Directed and written by a number of different people, Arrow (2012) brings onto the screen a range of known and new actors. Anyone who follows the “Superman” world will have an understanding of Oliver Queen’s story, yet Arrow brings it to light in a way not explored before.
After being stranded on an island for five years, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) returns to civilisation a very changed man. Society lost a playboy billionaire, scared of commitment and prone to hurting and disappointing those closest to him, including his girlfriend, Laurel (Katie Cassidy). What they got back, however, was something quite different.
A masked vigilante who is determined to fulfil his father’s dying wish and save the city. And what better way to do that than with a bow in his hand and a hood concealing his identity?
Despite sticking with the series the whole way to the end, I found it a difficult one to truly get into. The start seems slow while characters are being established and Oliver works out who he is going to trust with his secret. Old friends and new must both take their place once again and the result is a few episodes falling into a very cliché pattern of “bad-guy-of-the-week” while everything else slots into where it needs to be.
However, that being said, it then picks up. The second half of the series becomes a lot more engaging than the first, with an underlying story arc that has both depth and the emotional attachment to everyone involved that the audience needs to know how it plays out. While not necessarily racing for the next episode, the episodes do create emotion in their audience that has them gasping at the screen in surprise over what has just happened.
The plot lines are well written with no one quite being who everyone else believes. The romance between Oliver and his ex-girlfriend is almost refreshing the way they have both moved on and changed since he has been gone and that doesn’t mean they are necessarily right for each other even if they do both still have feelings. Oliver might be roaming the streets at night and trying to stop exploitation and other high-ranking crimes from occurring, but he still has to find his place again in a world that believed he was dead and moved on without him.
An engaging series over all, even if it might have seemed stronger if it had just been half the number of episodes. The switch between the “then-and-now” as Oliver’s time on the island is explored adds depth to his character that might have otherwise been lacking, so the producers knew what their audience would need. An ending is created that leaves the audience intrigued for the next series. However, the knowledge that there is at least another two series after this first one does provide some uncertainty of precisely where the story is going to go next considering how the characters were left at the end.
Enjoyable and watchable, but not necessarily one to get your heart racing.