyes or checking the clock.The fact is, Arrow ultimately comes across as a poor man's Batman Begins, minus any real production value and a decent leading man.
Stephen Amell, while clearly enthusiastic about playing Oliver Queen in interviews, has about as much screen presence and charisma as a potato. He looks and acts like a complete meat head, and would surely be better suited to playing "Jock #3" in any random teen movie than a superhero such as this one. Of course, the character portrayed here isn't really a hero - he's an unlikeable tool AND a cold blooded killer who is hell-bent on nothing but revenge. Perhaps if the episode had explained WHY he's going after the people on his mysterious list, we could understand him at one point murdering three men in cold blood. As it is though, it's near impossible to relate to Ollie. The lovely Katie Cassidy phones in a decent enough performance as Laurel Lance, while everyone else is so bland and forgettable, they're not even worth mentioning.
What Arrow does do right is action. Director David Nutter (Game of Thrones, Supernatural) adds a lot to these scenes, making them exciting and as impressively shot as most big budget movies. The bow and arrow action is good, but nothing we haven't already seen before, despite being pretty exciting for the most part. Sadly, these scenes are nowhere near enough to save the episode, and it at times feels like a very bad soap opera. It also brings nothing new to the table. The 'Green Arrow' character was pretty well fleshed out in Smallville, and it's hard to avoid the feeling that we're just retreading old ground...a slight tint to make "Starling City" (seriously?) look grim and gritty just isn't enough to distinguish it as something new. Neither was the admittedly unexpected twist at the end or somewhat intriguing flashbacks scattered throughout.
Bland, boring and mostly terrible, it's hard to recommend this pilot, and the prospect of tuning in next week is barely worth even contemplating. Oliver Queen may have good aim, but Arrow is a complete miss.
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