Josh Wilding Reviews: ARROW; "Pilot"

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 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.

Posted By:
Josh Wilding
Member Since 3/13/2009
Filed Under "Green Arrow" 10/15/2012
DISCLAIMER: is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and... [MORE]
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PsyGuy - 10/15/2012, 12:11 PM
I thought it was pretty good. oh well!
JordanKing - 10/15/2012, 12:14 PM
Didn't like it then?
calin88 - 10/15/2012, 12:14 PM
This show is good, give it some time, it's not 5 stars, but 1 star??? wtf?
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 10/15/2012, 12:18 PM
Ouch. One star? Kinda harsh, don't you think? But, hey. As the old saying goes, "To each his own." So I respect your opinion about this, @JoshWilding. I actually found it rather enjoyable, really. I believe that they've chosen the rughtcharacter actor for thisthe character. The same goes for Katie Cassidy (she's [frick]ing GORGEOUS). I've never read any Green Arrow comics, nor did I know anything about the Green Arrow mythos, but Arrow had me interested in the character, and thanks to a couple of my friends, I'm now more interested in the character and his mythos. So I'm waiting on this week's episode and hoping for more action, character development, and story behind Oliver Queen. And hopefully a proper mask for the guy, LoL (not too keen on the face paint he has sporting).

Stay EPIC, my friends!
NerdyGeek - 10/15/2012, 12:19 PM
I mostly agree, but I don't think it was THAT bad in all honesty.
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 10/15/2012, 12:21 PM
*right actor, not rughtcharacter actor. This mother[frick]ing phone of mine, man. [email protected] autocorrect is always screwing with me. >:(
gandalf550 - 10/15/2012, 12:22 PM
Dialogue does need a significant amount of work, but the overall experience wasn't too terrible. The action scenes were definitely killer for sure!
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 10/15/2012, 12:23 PM
*this character, not thisthe character. [Frick] this. I'm using my iPod touch, LoL. :P
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 10/15/2012, 12:26 PM
Plus, seeing as how Deathstroke is getting the onscreen treatment he deserves and making another comeback on CW, I am definitely looking forward to seeing him battling (Green) Arrow. THAT oughta be bad@$$ when that comes up. :D
JordanKing - 10/15/2012, 12:28 PM
I'd give it 2 stars personally. Yes, it was mostly crap (the acting, dear god the acting!), yes it was forgettable and yes they were trying too hard to be dark and gritty.

I'm sorry, were you looking for a 'but' somewhere? :)
WallyWestNAM - 10/15/2012, 12:29 PM
Its not Green Arrow as we would expect, its the TV drama/soap opera version. It takes itself way too seriously and is very mainstreamed for your general TV audience, but for a tv show and a comic based show, it really isn't bad at all. The pilot had ups and downs but it got me interested enough to wait for the next episode. If you haven't seen it, give it a chance, I'm certain things will pick up.
AIGALAN - 10/15/2012, 12:30 PM
The reviews on cbm are way too harsh and usually off for me. I completely disagree with this review. It was no where near as bad as what Josh states. Im not going to say it was an amazing episode but it was definitely better than an average Smallville episode for me, this show has potential to be great.
DaenerysTargaryen - 10/15/2012, 12:30 PM
Well I disagree. I enjoyed the show
REDSTORM - 10/15/2012, 12:30 PM
The acting was terrible, and I had rolled my eyes at a couple of scenes, but overall it left me wanting to see more episodes, so I'll give it that.
Ranger14 - 10/15/2012, 12:30 PM
Queen spent 5 years on a remote island training to come back and get deal out justice. I don't think he should be that likable right out of the gate. I wouldn't want to see someone show a range of emotions in the first episode after going through what he did. He doesn't know what to expect and who to trust. I don't think he should show anything but an even-keel, stay-at-task frame of mind. If the show progresses and they don't work in some other emotions, then I will agree the character is lacking depth. Right now, this is all I would expect and want to see.
charlie2094 - 10/15/2012, 12:32 PM
I personally, really enjoyed this episode. It got along done and told in 45 minutes, set up some good story arcs, and had strong performances and great action/cinematography. Not perfect, but certainly not awful by any means. Felt to me very much like a condensed, shorter Batman Begins with Green Arrow which is in no way a bad thing. Only thing I hope for is that he maybe gets a mask, I mean, surely it takes a bit of time to wash that paint off, and he turned up at the party with it completely gone.

