His name is Barry Allen and he’s the fastest man alive. He currently has his own hit show on The CW as well as a big screen version in Justice League. The speedster has been making waves on television for the past few years as it’s brought in some incredible comic book elements and made them both relatable and understandable for wider audiences. This show isn’t just for the comic book fans, but for everyone. Surely that’s a good thing?
Comic book properties are bigger than ever, and we couldn’t be happier. The CW manages to get quite a lot of things right about the Scarlet Speedster, but they also have their fair share of missteps as well. Comic fans will be familiar with Barry’s lighthearted nature, but they shouldn’t be expecting any of that here. He’s a grumpy CSI with some very negative outlooks on life. But the show does bring some incredibly unique characters and storylines into the world, so we can’t complain too much. The fans are divided on what to think about The Flash after a few seasons of recycled storylines and underwhelming villains. Here are 8 things The CW gets completely wrong about The Flash (and 7 it gets right).
15. GETS WRONG: IT’S NOT FUN
To say that Barry is one of the most lighthearted members of the Justice League roster, his TV show doesn’t quite match up to that. Sure there are the occasional one-line jokes, but the tone mainly relies on the relationship drama and tragic catalyst events that take place in Barry’s life.
We know the series can do humor, because the first season managed to stay light in the shadow of the threat that the Reverse-Flash posed. But over the last two seasons, it’s managed to stoop dangerously dark. Even compared to other shows on The CW like Arrow. The showrunners need to pick Barry and his team out of the ditches and let them have some fun. We don’t mean “Musical Episode” fun though, nobody needs that again.
14. GETS RIGHT: BARRY AND IRIS’ RELATIONSHIP
Clark and Lois, Peter and Mary Jane, Barry and Iris. The Flash has been endgame with Iris West for years. She’s a key component of his character, and also brings in Kid Flash into the fray. And surprisingly, the show managed to get Iris’ character pretty spot on, and even focuses on her journalist career.
The show set the groundwork for Barry and Iris’ relationship since the very first episode. The chemistry between the two was undeniable, and it works a treat. In season four, the two might be taking the next step, as we’ll potentially see their wedding. We’re still really anticipating how The Flash brings in the paper that she writes in the future involving the disappearance of the speedster in a “Crisis On Infinite Earths” type storyline.
13. GETS WRONG: THE VILLAIN OF THE WEEK
Remember when season long storylines managed to be incredibly intelligent and captivating? The Flash seemed to have traded that level of writing in for a simplistic episode structure that we’ve seen many times before. Instead of opting for complex comic book stories, they chose to go with the villain of the week option.
It’s quite simple, the show introduces a different enemy alongside the main story we’re already invested in. It distracts us from what we’re already expecting to see when we tune in each week. It’s a way of filling in the gaps in between the episodes that focus on the core villain. If The Flash spent more time working on some of the villains then the show might not have received the many negative criticisms that it currently has.
12. GETS RIGHT: STORYLINES
Even though the series has taken the occasional misstep with the treatment of characters or storylines, at least it’s bold enough to incorporate famous comics into live action. Many comic book adaptations decide that the stories featured in comics are too complex or too bizarre to make it to the screen.
The way that the writers really made audiences care about Barry and his tragic backstory worked brilliantly as an introduction to the character for both new fans and old ones. But throwing in the Reverse-Flash and all the futuristic time travel aspects of that character was genuinely captivating for a first season to give audiences. When the series introduced the multiverse, we even got an adaptation of “The Flash of Two Worlds”. So well done, Greg Berlanti.
11. GETS WRONG: FLASHPOINT
In the comics, “Flashpoint” was such a huge world-changing event. It spawned The New 52 as an entire continuity and it gave us some incredible alternate versions of some of the world’s most famous characters. Thomas Wayne as Batman, Martha Wayne as The Joker and then there’s the war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Groundbreaking. So why couldn’t The Flash get their version right?
“Flashpoint” has the potential to be an entire season arc, but instead we were given a single episode and it felt incredibly weak. The only superheroic changes were Kid Flash being the main hero of the city alongside The Rival as a villain. Sure there are rights issues with some of the characters, but there could have been ways of translating the story in a faithful way.
10. GETS RIGHT: S.T.A.R. LABS TEAM
Whilst S.T.A.R. Labs is an integral part of the DC Universe, The Flash doesn’t use it as a base of operations all the time like he does in the show. Sure, he works with them, especially in the current Rebirth run, but it’s not his main hub. And that’s one thing the show has over the comics.
The S.T.A.R. Labs team is what brings the humanity to The Flash, they drive him forward as well as grounding him when he needs reminding not to go too far. But they’re also integral to developing his powers and supersuit as time goes by. If it weren’t for Cisco Ramone, Barry wouldn’t have a Flash suit or the technology to combat various villains whatsoever. He’d likely have died had Caitlin not patched him up everytime he got injured. We love you S.T.A.R. Labs.
9. GETS WRONG: BARRY ISN’T THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE
In comics, The Flash is known as the fastest man alive. Heck, even on the show Barry introduces himself in the narration of each episode. But in the series, he’s considerably slower. In fact, he’s so slow it’s nearly embarrassing. We get that Barry is still learning to get a grip on his powers as he begins his superheroic career. But he likes to call himself the fastest man alive but still gets beaten by numerous villains during every season.
