The biggest stakes ever attempted in a comic book event, bestial Anti-Monitor, & mega fan-service cameoing DC Media history back to 1960’s w/ epic score, classic Justice League tone, & game-changing payoff: A new DC Film/TV Multiverse. 8/10.
Plot Synopsis: “Crisis on Infinite Earths” is the sixth annual Arrowverse crossover event, a five hour DCTV comic book event as never-before attempted on television that promises the end of the multiverse as we know it.
*Possible Spoilers Ahead*
16 Shows. 42 Seasons. 715 Episodes. Billions Of Dollars Of Revenue. 8 Years. 75+ Heroes.
16 shows. 42 seasons. 715 episodes. Billions Of Dollars Of Revenue. 75+ Beloved DC heroes – many of them getting their screen debut for the first time in a nearly-a-century these past 8 years. The DCTV universe has a legacy set in stone at this point – aptly-named the Arrowverse after the show that arguably changed television history by proof-of-concepting the idea of blockbuster-franchising on TV (and the profitability of streaming) instead of in movie theaters only. Flash vs. Arrow, The Brave & The Bold, Invasion!, Crisis-On-Earth-X, & Elseworlds all led here; the sixth annual crossover bringing together the Justice League – this time for a threat and existential Crisis bigger than all past team-ups put together.. and perhaps anything ever attempted in comic book film or TV history. The biggest stakes ever attempted in a comic book event, bestial Anti-Monitor, & *MEGA* fan-service from throughout DC Film/TV history going back to the 1960’s – with an epic orchestral score, classic-Justice League tone, and *game-changing* aftermath: A New DC TV/Film MULTIVERSE that could change blockbuster media as we know it, make Crisis On Infinite Earths one of the most revolutionary superhero-team portrayals to date – even despite a few scripting flaws and problematic cameos.
The Biggest Stakes Ever Attempted In A Comic Book Event – Movies & *Especially* TV
DCTV deserves massive praise for tackling the biggest stakes EVER attempted in a comic book event in Crisis. You thought Avengers: Endgame’s stakes of half the Earth’s population was big..?? Pfft, try the ENTIRE MULTIVERSE; ALL LIFE ON ALL PLANETS IN ALL SOLAR SYSTEMS; TRILLIONS OF SOULS; THE ENTIRE *CONSTRUCT* OF REALITY AND TIME ITSELF. Not only does the franchise display insatiable hunger, ballsiness, and self-assuredness taking on such a monumental task in scripting this gargantuan an event with fractional resources compared to the usual half-a-billion $ budget most team-up films are set up with (a CGI/budget crux it’s almost impossible to mess up with), but DCTV allows the darkest potential of the storyline to unconscionably play out for max-drama/casualties: the Anti-Monitor actually WINS at first and decimates every shred of reality and life to ever take a breath – leaving only 7 paragons to sulk in the vast nothingness of space and Vanishing Zone to reflect on how badly they failed not only their friends, family, and acquaintances – but the entire multiverse before finding a way to fix it.
A Canvas Of Mega-Fan Service, Easter Eggs, & Classic-Justice League Tone/Nostalgia That Will Melt The Heart Of Any DC Or CBM Fan
Crisis On Infinite Earths is the most fandom-servicing product I’ve EVER witnessed in superhero media history. There, I said it – and that’s a near-impossible feat with the veritable avalanches of comic book films & TV being shotgunned at us every year (think it actually might hit 7-10 new products in 2020 ALONE.) How do reinvent the wheel when everything that’s ever been done.. has already been done 3-4x by now? You hike the path too treacherous (and unattainable by any franchise besides DC): invoking history for an event that transcends Father Time unlike anything that’s ever been able to be accomplished before. There are cameos and Easter Eggs from throughout the entire 70+-year history of DC media in this 5-hour event, and so much pure comic nostalgia/homages/lore, it’s near-impossible to summarize. But we’ll try: Burt Ward’s ’66 Robin (R.I.P. Adam West), the TITANS – Robin/Nightwing, Raven, Beast Boy, Starfire, Hawk & Dove, Wonder Girl, etc., Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, Constantine, Lucifer, Smallville’s Tom Welling, KEVIN CONROY’s Batman (the definitive voice to ever play the Caped Crusader), the ’90’s Birds Of Prey, Jim Corrigan’s Spectre, Ryan Choi’s A.T.O.M., KINGDOM COME SUPERMAN (masterfully played by Brandon Routh – still might be the damn best Superman and Reeves’-alike to ever don the suit we maintain), ’90’s Flash, Keaton’s Batman, Booster Gold, BEEBO, Stargirl, GLEEK (playing up the series’ proud classic JL-cartoon/Super Friends nostalgic feel), all the dozens of Arrowverse heroes of course, Hall Of Justice (and legendary Round Table officially announcing the League’s formation at the end!), and last but not least – the most shocking cameo perhaps in TV history and one that literally changes everything for blockbuster media – EZRA MILLER’s DCEU FLASH?!
