DC’s Arrowverse Review!

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So I’ve decided to lump 3 reviews in one here.  Since DC is connecting their TV universe I decided to review their 3 CW shows (Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow and Flash).

Legends of Tomorrow

So, the first season of Legends of Tomorrow is a time travelling adventure.  In the future, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) sees his wife and song murdered by Vandal Savage (Dean Cain), an immortal villain who has taken over the world.  Rip Hunter recruits various characters from Flash and Arrow to join forces to fight against Savage.  It includes Sara Lance (Caity Lotz, the original Black Canary), The Atom/Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee) and the two halves of Firestorm, Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh).

This was a very ambitious and risky series.  This show depended on a LOT of special effects (not very cheap for a show like this) and also needed to juggle a bunch of characters.  I would say that the special effects were really well done for this show.  It was one of the more visually pleasing shows.  I thought that there were some characters that were done really well.  I liked the banter between Stein and Jackson, I liked Captain Cold’s character and I liked Heat Wave’s character.  I also found that this show spent a ton less time on melodrama crap.  There was some stuff between the Atom and Hawkgirl but outside of that there was virtually none.  It was one saving grace.

That’s about it for positives, though.  My grocery list was longer than that.  This show did something interesting; it kept it boring.  I mean, I enjoyed the time travelling through different periods but what’s the use when I don’t care about any of the characters?  There was no “main character;” there was no leader.  Rip Hunter probably should have been that but he’s kind of a liar and all we know is that he loved his family.  There was no showing for him.  There was no change in motivations.  It was all driven by that one ideal; that’s not always bad but for this show he became one dimensional.

Actually, almost all the characters were one dimensional. I felt cheated; I thought we would learn about these characters more but I don’t feel any more connected to them than when they appeared on Flash or Arrow.  It was like expecting to play a 3D video game but got a 2D one instead (Paper Mario I’m looking at you).  This was a major bummer because I really wanted to like the show.

The other thing that I didn’t like was how Vandal Savage was portrayed.  I never felt like he was a real threat; there was no gravitas with him.  He was such a bland villain with no motivations of his own; he was evil for evil sake.  Now I love episodic type of TV shows.  One of my favorites is Law and Order, I love the Supernatural episodes where Sam and Dean just go hunting.  I thought that Legends of Tomorrow would be similar to that.  However, it wasn’t.  It soon became a jumbled mess dealing with time travel.  Some episodes they handled it great but most of the time it felt very messy.  Also, they could have done so much with time and time travel!  Yet there was little to none explored.  No middle ages, no ancient Greece or Rome.  The furthest back they went was the old west.

Now I will say that I don’t regret seeing this show but I can’t say I’m really excited about it.  They completed their mission, ending Savage, and now where do they go from there?  The season finale felt like the series finale.  When Captain Cold died I didn’t feel much for him even though he was my favorite character.  Overall, this show is like that team that barely makes the playoffs. They’re stuck in mediocrity when they should either tank or go all in and get some real game changing players.

Rating: Have it on in the background and pay attention to some episodes

Arrow

So, most people are sick of the melodrama in this show.  And I am too.  I don’t mind some of it.  I think that Diggle and his brother’s arc was really good and it ended how it needed to end.  I thought that was great.  I thought Darhk was a fantastic big baddie who really posed a great threat.  I also thought that he became more of a complex character when his wife was killed and his “Ark” was destroyed.  I liked the introduction to magic in this world.  Once again, Arrow was able to distinguish itself from Flash by staying with the mystical.  It also made sense because with the introduction of the Lazarus Pit from last season.

I liked how Oliver really struggled this season probably more than any other season.  It was much more a battle with himself.  He needed to overcome his own shadows, his own evil intentions, in order to defeat his enemy.  I also liked how his choices in what he does eventually tears his world apart.  Felicity leaves him, John leaves him, his sister leaves him at the end of the season.  Oliver really is all alone, exactly where he wanted to be in order to keep people safe.  I would also say that Oliver was very engaging.  I though the last few episodes were definitely the best of the season.

Oh, and Laurel died.  She was probably my least favorite character (certainly the least interesting) so I’m glad she was killed off.  This was how I felt when she died:

I especially liked how the characters started saying “oh if Laurel were here she would say this” or “would Laurel really like it if you did that.”  In my head I thought “uh, no she wouldn’t say any of that stuff because she really didn’t have a definitive character.”  I actually started thinking about what she would say in certain situations and I couldn’t come up with anything that fit her character because she didn’t have one!  How is it possible to have a character for 4 seasons and still feel like there is nothing to them?  That’s like living with a roommate for 4 years and knowing nothing about them.  So her death was immediately followed by much rejoicing:

The other thing I hope with this death is that SHE STAYS DEAD.  That’s been a problem with this show and it was even pointed out by Detective Lance; there’s always a way to bring someone back to life.  But they seemed pretty adamant that this time there isn’t.  I hope they stay with that.

What I didn’t like… Well, this becomes quite a list.  I don’t like writing the stuff I don’t like because I always want to enjoy the content I’m watching but there tends to be things that just bug me.  But here’s what annoyed me:

John Diggle’s and Oliver’s constant loud whispering.  They are always doing that!  STOP.  SPEAK NORMALLY.  It got really annoying especially for Diggle.  Oliver started getting better in the last few episodes of the season.  But this annoyed me.

