Review: The CW’s Flashpoint Is Nothing Like the Comics, But Is Every Bit as Awesome

Tuesday, 04 October 2016 - 10:09PM
DC Comics
The Flash
Tuesday, 04 October 2016 - 10:09PM
Review: The CW’s Flashpoint Is Nothing Like the Comics, But Is Every Bit as Awesome
When the second season of the CW's The Flash ended, it was clear that Grant Gustin's Barry Allen would be undertaking a journey to an alternate reality just like he did in Geoff Johns' classic DC graphic novel, Flashpoint. Nothing could have capped off the show's sophomore season better, or invigorated so much excitement among the DC fanbase. Fans waited for five long months to see if the show would be able to capture the magic of the comics, and tonight, that waiting came to an end. So how did the season opener of The Flash measure up?

Undoubtedly, the CW's version of Flashpoint was entirely different from what comic readers may have been expecting going in. Yet, it still managed to be a near-perfect story, delivering everything that The Flash has come to be known for through its first two seasons: big heart, big humor, and outrageous spectacle.

After going back in time to save his mother from the Reverse Flash, the alternate reality that Barry ends up in seems perfect for him, or at least at first. He still has both his parents, Iris says yes when he asks her out, he still has his powers, and Wally West is this universe's Flash. However, a new speedster called the Rival has shown up in Central City, and so Barry finally makes the decision to reveal himself to Wally, Iris, Cisco, and Caitlyn so they can work together to take down the new threat.  

To make a long story short, Barry starts losing memories of his past, and Wally is fatally wounded in their confrontation with the Rival. Realizing that his happiness came at the cost of everyone else's pain, Barry then makes the decision to go back in time once again and undo the damage (or at the very least, try to). When he gets back on the other side, however, not everything is back to normal. Just like in the comics, significant changes to Barry's home universe are put into effect by his tampering with time. Flashpoint ends with the revelation of the first: Iris, for some reason, is no longer speaking to Joe and Wally.    

There were definitely a lot of things that really worked in The Flash's season opener. The cast remains just as adorable as ever, with great interaction between Iris and Barry in particular. The humor was there as well - Cisco missing the basket, the irony of Barry's parents hinting that they want him to move out, and Barry "kidnapping" Caitlyn topping the list of this week's funniest moments. Just as well, Reverse Flash definitely had his villainy totally on point in this episode, as he forced Barry to ask him specifically to go back in time and kill his mother. On top of the humor and heart, the show delivered on spectacle as well with some great CGI run-Barry-run sequences, and with some extraordinary choreography in Wally and Barry's fight with the Rival.    

Of course, there will likely be a lot of hardcore DC fans disappointed with this version of Flashpoint, as it bears very little resemblance to the Flashpoint of the comics. Yet different doesn't mean bad, and it must be remembered that the Flashpoint of the comics had the entire DC Universe at its disposal going in. Would it have been cool to have some more elements come into play from the comics, such as more time spent on Barry and his mother's relationship, Barry losing his powers in the Flashpoint universe, and more emphasis being given to the fact that Barry still had all of the memories from growing up with his mother upon his arrival back to his own timeline? Yes, and those specific plot points could arguably be counted as missed opportunities for the show. Still, TV's The Flash pulled off an excellent story in keeping with the tone of the show and with the resources that they had from the universe The Flash exists in, which are obviously much more limited than the universe that the Flash of the comics exists in. It may not have been the story everyone was expecting or wanting, but it's undeniable that the writers and cast executed the story they did choose to go with extremely well.

There were a couple of other minor flaws that could be counted against the episode as well, such as the Rival revealing his identity to Wally and Barry. This will obviously come into play in later episodes, with Barry knowing the identity of the Rival in his own timeline now as well. However, there was little motivation for the Rival to reveal himself other than his own arrogance and stupidity, which seems like a bit of a cop-out. This was a contrived plot point that could have been made seamless with a bit more effort in the writers' room. Likewise, there was a small bit of dialogue between Barry and Iris that came off as a bit too corny, but it's certainly something that fans could be willing to overlook knowing their history together.

Overall, however, Flashpoint definitely met the high expectations that The Flash has set for itself in its phenomenal first two seasons. The show is undoubtedly the best live action property that DC has going at the moment, and there have been very few disappointments to come from the series thus far. It could very well be said that at the start of season three, The Flash is going at full speed, and shows no signs at all of slowing down anytime soon.  

The Flash will return next Tuesday at 8 p.m. for episode two of season 3, entitled Paradox.
Science Fiction
Comic Book TV Shows
DC Comics
The Flash