Why The Arrowverse Isn’t As Good As It Used To Be!
With the return of the Arrowverse shows, there has been some controversy as to whether or not the Arrowverse is falling. However, what does that question really mean? Well, it refers to the quality, the storytelling, the acting, and all sorts of factors that have to be taken into account. So the question has to be asked, is the Arrowverse falling, especially now with the new seasons of Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow?
Realism & Superpowers
When Arrow was released back in 2012, it was revealed by the show-runners that there would be no meta-humans, meaning they would attempt to keep it grounded to reality. This was a great idea! Especially because people were still used to the feel and tone that Christopher Nolan set in his ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy. The writers of the show even announced that Arrow would take inspiration largely from those movies, however, evidently, this idea was abolished with the introduction of meta-humans. Why does this make the Arrowverse bad?
Well, it’s not necessarily bad. As a matter of fact, this was good. It built up the universe and gave fans something new to look forward to. The introduction of The Flash was executed nicely, and it expanded the world of Arrow. However, when Arrow drifted away from its connection to reality, this became detrimental to the Arrowverse.
As much as we all love The Flash because of the meta-humans, and the cool superpowers, what made Arrow good was its distinct nature from all of that. Arrow set out a dark, gritty, realistic show which worked wonderfully in both season 1 and 2, and part of that is because of how threatening it felt. When we watched Arrow, the stakes were high, and when characters died, they would remain dead. After season 2, this changed and with that change, came the lack of quality on Arrow.
When Thea Queen had “died” in season 3, I thought this was a great move by the show-runners, mainly because it just divulged into the threats on the show. However, when she was brought back within an episode after her “death”, the show begun disclosing that feeling of intensity. Even earlier into season 3, when Oliver Queen was literally impaled by Ra’s Al Ghul and then thrown off the cliff of a mountain, I thought that season 3 could really top off season 1 and 2. After all, the show was titled Arrow, not Oliver Queen, meaning perhaps someone else could’ve taken his mantle. Nevertheless, the writers had brought him back with no real explanation as to how he was resurrected.
I’ll give the writers a pass on bringing back Oliver but at least give us an explanation… and that just goes back to my point about the lack of quality on Arrow. The fact that the writers just kind of brought him back was mind-numbing. I mean at least with Thea, they kind of explained how she was brought back but even then, the writers shouldn’t claim to “kill” off characters if they’re going to bring them back.
This is a monumental reason for why the Arrowverse became lacking and started to drift downhill. However, this isn’t the only reason that this superhero universe is falling.
So in any show out there, or even movie, drama exists and that’s perfectly fine. You literally cannot have a story without drama, otherwise what’s the point. In saying that, there should always be a limit to the drama in any story. Now, Legends of Tomorrow doesn’t actually do so bad in this area. It’s primarily Arrow, Flash and of course, Supergirl. Now, due to my extreme hate for the show Supergirl, I won’t talk about it because it’s not fair for fans of the show and can be quite biased.
Now both season 1 of Arrow and Flash really used drama to an advantage, for example, Arrow utilized the theme of family and the drama revolving that theme. Whether it was the Lance family, Merlyn or the most obvious, the Queen family, they were all quite interesting in their own respects. However, what I found most intriguing was the relationship between Oliver and his mother. Season one and even two highlighted the significance of their relationship and just how much it develops. This was GOOD drama! I loved it because it didn’t just rely on cheap dramatic moments, the story didn’t rely on romance or love. The story was full of depth and had many interesting moments that pulled the audience in.
The Flash was the same with season one. The first season really pushed towards the relationships that revolved around Barry. Whether it was Harrison Wells, Cisco, Caitlin, or the more obvious ones like Iris and Joe West. These relationships flowed well and the chemistry was consistent in that they were all relevant to the story.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t last. Season 3 of Arrow really was a low-point for the show, especially as it begun focusing a bit too much on the “romance” between Felicity and Oliver. Now, this wasn’t too big of a problem until late season 3 which then followed onto season 4. The chemistry between these two simply wasn’t there, and Felicity became almost the center of the show which is weird for the show is titled ARROW. The show swayed away from Green Arrow actually being a hero, and begun focusing too much on love and romance which isn’t ideal for a show that is categorized under action-superhero.
The Flash follows in the same footsteps as Arrow and doesn’t seem to be getting much better. Season 3 begun focusing on Iris West and her relationship with Barry. Again, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but it got worse as the show became reliant on their relationship. Iris really felt like she was just there as a plot device but nothing more, she didn’t really offer anything interesting and her character became quite shallow.
We can all agree that both season one and two of Arrow, Flash and even Legends of Tomorrow had interesting stories, even though LoT started off a little rocky with season one. Although season 3 of Arrow wasn’t amazing, the story wasn’t horrible and only really started turning for the bad towards the end of the season. Season 2 of Flash was good and enjoyable, primarily because it tested the relationships regarding Barry. However, season 3 of The Flash was something that fans were familiar with as it almost replicated the story of season 1 and 2. Barry faces a speedster who is out to kill his loved one and each adversary has some personal connection to him. That’s literally the plot for the first three seasons. What made season one so good is the characters, the villain and the story. However, when you reuse the same story continuously, it becomes predictable and inevitably boring.
