During the Arrow season finale we were treated to a teaser trailer featuring a World’s Finest type exchange between the slo-mo, super serious Oliver Queen, or The Arrow, walking along a green field before stopping to shoot an arrow at a target. Before he even releases the weapon, the ground quivers and we see a streak of red and yellow light approaching. As the arrow is released, headed towards the target, the streak of kinetic energy intercepts the arrow before it hits the target, revealing Barry Allen in full costume as The Flash. What does Barry do after catching the arrow at super speed? He smiles and proclaims his excitement at what he’s just accomplished while Ollie smirks and calls him a show off.
That, my friends, is how you introduce a new hero. Not only does it establish the differing personalities between Ollie and Barry, it also shows how the tone and energy of The Flash will differ from Arrow. Ollie became the Arrow out of obligation and duty, making his decision to be a vigilante about saving Starling City from the corrupt forces on the outside and within. Barry, on the other hand, became The Flash through happenstance and his enthusiasm, dorkiness, and generally positive demeanor makes him the perfect hero for Central City to face off against the new cadre of rogues and meta humans emerging from the particle accelerator incident at S.T.A.R. Labs. The one thru line of the Flash legacy is that every man or woman who becomes part of the Scarlet Speedster’s family loves what they do. The showrunners for The Flash clearly understand this.
Though I’m fairly sure we would’ve been fine with just the teaser trailer to hold us over until September, the CW decided to released an extended, five-minute trailer showing us exactly what to expect from The Flash this fall.
Origin story? Bam. Main characters? Established. Heroic motivations? Achieved. Crossover with Arrow? Imminent. As far as I’m concerned, The Flash has done its job of getting fans of Arrow excited for this spinoff series. It’s not surprising given that the two episodes that featured Grant Gustin’s debut as Barry Allen, “The Scientist” and “Three Ghosts”, were among the highest rated of Arrow‘s second season.
So what will The Flash be about? Heart and speed, according to the trailer. As is befitting of all superhero origins and series in general, the hero needs to be built up with a lot of profound statements that ooze foreshadowing. Barry isn’t exempt from this as his mother, Nora, tells a young Barry that it’s better to “have a good heart then fast legs” after Barry gets beaten up after school. It’s corny but forgivable since Barry Allen’s personality has always been defined by sincerity and purpose. Obviously his mother plays into that a great deal because then we get the rehash of Nora’s death by tornado inside the Allen household that somehow transported an eleven-year-old Barry across town leaving the authorities to peg his father as the murderer despite Barry believing he saw a man in the tornado. So, yes, the Geoff Johns reworked family tragedy for Barry remains, but the trailer thankfully doesn’t stay focused on this particular plot point since it will, more than likely, hang over the series or at least the first season.
Most of the trailer is devoted to reminding us of the incident that gave Barry his powers and showing his evolution into the Flash as he aligns with S.T.A.R. Labs scientists Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), and Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) while balancing his relationships with his surrogate father Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and potential love interest Iris West (Candice Patton). Wells plainly states that the malfunction of the particle accelerator opened the door for all types of scientific anomalies, one of which is the creation or emergence of meta humans and Barry’s first outing as a hero pits him against the Weather Wizard.
Grant Gustin continues to perfectly capture the dorky, “aww shucks” genuineness of Barry while simultaneously showing us his sense of humor and intense passion for justice. Barry was never looking to be a hero, more content to worship other heroes from afar, but now that he has powers beyond his own comprehension he has to make the decision to put on the mask and help others in a way he never could before. Other than Gustin, what really sells this trailer are the special effects. Arrow has only dabbled in meta human powers, relying more on CGI for large set pieces. With the Flash and his rogues gallery special effects are going to have to be front and center. Thankfully, most of the effects for Barry’s powers look fantastic, showing a variety of ways in which the world of The Flash can and will go bigger. It’s Flash vs a tornado, what more could you want? Admittedly, there are some shots that look a bit odd in the way they’re shot and there are a couple of groaner lines, but that’s pretty much par for the course with shows like this. The point is that The Flash looks fun and hopefully it will serve as the proper companion to Arrow by expanding the DC Universe on the small screen.