Oliver Queen (Stephen Amel) is a famous billionaire from Starling City. One day when he is travelling on a boat with his father and his girlfriend’s sister, they get shipwrecked, and Oliver gets stranded on an island for almost five years. He learns how to survive, combat, and be mentally stronger simply to stay alive. When he finally manages to return to civilization, he does not return as the usual “Ollie.” He decides to create a persona of a hooded man dressed in green who is highly skilled in archery. He becomes a vigilante, delivering justice, fighting the ills of society.
When Oliver returns home after several years, it is interesting to witness the other characters’ behavior. He slowly reconnects with those closest to him, his devoted mother Moira, his beloved sister Thea, and best friend Tommy Merlyn, but struggles with his ex-girlfriend Dinah “Laurel” Lance, who blames him for her sister’s death.
Oliver does not have any spectacular powers, only the ability to fight, like any other ordinary and well-trained human. This aspect makes the show pretty interesting, but it misses the opportunity to take advantage of supernatural aspects and villains. After watching the first episode, it is clear that this was never one of the writers’ goals. The city is already full of bad guys who do not need any superpower to be villains. On the contrary, they just need money and an army of mercenaries. But their reign is over since it is time for the Green Arrow to impose the order.
The ‘Arrow’ series has an atmosphere very similar to the style implemented by Christopher Nolan in his Batman trilogy. It is full of dark and psychological elements with its feet on the ground of reality. We notice it when we see the hero’s costume, which is practical and not at all extravagant, and in the fact that it is not called “Green Arrow” but “Justice” or “Hooded” (although by the Second Season, it will finally be called “Green Arrow”). Likewise, other DC characters who make an appearance here also tend to be called more by their first names than their alter egos. Finally, we see his skillful use of trick arrows on very few occasions which are more than enjoyable.
The island and the boat accident scenes appear in small fragments throughout the episode: we just get the notion that the protagonist was forced to adapt and trained tirelessly until he achieved an enviable physical ability. The boat accident scene is quite tense, especially with his legs sucked into the water. There is an ongoing mystery in the flashbacks; we feel there is a hidden story there waiting to be revealed in coming episodes!
Each chapter’s plot twists are good enough to keep the viewer interested throughout the next, with surprises and subplots that make us want to continue watching the next episode. That being said, we have to underline that, like most TV series with many seasons, the story’s quality decreases as seasons pass by.
Characters and acting
Stephen Amell gives life to Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, and the truth is that he does an excellent job. He interprets both sides of the same coin remarkably. Here we must clarify that Oliver Queen is not a “mask” to hide the Green Arrow’s identity. He just lives his life, so he doesn’t play with duality the way Bruce Wayne – Batman or Clark Kent – Superman does. Amell shines with his own light presenting an incredible physique and executing great action sequences and melee battles. He brings a dimension to the character with a powerful emotional charge, which, combined with his physical preparation, manages to convince us that the universe of the show is plausible.
Katie Cassidy also does well as Queen’s ex-girlfriend Dinah Lance’s rather weakly-written role, who finds the right balance of warmth and strength for her character. Colin Donnell as Tommy and Willa Holland as Thea are also good, acting as the show’s sub-characters, enriching the story.
Music and cinematography
And finally, we come to the part of the highest praise; the action scenes look like they will be the biggest attraction of the series. David Barrett uses pictures and camera movements that are very attractive and well-montaged, bringing clarity regarding what is happening and where. The photography is excellent during the present, the exterior scenes of the mansion are stunning, but when it comes to flashbacks, it gets a bit messy.
The saturation in the image just doesn’t help with the narration. But what brings the most significant negative points to the pilot for sure is its weak soundtrack that gets in the way of the narrative and manages to remove the density of crucial scenes.
Arrow is a great series picturing the superhero, Green Arrow, in all his dimensions. Especially fans of superheroes like Batman, heroes with traumas and dark corners in his personality, would like the show a lot. In general, Arrow mixes action with drama and romance without any of the genres being dominant. It is an excellent series for those who want a full-of-action, a whole-package superhero movie with each episode.