Savitar wasn’t really interesting at all until he was revealed to be Barry Allen, before that, he was just a dude in a weird-looking suit. Frankly, the whole plot with Iris dying was laughable and the writers really insulted the intelligence of the fans by attempting to make us believe they’d kill her off. Had they not opted out and allowed Iris to die, perhaps then the season would’ve at least concluded with some intensity and intrigue on what would happen in season 4. Now I give credit to the writers for not using a speedster again as a villain for season 4 but as of right now doesn’t feel like much of a step up. However, it is still early to make a full judgement.
Arrow is not any better in this department, it’s almost worse actually. In almost every season the villain always wants to destroy Star City. Merlyn created a device to destroy the Glades, and that made sense to the story at least. Deathstroke wanted to destroy it because he wanted to personally hurt Oliver. However, Ra’s Al Ghul just didn’t make sense. I mean he wanted to destroy Star City because Oliver was the new Ra’s and it’s tradition for a new Ra’s to get rid of his hometown…? What if Oliver was from New York City or Chicago? How the hell was Ra’s planning on causing the destruction of such large-scale cities? Damien Darhk was basically the same as Merlyn, he just wanted to cleanse it but he became mental later as he wanted to cleanse the entire world and not just Star City. Prometheus was really good. Season 5 was a well done on the writers behalf. They done something they hadn’t previously done and they concluded a good season with a decent finale.
However, if these shows keep reusing plot-lines then they will eventually lose their fan-base completely. Hell, if they need inspiration then look at the hundreds of comic stories that Green Arrow, Flash or Supergirl have.
Everyone Is A Superhero!
What made Arrow so awesome in season 1 is that Oliver was basically the only costumed “hero” running around at night. In season 2, the idea of a sidekick out in the field with Oliver was slowly being introduced and it was done in a fashion that didn’t just force some random character to being a hero. This has become a massive issue mainly on Arrow and Flash.
Oliver’s character started off as someone who liked working alone, however, employed Diggle and Felicity as people who would help him while his out in the field. This was fine, and if anything, it made for some interesting relationships. My issue however starts in season 3. Like I said before, Arrow really hit a low-point in season 3 with many factors. I liked that Roy was upgraded to Arsenal, that was a good evolution to the character of Roy Harper. However, when Roy was Arsenal, he was barely used! At times it felt like he was just absent from the show and underused. Season 2 had a decent story for Roy as someone wanting to help the Arrow, which leads to him getting caught in the crossfire of the battle between Arrow and Deathstroke. Season 3 unbelievably underused him which was a shame as he was only Arsenal in that one season. Now, after Laurel finds out Sara is dead, she basically takes it upon herself to become a “hero”. At this point, it felt like the writers were forcing down sidekicks on us that weren’t really meant to be there quite yet.
Laurel and Thea join Oliver in being partners out in the field in season 4 and the idea of Oliver needing a team quickly latches onto the show. This was so weird and unlike Oliver as he was someone who usually worked alone or with one person in the field. Having Roy out there was fine as it made sense and it worked. However, it didn’t feel fluent when Laurel joined as Black Canary due to her not having sufficient training and ultimately lost majority of her fights. It’s somewhat understandable for Thea as she was trained by Merlyn and later by Oliver himself. Laurel hadn’t yet received training that would be considered safe for her to be out in the field.
Season 5 wasn’t any better in this regard with Curtis somehow being allowed out in the field because he felt “helpless”. Wild-dog wasn’t so bad I guess seeing as he utilized a gun, but my last straw was with Dinah Drake. Don’t get me wrong, the character wasn’t horrible but the convenience in which the Arrow team found someone who is practically perfect to fill the role of Black Canary was beyond me. The big issue with this is there’s no longer a feeling of intensity or originality. Everyone being a hero erases the high stakes and just feels really unrealistic at this point. Not everyone needs to be a hero, especially if that someone is Curtis.
The Changing Tone
This is a massive issue on Arrow and Flash. The changing tone between these two shows are inconsistent and mess with the fluency of the shows and story. Take for example season 4 of Arrow. Season 4 was basically tackling a lighter tone than that of previous seasons. However, this wasn’t at all convincing as you cannot go from three seasons being something to then completely changing in just a season. Season 1-3 were gritty and the story was dark which was fine honestly, but you can’t change the tone of a show suddenly in one season. You have to invest time and slowly progress the lighter tone into the show otherwise it’ll just feel odd and messy which was the case for season 4 of Arrow.
Even then, Arrow returns to its true nature in season 5 and again changing the tone from one season to another. It just felt inconsistent and anyone that followed season 4 knew it wasn’t that much lighter but if they’re going for a different tone then stick with it.
The Flash isn’t as bad as Arrow in this regard but it’s still noticeable. The difference in tones between season 3 and the recent two episodes of season 4 cannot be overlooked. Season 4 isn’t starting off too good, especially because of the way the writers are attempting to force down this lighter tone. I’m all for a lighter tone on The Flash but again, they really need to slowly progress it into the story and not just force it because the writers felt like changing tones. Season 3 was a pretty dark season for Flash and that didn’t necessarily work greatly for the show, which is why it’s a good idea to change back into the lighter tone. However, if not done correctly, it’ll just mess with the quality of the show.
But what do you think? Do you agree or believe that the Arrowverse is stronger than ever? Let’s meet in the comment sections for a discussion!
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