CW’s Arrow is Cool But What’s Up With Villains?

arrow villains

As a comic book nerd, it always does something to me when I see my favorite super-powered characters leap from the page and onto the screen. Not every Hollywood producer gets it correct when initiating this kind of nerd-gasmic transition, but when they do, it’s usually pretty stellar. To that end, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement and appreciation regarding The CW’s hit new program Arrow. Since its highly rated premiere, Arrow has been a real rollercoaster ride.

I believe it is common knowledge that the creators of the program have drawn inspiration from Christopher Nolan’s exceedingly successful Dark Knight trilogy in that they are trying to ground Arrow’s world in reality. I can dig that. However, while I think this can be pretty cool at times, it does provide a few challenges.

For example, the character Green Arrow fares pretty decent in this real world setting — I guess it helps that he doesn’t have any real superpowers — but I feel that the members of the show’s rogues gallery are suffering from the real world treatment and, as a result, are getting lost in translation. Don’t believe me? Hmph. Let’s analyze a few, shall we?

While Stephen Amell’s performance as Green Arrow and Katie Cassidy’s amazing take on Dinah Laurel Lance are entertaining, the villains provide the real conflict.

It’s pretty safe to say that most comic book villains have superpowers and come in colorful costumes a la Metallo, Poison Ivy and the fiendish yet hilariously named Captain Cold. In the Arrow universe, these kinds of vibrant foes have been stripped of the very thing that makes them unique which, in all honesty, is a bit of a letdown. One of the joys of witnessing comic book characters on television is that fans get to see how these characters will look when played by an actor or actress. Kelly Hu’s take on the scheming villainess China White (top left image in collage) was pretty solid in episode two of the series, but other villains like Deadshot (top right image in collage) simply pale in comparison. His traditional comic book costume was completely abandoned, and the man didn’t even have a line of dialogue. On the bright side, he was given his signature infrared scope over his eye…but that was about it.

And don’t even get me started on The Royal Flush Gang (bottom left image in collage).

Oy, vey. When it was first reported that this gang of thieves would be appearing in the series, I trembled with anticipation. In fact, I think I even peed a little. Characters that have been in DC Comics since March 1966, The Royal Flush Gang have tangled with Batman and Wonder Woman, and are known for their signature colorful costumes decked out in playing card emblems. Well, in Arrow they were presented in worn out hunting wear and mere hockey masks with playing card symbols on them. Lame.

Look, I get what the creators are going for. I’m really not that hard to please. Heck, I stuck with Smallville for all ten seasons and didn’t even yell (much) or scream (too loudly) with all of the liberties they took with Superman’s back story. I’m just saying that if you can’t at least try to give a little more of a nod to a character’s appearance while respecting their legacy then maybe the character shouldn’t be used at all. I understand that this is an adaptation and that they can do whatever they want, but I’d like to see DC Comics villains that are recognizable on Arrow. They got it right with Huntress (bottom right image in collage) — well sort of. Now, let’s see if they get it correct with Firefly who is set to make an appearance in a few weeks.

After all, these villains may steal and kill, but if they aren’t recognizable on TV then that’s the real crime.

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  • Tulipsnwindows

    I agree with you.
    I want my ridiculously outfitted villains too. The Royal Flush Gang annoyed me to no end.

    Though I liked Nolan’s films, I’m tired of shows and movies trying to recreate it. Stop and move on already.

  • demonstrable

    Agreed, I keep waiting for one of the villains to steal the show a little bit and so far I’ve been disappointed.