From what I've read of him (mostly in Justice League titles) I've never found Green Arrow too interesting a character so was surprised that I liked this as much as I did.

As future episodes bring in more recognisable villains, flesh out Oliver's time on the island and just generally develop the characters, I can only see this going up.

Why does every seem to keep bringing up "Starling" City. It sounds better than "Star" City doesn't it?
Digitaria51 - 10/15/2012, 12:32 PM
You and Ror were expecting WAY too much from this show. And everybody else shouldn't be bullied into not checking it out. I don't even like DC nor do I know a lot about Green Arrow, but I watched it for what it was: a comic book show ON SOME SH*T TV STATION. Anyway thanks for the review Siskel. Stick to your day job.

*How dare someone disagree with the almighty Josh Wilding and Ror!!!*
Zordan - 10/15/2012, 12:34 PM
its not that bad, dont shit :)
polarkyle - 10/15/2012, 12:36 PM
Everyone is criticizing the acting and the dialogue but I just didn't notice or mind it at all
soberchimera - 10/15/2012, 12:37 PM
Since when is killing three men who kidnapped you and tortured you killing in cold blood?
jjk2814 - 10/15/2012, 12:37 PM
I agree with all of this. Well said!

I find myself barely able to give it another shot. It was completely irredeemable to me, as a single episode I mean.

I liked Smallville, but can admit 100% that it got REALLY bad for a while there. I actually liked that it got a little more cartoony and DC HERO OF THE WEEK! Towards the end.

But this..."Arrow"...was just bad...It had potential but it was just bad. I know I'm as guilty as anyone for sometimes blocking my better judgement and liking something despite myself, but I honestly can't understand how ANYONE could like this. The acting was just aweful, the writing was so disappointingly...CW...and as I've said on other boards; Having a hero that kills is fine, having a hero that kills right out the gate, eliminates the possibility of having a story when he has to CHOOSE to kill.

The more I think about it, the more I hate it...

Green Arrow is dead...just dead...

The New 52 Green Arrow, simply does not resemble the Oliver Queen we've spent decades reading in any valuable way and this show is typical CW schlock...

R.I.P. Oliver Queen, maybe this time Kevin Smith won't resurrect would be a blessing at this point...

Makes me sad...
Mego - 10/15/2012, 12:38 PM
I keep pointing out that Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim were writers for Green Lantern and they co wrote Arrow and are the producers.
This review is dead-on correct. "Poor man's Batman Begins"
says it well.
As for the action, I wasn't pleased with even that.

Theres some kind of fighting style that has been taking over the action in films and TV and it looks rehearsed and fake. It's similar to the saber fighting in Revenge of The Sith and the other prequels were it was obvious they only wanted to tap sabers not each other.
It looks like guys trying to touch fore arms not trying to hit each other. Just quick and harmless motions.

Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim are attempting to cannibalize every successful superhero live action adaption they can and offer absolutely nothing new with Arrow.
mproz - 10/15/2012, 12:38 PM
Your review gets 1 star.
Salemdog - 10/15/2012, 12:38 PM
Better than some of the other shows out there. And I've seen a few so so pilots and the show ended up to be more than watchable. I'll keep watching
DasManiac - 10/15/2012, 12:41 PM
Couldn't disagree more. As a big Green Arrow fan I loved this. 4/5 stars for me.
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 10/15/2012, 12:42 PM
I agree with @Ranger14 with what he said. I also didn't expect Oliver to give out an array of emotion(s) after what he went through. So if the show progresses correctly, we'll definitely see more depth with the main and supporting characters. Plus I'm praying, PRAYING, that we get to see Katie Cassidy in that fish net legging of hers. :D
TheSonicScrew - 10/15/2012, 12:44 PM
Haha well to be fair from a lot of reviews it seems that Josh is notoriously hard to please so people shouldn't be surprised/annoyed at the one-star review.

