Thoughts and observations on Green Arrow, classical liberalism, freedom, comic books and matters of social justice.

Friday, October 12, 2012

CW's ARROW: Episode One

There is a part of me that can not quite believe a Green Arrow TV show is on the air.  What are the odds of that?  We can thank Chris Nolan and his Batman reboot which ushered in the newest deluge of “realistic” comic book adaptations.  Newcomer Stephen Amell (A-Mel or Amul?) stars as Oliver Queen and from the first episode it seems he brings practically nothing unique to the role.  There was zilch in his portrayal that I found to be Oliver-like.
Before-the-island (B.T.I.) Oliver is a flashy party boy and that could be played by any of the millions of out of work 20 something actors currently serving food in Los Angeles.  After-the-island (A.T.I.) Oliver is focused and heroic, again, a dime a dozen in Hollywood Land.  What makes ATI Oliver not Batman is his emotion; hot-headed, leads with the heart, a tortured romantic.  Perhaps this will come about slowly and organically, which will be fine.  But from the outset Amell has the emotional range of one of his Arrow promo posters.
I look to the two biggest scenes ATI Ollie has with his mother, when he learns of her marriage after his father’s death, and his ex-girlfriend as she confronts him with the death of her sister for which she blames Oliver.  Amell’s face and reaction were identical in both and lacked even the smallest hint of depth. 
He just stared blankly.  I could almost see Amell seeing Christian Bale in his own head.  He played it cool, distant, and mysterious.  That’s great if you’re Bruce Wayne, but this is supposed to be Oliver Queen. Perhaps this was the direction he was given.  Or maybe this is what the director was left with.  Either way it left gaping holes in the story where empathy and character development should have been. 
Arrow has its scenes with cool trick shots and the Batman Begins-esque costumed hero reveal, so that’s fun, but the later was diminished by a very weak villain who the show’s producer surprisingly made resemble Lex Luthor.  That show’s over guys!  On top of that the actor playing (for the life of me I can’t even remember his name) “Bad Guy” is short and annoying when trying to be menacing.
The little nods for the fans like mentioning a Judge “Grell” and Oliver’s sister’s nickname “Speedy” were appreciated.   I like the idea of his sister possibly playing sidekick down the road; other than the Wonder Twins I can’t think of another brother/sister hero team.  But more than these I would have preferred an Oliver Queen with flesh and blood.  I think I may need to resolve myself to the fact that Arrow is “loosely” based on the comic book character and for however long this show runs we’ll be getting Christian Bale, Jr. instead of Green Arrow as we know him.

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