The melodrama.  But that’s going to be a recurring theme.

Felicity actually got less annoying.  I find her to be a very engaging character.  Like I said earlier, after she left Oliver I felt like she was much more interesting.

Thea Queen.  Now if she can kick the bucket then the most annoying characters will be gone.

Yeah, yeah, I didn’t go into a rant-fest but that’s because I don’t want to harp on it.  I felt that while the overarching story was weaker than in other seasons, I felt that this season was a more return to form for Arrow and better than Season 3.

Rating: Able to watch and not be distracted.

Flash

Here it is: the crown jewel of the DCCW universe.  This show had the camp, it got dark, then it got light again.  This season was really good but there were definitely some issues with it as well.

What I liked about it: Grant Gustin’s performance as Barry Allen.  The guy is fantastic in this role.  Not only does it seem to come naturally but he also seems to be having a fun time.  That’s the great thing about this show: it’s fun.

For the most part, I really liked the Earth 2 stuff.  I don’t know anything about it and I’m sure some string theorist could probably explain it but the idea of infinite realities is totally fascinating.  I thought that in the beginning they dealt with the two Flashes, Jay Garrick and Barry, very well.  I really liked the Jay Garrick character and his dynamic with team Flash.  I thought that Harrison Wells was so good.  I really liked him coming over and wanted to work; he was a very interesting and engaging character.  He also had a singular focus (like Rip Hunter) but his focus made sense and we were able to see the relationship he has with his daughter to understand his need to be with her.  There was more to chew on there than in other parts.

Cisco Ramon was probably my favorite.  We got to see him gain powers, realize those powers and use those powers.  I feel like this guy has so much more he can do we just don’t know what it all is yet and that’s exciting!  It’s like going on a second date with someone and what makes them interesting is that you don’t know everyone about him or her.  There’s a bit of mystery to Cisco.  I thought that he had a great purpose and he would bring the fun.  Then when the character wasn’t being jokey or silly and being serious you knew that what was going on was great.

I also liked Zoom in the beginning and at the end.  What a dark, brooding and terrible villain.  He was everything you wanted.  His plans changed as he learned of new aspects of reality; when stuff changed his plans changed.  That actually makes sense.

The man in the iron mask.  His mystery was super engaging, much more than the 3 Musketeers movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  I was trying to figure out who it could be.

I really started liking Wally by the end.  I’m just ready to see him become the new Flash at some point.  I really feel like Barry will die and Wally will take up the Flash mantle and that would be very badass!

Overall, I really liked this season but there are some issues with it.

Jay Garrick was actually Zoom/Hunter Solomon.  Here’s my biggest issue: it seemed like the writers thought “yeah!  That’d be a great twist!” then forgot how to have the twist make sense later.  I’m sorry, but it was stupid. I had my suspicions but it ended up being overly done.  You know what that’s called in wrestling?  Over booking.  This whole twist felt like a Vince Russo move (Vince Russo was a guy who would book wrestling shows and write the stories; he was famous for having twists regardless of if it made sense).  Russo’s deal was that if there was a twist it was good and would bring in viewers.  It didn’t take into account that a twist only works if it fits the context of the characters involved.  In the Flash’s case, that’s how I felt when they were trying to explain this away.  This is what the reveal was like:

So yeah, it didn’t feel right.

The other thing, in relation to The Twist, was how much weirder the show got.  Apparently there are time wraiths?  But these wraiths are actually agents of the Speed Force (more on that later)?  I don’t know.  My head began to hurt.  I know some Flashamaniacs really dug it and knew their stuff but to me it didn’t make a ton of sense.  I liked Flash being able to travel through time and reality because of his connection with the speed force but it started going off the rails with time wraiths, time replacements (or whatever they’re called) and stuff like that.  It’s that kind of stuff that really makes my head hurt.

On the Speed Force.  So, normally I would probably get all high and mighty about the Speed Force being a God-like sentient being that’s not really sentient but here’s what I think: I think the episode that explored that was done really, really well.  Everything was engaging and everything was really well done.  Then I find out that Kevin Smith directed it.  It was probably the best episode of the season.  I thought it would be corny and cheesy but I came away from it thinking “you know what, that all works really well.  I can dig it.”  The Speed Force is kind of like the Ellimist from Animorphs (shout out to that series; if you haven’t checked it out you should.  It’s better than 90% of the teen crap out there and easy to read).

Oh and Iris.  Ugh.  Can she go away forever as well?  I loved the chemistry and relationship between Allen and Patty Spivot in the show.  That was a real relationship, which was something I was invested in.  They had chemistry, something that Allen and Iris have NEVER had.  I hate it when the writers decide YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE THIS.  STOP HATING THIS PERSON.  Look, if I don’t like Kobe Bryant or Derek Jeter there’s nothing the NBA or MLB can do to change my mind.  Iris is terrible that’s all I can say.  But Patty was great in this show when she was there.  I thought her and Barry really worked.  SO STOP FORCING BARRY AND IRIS DOWN OUR THROATS.

Overall, this show was a great follow up to last season and I would say it was even better.  Sure there was some confusing bits to it but overall I really liked it.  I didn’t spend nearly as much time trying to figure out the Flash after this season than last season.  Last season was time paradox nightmare.

Rating: Sit down and watch every episode.  They’re all important.

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