Watching the pilot episode for The Flash makes one thing very clear. Barry Allen has a Superman complex and its rooted in deep from before he even became the scarlet speedster. This is a real blockbuster of an opening episode that leaves me with only one question, can they keep the show going at this speed?
A tragedy in his childhood leaves Barry feeling motivated to help those in need but he doesn't know how. When we first met him in Season 2 of Arrow, Barry Allen is a forensic specialist and does his best to help Oliver Queen, he even gives him the famous eye mask to make a better disguise. And we gets his powers from a bolt of lightning, Barry sees this as his chance to become the hero he always wanted to be. And for a series pilot, it sets the bar high for the rest of the season, especially in terms of special effects and the potential plot development.
Throughout the episode, we meet those who will be helping the Flash through the season. Grant Gustin is instantly likable in the title role. In fact, he is so brilliant one wonders if he will be able to keep his performance up while allowing the character to develop. Jesse Martin, playing Detective Joe West impressed me instantly. Especially since it is obvious he is revelling in the role. After Barry had dumped Felicity from Arrow, we learn he is in love with his oldest friend, Iris West, played by Candice Patton and like Felicity, she seems to be intelligent and opinionated enough to be worth investing our time in. And what about Doctor Harrison Wells? He is certainly a man who is keeping secrets but will they be interesting and complex enough to keep me interested enough to the plot finally reveals itself.
The idea of STAR Labs being the cause of the metahumans who run amok in Central City is interesting and gives us enough meat for the first season. And Mardon is a brilliant first villain. With his ever increasing powers he gets a god complex which compliment themselves well with Barry's Superman complex. What else is also interesting about this show is that Barry's top speed is 700 miles per hour, yet in the comics he can run fast enough to cross dimensions.
Of course this was probably a decision on behalf of the producers, the success of Arrow is that Oliver is dealing with his limitations. And like Arrow, The Flash, rather than having him super powerful right of the bat, they are going to give him time to grow.
And it is inevitable that The Flash will be compared with Arrow. It was great though to see Oliver Queen make a small appearance in the pilot. What works well for Arrow is focusing on the man rather his powers. And the producers of The Flash have everything set up for a really powerful first season. I hope they spend time focusing on Barry, the man, not Barry, the superhero. Given that most of The Flash comics focus on the character rather than his powers, that is what drives the series and given what we are in the pilot, I assume this is the direction the show is going to go in too.
What is good though is that with more of these TV shows and films, the more see people who feel real and individual rather than superhero caricatures. And that is what everyone feels like in The Flash, these could be real people.