Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thoughts on Season 3 of Arrow

It seems like the better The Flash got, the worse Arrow became.

Wait, let me back up here.  Hi.  I haven't written anything in awhile.  I'm Ed.  I'm a geek.  Sometimes, far too rarely, I feel compelled to write things down.  So let's talk about Arrow.

I only sat down to give The CW's Arrow a real shot (ha) about a month and a half ago.  I'd heard good things from friends and fellow geeks, but I've been very, very wary about anything coming out of DC Comics for the last several years.  I was born and raised a DC fan, coming into my geekiness around the same time that Knights were Falling and Doomsday and Clark Kent were punching each other so hard that buildings were shaking around them.  My dad, though not a particularly nerdy soul himself, had fond memories of his own childhood comic book days and encouraged my interest.  He'd return home from garage sales (this being the rural Midwest) with boxes full of old comics and trade paperbacks, almost always published by DC or Archie--and my deep-seated love of Archie is a whole 'nother subject--and I'd delve into this strange, colorful, violent, and often inexplicable world of superheroes and villains punching each other in dramatic fashion.

Around the same time, Batman: The Animated Series was kicking off.  B:TAS begot Superman: The Animated Series, Supes begot Justice League, and basically, throughout my childhood and into my burgeoning adult years, I had Bruce Timm's legendary version of the DC Universe keeping me company.  I also began to discover DC-oriented comics blogs like Dave's Long Box, the Absorbascon, and Chris Sims' Invincible Super-Blog.  These helped me finally understand some of the stories I'd been confused by in my youth and connect to aspects, characters, and bits of DC apocrypha I'd otherwise never have been exposed to.  I grew from a guy who liked comic books and superheroes to a dyed-in-the-wool DC Fanboy.

And then Christopher Nolan happened.  I enjoyed Batman: Begins quite a bit; I loved The Dark Knight and lauded Heath Ledger's performance (even if he still wasn't as good a Joker as Mark Hamill).  But by the time The Dark Knight Rises hit, DC's editorial staff seemed to have succumbed to the exact same madness that had, thirty years earlier, caused every comics writer in the industry to take a shot at recreating Alan Moore's Watchmen.  On the film side, it was obvious; Man of Steel's promotion (and eventual execution--no pun) made it clear that whoever was in charge of making these movies thought anything from DC that hit the silver screen needed to be dour, grim, dark, gritty, and absolutely humorless.  Sure, Green Lantern looked like it might be kind of fun (I won't lie, I had high hopes for Ryan Reynold's Kyle-Rayner-disguised-as-Hal-Jordan film), but its box office demise apparently sealed the deal at Warner Brothers: DC movies are totally serious business, man.