By Scott C.
Warning: this article contains heavy spoilers for The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths Crossover.
The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths has come and gone. The five-part crossover event was inspired by DC’s 1985 twelve-issue comic book storyline, which led to major plot shifts, afterward.
Last year saw the MCU dealing with a particular ‘crisis,’ that included the Avengers reversing the ‘snap,’ defeating Thanos and his minions, and protecting the universe from total destruction in Avengers: Endgame. It was now DC’s turn to have a crisis. The Arrowverse was ready for its sixth annual crossover, an event many have been waiting for since 2014.
In Crisis, the Anti-Monitor is the next supervillain who wants to reshape DC’s multiverse to his liking. The good Monitor, however, is not thrilled about that, so he decides to recruit a team of heroes and ‘Paragons’ to face his evil twin. The multiverse is turned upside down, with a staggering amount of fan service, which means that the true crisis has begun. But did this crossover deliver the goods?
There is a ridiculous amount of talent in this event. Yet getting any crossover to flow well is not an easy task for any studio, due to the many components each one has. Luckily, Crisis does a decent job of handling its many pieces; the showrunners smartly knew their weapons of choice, one of which was the Green Arrow.
Oliver Queen/Green Arrow’s (played by Stephen Amell) Crisis story tells an honoring and satisfying arc; the ending perfectly showcases why he is the guy in a now-crowded Superhero world. Amell did great. But do not worry, Grant Gustin’s Flash, Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl, Ruby Rose’s Batwoman, and a few others, do get their moments to shine. They all played an important role and the story allowed each of them to be themselves throughout the chaos. Black Lightning, however, has limited screen time, which is a true injustice. At least, Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor did not meet that same cruel fate, the actor sure looked like he was having a blast in playing the diabolical villain in this crossover. Everyone’s acting had to be good to sell this crossover, and it was, although the super-being ‘deep’ voices did feel “over the top”, during a few particular scenes.
Then there is Brandon Routh’s Earth-96’s Superman, which will likely stand out as the best fan service in Crisis. His reprising of the friendly Kryptonian (not since 2006’s Superman Returns film) has to be rewarding for most Routh fans, as it was for me, and having that iconic theme playing too, only made it better. Routh’s charismatic personality just sells the role. It feels like I am watching Christopher Reeve as Superman again. Hopefully, this was not the final time we see this version of the Man of Steel.
Earth-90’s Flash (played by John Wesley Shipp), also had a strong showing. The showrunners, for example, gave the 1990s Flash just enough to wrap up his story, after his series’ cancellation did not. As always, Shipp knows how to play the 90s Flash well. Oh, Kevin Conroy as Earth-99’s Batman/Bruce Wayne? Heck yeah, it was awesome to see! More please, DC!
Crisis’ other ‘flashy’ cameo was, indeed, surprising and neat to watch. Even though the appearance did little to help with the overall story, perhaps it was done as a vote of confidence by WB for all to see for this particular character, if nothing else? I would be fine with that if so. Another surprising cameo that will have a particular fan base buzzing for awhile will be the appearance of a ‘devilish’ character. No one saw this one coming at all, which made that appearance much more interesting. The Smallville cameo was fine, too, regardless of how brief it was. At least we have some form of update about this world, because 2011 was a long time ago.
By the time viewers get through this crossover, most of the cameos will feel like “What the heck?” fan service. Yes, Crisis is all about that, yet most should have mattered more within Crisis’ narrative, rather than being hit-and-run.
The special effects were also serviceable, yet when a certain character grew bigger than normal by using the Power Rangers formula in part five, it got very campy and the camera work did not help the cause either. The shadow demons also did not look first-rate. Regardless, for a television crossover of this caliber, the special effects did enough to make this ride fun, and really, not everything on TV can get that healthy Disney-budget treatment. I’ve got to be realistic about that.
The script itself is solid throughout this five-part crossover, although there were some clunky moments, when the cameos began popping up everywhere. Some characters oddly did not return to action in part five, nor were mentioned.
As for our supervillain, the Anti-Monitor (played by LaMonica Garret, who also plays the Monitor) was nothing more than your typical ‘bad guy’ on a path of destruction, yet the comic book version was no better. But it would have been nice if fans would have gotten more, rather than the light version still.
As to where the Arrowverse will go long term, past the recent series orders of which we already know, this is one of the many things about which fans will be curious for awhile. Supergirl, Batwoman, Arrow, and Black Lightning have given us a small glimpse of Crisis‘ fallout, as of this writing. Hopefully, the writers will not be afraid to tell riskier stories, considering that things have changed quite a bit. Because of that, I believe it is a perfect time for new viewers to join the CW/DC ship, if they so choose.
So, did Crisis on Infinite Earths deliver as advertised? Yes. Is it the best crossover ever? No, but the product itself was a fun ride to watch and it did wrap up one story arc successfully, which began in 2012, to set up a new one for 2020 and beyond. What is next for the Arrowverse, as well as the multiverse? The future looks limitless, thanks to this crossover. Give Crisis on Infinite Earths a watch.
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