Like the comic books the Arrowverse uses as its source material, The CW is committed to making sure its superheroes come together once in a while for a massive crossover. With Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, The CW has plenty of stories to tell and a huge rosters characters to intertwine, and Crisis On Earth-X — the fourth time they’ve done such a thing — is the best major event to date.
In an age where big screen cinematic universes exist and crossovers are no rarity, it’s easy to forget about those that happen on the smaller screen, but Crisis is one you don’t want to miss. Warner Bros’ Justice League movie may have left DC Comics fans desiring more superheroic team-ups, and The CW’s latest four-part event is the studios’ best yet, even if it happened on TV and not in theaters.
Temporarily readjusting the dates its DCTV series air, the network managed to tell a huge-scale story over four individual episodes, but it felt more like one big movie. Introducing a 53rd Earth to the fan-dubbed Arrowverse, Greg Berlanti and co. have taken Marvel Studios’ approach to storytelling by bringing lower-profile characters together and placing them in an on-screen universe, and Crisis On Earth-X is the best result of that approach to date.
Last year’s Invasion! was advertised as a four-part crossover, but Supergirl‘s contribution was poor and lasted merely a matter of minutes. The previous two crossovers, Flash vs. Arrow, both only spanned across two shows and two episodes. This is the first time that all four series have really focused on delivering on an overall narrative; in this case, saving Earth-1 from evil Nazi versions of the main heroes.
Now, this doesn’t sound that ground-breaking on paper, but the crossover had it all – heart, humor, action and a true comic book feel. The characters are brought together through a lovely personal moment – Barry and Iris’ wedding – which, of course, didn’t pan out as anticipated. For reasons unknown at the time, invaders from Earth-X (Overgirl, Dark Arrow, Dark Flash and lots of unidentified soldiers), crash the wedding and launch a full-scale attack on our beloved heroes.
From the start, this was more gripping than Invasion!, which saw a host of aliens land on Earth in an attempt to take over the planet. Dubbed the Dominators, these aliens abducted the president of the United States and chaos ensued from there. It was a messy, somewhat disjointed effort that only barely succeeded because for the first time, it brought together characters we’ve watched for years. In Crisis On Earth-X, we’re presented with villains that we recognize in the form of the Arrowverse’s trinity of Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist. Watching them play evil versions of their characters is fun on its own, but by pairing this with huge action sequences and a roster of superheroes that’s almost bursting at the seams, The CW gave us four enjoyable hours of television.
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