‘The Flash’: strong acting, stagnant characters
Normally, I write opinions based on real-world events and current events, but lately, I have been binge- watching “The Flash.” The following opinion and review is riddled with spoilers, so be warned.
Between seasons two and three, as the show wraps up the classic comic book “Flashpoint Paradox” storyline, I see some interesting things in “The Flash” television universe that I hope continue into the movie adaptations.
If you’re unfamiliar with the show, Barry Allen is the Flash (which is the worst kept secret in comics other than Superman’s Fortress of Solitude), and he fights crime using his super speed and super healing abilities to save Central City from villains such as Gorilla Grodd and Reverse Flash all the way to Zoom and Mirror Master.
That is a good summation of both the show and the comics, because as much as things change with comics, some things tend to stay the same. In both the show and the comics, Iris West is the continual love interest of Barry Allen. However, Allen attains different friends and companions throughout.
“The Flash” television series births famous portrayals of these characters, like Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon. The characters all have such an organic feel, like they’re people you might meet in everyday life. They have interesting dynamics that fit as a cohesive unit.
Let’s look at Barry himself. What makes him truly a hero? What makes him all that interesting? It’s not the powers, even though it seems to be on first glance. It’s how he interacts with everything, powers or not.
He himself says that the powers “don’t change who you are, they just amplify who you already were.” This makes us ask, who is Barry Allen?
Barry is, quite simply, a nerd. Barry loves science and studies physics and chemistry, he is a cinephile who is able to recite lines of dialogue of the movie “Wrath of Khan” back at Cisco to prove he isn’t an imposter and he shows himself to have a flare for the dramatic during fights such as with the King Shark and his childhood bully Girder.
There have been only two main complaints that I have heard and tend to share myself.
The first is the villains’ and the characters’ personalities. They all seem to hit one note and just keep hitting it.
Barry is courageous, but he still gets scared and discouraged at the start of every fight and needs a pep talk from the character of the episode to help him get through the challenges. This kind of thing happens with Multiplex, Grodd, Dr. Light and a lot of others. Having this a few times wouldn’t be that bad, but on repeat it gets grating. The show also repeats dialogue throughout the episodes where characters will have the same conversations four different times.
This trend has been toned down as the show continues to improve.
The other gripe is that the overarching villains have the same motivations. Zoom and Reverse Flash both simply hated the Flash and wanted him dead, with Zoom having the side-goal of wanting to be the fastest speedster in the universe. This gripe too has been corrected with a new villain known as Dr. Alchemy working behind the scenes.
The Flash is a great show. In fact, I can’t recommend it enough. The characters are fun and complex, the villains are just as dastardly as one can imagine and the powers look great and make you wish that you had them. The CW hit it out of the park again.