Again, nothing against Josh, he just seems to not like quite a lot of things, which is his opinion to be fair!
LP4 - 10/15/2012, 12:46 PM
JoshW- I COMPLETELY, 100% disagree with you on every single point you made.

Arrow surpassed all my expectations. They are giving us ACTION, comic-book accurate characters- just look at DEATHSTROKE.

The story aint bad and they actually gauged my interest in what happened to Ollie on the island.

ComfortablyNumb - 10/15/2012, 12:46 PM
It was good. Not great. Good.
nowtheresaBATman - 10/15/2012, 12:48 PM
ZERO STARS haHA nothing but a little kid show.
LP4 - 10/15/2012, 12:48 PM
This one pilot episode of Arrow was a million times better than all 10 seasons of Smallville.

I'll take Arrow snapping necks over Clark crying about losing Lana to a high school Jock for nearly 2 seasons straight.

Give me a break Josh.
SwingsetKnight - 10/15/2012, 12:50 PM
Was it great? No. But it was decent enough for its budget and network that calling it terrible is hyperbolic.
Tony93 - 10/15/2012, 12:50 PM
It's alright.. Not great..
LP4 - 10/15/2012, 12:51 PM
@nowtheresaBATman- Little kids show? Arrow snapped one guys' neck and used another as human-body armor against bullets.

If you call that a little kids show, then I am worried about your childhood.
Tufasrox - 10/15/2012, 12:56 PM
It's not the comic no more than the walking Dead is based 100% on the comic. I thought it was ok. I'm with mproz : your review gets 2 stars.
Mego - 10/15/2012, 12:57 PM
@LP4 Interesting that you single out Clark's infatuation with Lana there.
Clark was a teen with a lifelong crush on Lana and it was a great part of the show for awhile.

Arrow is Arrow. Comparing it to other shows is irrelevant.
And it was really bad.
Rothwilder - 10/15/2012, 12:58 PM
It's just a review people.
LP4 - 10/15/2012, 1:02 PM
@darkmetal- Yeah duh I know Clark has had a thing for lana since childhood, if you were on this site for the past 2-3 years you'd know I'm the Superman-guy.

but let's face it, too much of Smallville revolved around Clark being whiny. Stephen Amell is tough, i'll take that over baby-faced Welling any day.

@sosthetruth- You are telling the TRUTH brother!
Avenger32 - 10/15/2012, 1:05 PM
Actually, I was impressed with Arrow. It does resemble a darker take on Smallville, which I loved 99% of the time. But I think this has a lot of potential. After one episode, I don't think it deserves a single star. I personally enjoyed it, and am intrigued for what will happen next. 5 stars? No. In the future? Possibly. I give it a 4, and I'll be watching the next episode on Wednesday.
GodzillaKart - 10/15/2012, 1:09 PM
@Josh: Absurd review, Dude.

Arrow is by no means great, but it is certainly as good as anything we have seen up to this point on the CW, and, judging from the pilot, going to be far better than Smallville (which, granted, isn’t saying much). That this character was fleshed out (badly) in Smallville is irrelevant to this show. Smallville was a juvenile program and the only crossover in the target audience demographic is people on this site. Also *spoilers* it is made abundantly clear why he is going after the people on his list. His father confessed that he and others were destroying the city for personal gain. He felt remorse and asked Oliver to do something about it if he got back. Add five years of crazy survival training, and he’s back and pissed. Where is the mystery? He was a violent vigilante, just like he was in Grell’s GA comics(some of the best), which they referenced many times in the show with Judge Grell character.

I’m not sure what people you were expecting from a CW show. While I agree that it seems pretty clear Arrow is going to follow CW’s history of crazy, soap opera style plot twists, I happy it is also shooting for a more adult and serious tone. You rightfully give praise to the action, which is possibly the best action I have ever seen on a mainstream television show. Hell, it the fighting in Nolan’s Bat-films was half that good all three of them would have been better movies.

I think you were a bit hard on the lead. I don’t think he was great, but he was fine, and his athleticism was amazing. All in all, as a tv show, I would give it 3/5 stars.
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