In fact, becoming as fast as those villains has become part of the season long storylines we’ve seen so far. The Reverse-Flash kept stealing his speed, Zoom factored Barry’s slow pace into his plans and there’s been plenty other villains to catch him off guard. Come on CW, let Barry pick up speed already.
8. GETS RIGHT: ROGUES
Because of the villain of the week format that the show frequently uses, it gives the writers a chance to introduce many iconic villains from across the history of the character in new and exciting ways. The Rogues, are a famous team of villains that band together to plague Central City with their schemes.
Surprisingly for a villain like Captain Cold, the show managed to update the character into a modern setting and giving us a viable reason for his costume. Heat Wave’s costume isn’t featured, but it didn’t matter when we got to see the pair team up to go on a crime spree. It just works a treat having a recurring team of villains that can crop up every so often to cause havoc for Barry and the rest of his team. Plus it allows the audience to be familiar with them if they keep appearing.
7. GETS WRONG: ZOOM
The Reverse-Flash was a fantastic villain for The Flash. The way the first season interweaved the murder of Barry’s mother into the story was nothing short of fantastic. The Reverse-Flash was an integral part of that — so why did they feel the need to redo the Reverse-Flash as a villain in season two, without giving him the courtesy of being called Professor Zoom?
In the comics, Zoom, aka Hunter Zolomon, is known as the second Reverse-Flash. So if they were going to introduce the character, they should have done so in a way that didn’t just cheaply take the name Zoom without utilizing the classic look. Plus, the way the writers really sped up the last arc of the second season just didn’t work out so well.
6. GETS RIGHT: MULTIVERSE
We live in a world where the multiverse has its own live action adaptation. It’s not just a thing that comic book fans know as a way of telling different stories from different earths or incorporating alternate versions of characters into the stories. The multiverse is a nexus for The Flash, allowing the writers to venture into whole new directions.
It’s the reason we get Supergirl as part of the Arrowverse and it’s why we get universe hopping storylines that come through the powers of characters like Cisco and Gypsy. It’s fascinating, because the multiverse is like a sandbox, it gives the writers an unlimited resource from where they can pull different plots, characters and situations for The Flash to tackle. Who thought we’d ever get to this point?
5. GETS WRONG: EVERYONE GETS POWERS
We’ve all got superpowers right? No? Well, if we were living in the world of The Flash we would. Seriously, because of the villain of the week format the show uses, it’s surprising the citizens of Central City are even surprised when another metahuman terrorizes the bustling city.
So was it really so surprising when supporting characters like Cisco and Caitlin emerged with their powers? Audiences are almost anticipating powers to reveal themselves from every character in the show. Even though comic fans might have been aware from the start that Cisco and Caitlin had the potential to be superheroes/villains, the reveals just didn’t have the weight they should have. How long is it until Joe West and Iris end up getting powers? We give it a season.
4. GETS RIGHT: HIS POWERS
The Flash may have a lot of problems, but we can’t criticize it for implementing the full range of powers that Barry is capable of. It would be easy just to focus on the simple speed element of his powers. But the show gives Thawne teaching Barry the different skills that his speed and connection to the Speed Force gives him.
We’ve seen him vibrate through solid matter, throw lightning as well as blurring his face and voice to mask his identity. And although the CGI may not always sell Barry’s Speed Force powers, we at least have to give The CW credit for incorporating them into the show. It did feel like they were bringing in a new power each week at one point, but still.
3. GETS WRONG: BARRY ALLEN
We’re sorry, but The CW really haven’t captured the nature of Barry Allen as well as they should have. Firstly, let’s get the superficial part out of the way. In the comics, Barry has always been shown as a blond member of the Central City Police Department. Grant Gustin isn’t blond (neither is Ezra Miller, but we’ll save that for another time).
But that leads us onto another problem. Barry’s role as a crime scene investigator has always lead him to fighting various villains and plotlines, whereas the show has nearly done away with Barry’s role at the C.C.P.D. completely. Then there’s his personality. He’s not nearly as jokey and lighthearted as his comic counterpart, and it makes us sad. Nearly as sad as Barry in most episodes of The Flash.
2. GETS RIGHT: REVERSE-FLASH
Eobard Thawne. He’s the reason that The Flash exists in the first place both in the comics and in the TV show. If Thawne didn’t kill Barry’s mother, then he would never have ended up as the Scarlet Speedster. And we saw how devastating a world without Barry could be during “Flashpoint”.
But let’s cast our minds back to season one. How good was Tom Cavanagh as a menacing villain? And even when it was revealed that his true face was actually that of actor Matt Letscher, it was like a rebirth of the villain. It didn’t feel disappointing when someone else stepped into the yellow costume, he was just as menacing. And that costume is certainly quite intimidating, especially with the glowing eyes. Yikes.
1. GETS WRONG: HARRISON WELLS
During the first season of the show, Tom Cavanagh really sold his role as the Reverse-Flash masquerading as The Flash’s mentor. It worked so well, even when it turned out that he had replaced the real Harrison Wells of their world. It was a great twist. But when the Reverse-Flash was ‘erased’ from the timeline, the writers needed a way to bring Tom back.
And that’s where the reintroduction of Harrison Wells started to get convoluted. We were given the Earth-2 Harrison Wells who was stern and brought in Jesse Quick to the fold. Okay, it wasn’t terrible. But then the third version saw Harrison Wells from Earth-19 become part of the team. The show relied too heavily on Wells to make up the team, and it’s gotten old very quickly.
Which of these do you agree or disagree with? Let us know in the comments!
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