THE F*CKING JUSTICE LEAGUE AND A NEW DC MULTIVERSE SPANNING 70+ YEARS AND COMBINING FILM & TV!!!!
The Aftermath of that cameo and Crisis On Infinite Earths is the PROMISED LAND of DC we’ve only dreamt of and been championing since years ago: A DC-MULTIVERSE COMBINING 70+ YEARS OF TV & FILM CANONICALLY!! This is the holy grail – the step that will let DC not only overtake, but decimate Marvel and any other blockbuster franchise in its way. Don’t think people fully understand the gravity of what that Flash-meets-Flash handshake and moment did: The DC Multiverse is now officially the Biggest Media Franchise Of All-Time: a 70+-year, 250+-film, 185+-TV Show Empire unlike anything that’s EVER been attempted before it. Imagine seeing Henry Cavill, Brandon Routh, Tom Welling, Tyler Hoechlin, AND Melissa Benoist all standing side-by-side together in S’s on-screen; Christian Bale vs. Ben Affleck vs. Michael Keaton vs. Kevin Conroy’s Batmen going at it after some devious comic book plot from a Joker team spanning Mark Hamill to Jared Leto; Ezra Miller, Keiynan Londsdale, Jon Wesley Shipp, & Grant Gustin racing each other to get pizza at Coast City. Warner Bros. has finally learned to stop the masochism we first called out when they (foolishly) announced the DCEU as a separate franchise to DCTV – not using its rich characterization/storytelling prowess and established presence as the biggest + most successful TV franchise ever to easily build a contendable franchise, instead childishly pouting and trying to climb the mountain instead of take the elevator to the top – we all saw how that turned out (SuperMoustache, anyone?). Sure, it’s fine now that Joker, Shazam!, WW, and Aquaman saved it – but DC Films nearly died a worse death than Oliver’s out of (entirely-unnecessary) stubbornness it’s brilliant to see WB finally admitting its mistake on: and can exploit DC’s biggest ace card (history and decades of media no one else has) by merging it all into one cloud it can crossover and filet into INFINITE storytelling possibilities and unprecedented combos in cinematic history.
From Earth-X To Infinite
A Score Chock-Full Of Nostalgia, Reworked Themes, & Event Scale
The soundtrack of Crisis is absolutely fantastic – a near-perfect accompaniment that does what 2017’s Justice League film wanted (but failed to do) properly: work in past DC themes into a balanced overall orchestral score that dots the filmscape with epic timbre and reminds of the lore of eras past cinematically. Boasting everything from booming tribal drums to dramaticism-laced cello sequences to amped-up dark timbres/tones to triumphant trumpets to reworked themes from DC’s most legendary films/shows like Superman: The Movie ’78, Batman ’89, The Super Friends, Batman ’66, Smallville, etc. to buzzsaw synth aggressions and poignant emotional piano pieces – this is one of the best scorings in recent superhero memory. The cinematography is fine with some inventive shot styles in battle sequences, and screenwriting full of intriguing character interactions and mini-teams being sent throughout the multiverse on different missions and team/self-arcs – as well as some cheeky self meta-references like “don’t worry about [his excitement], it’s his first crossover” or “that sounds epic, did a crossover just happen?”. Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor (this being the first time I’ve seen him in action) is a bit put-offish at first and seedy/rat-like in appearance I wish was a little younger and more suave/refined in appearance by no fault of the actor but more the casting – but I have to admit, his performance grows on you and definitely makes you hate him as a cocky, pretentious douchebro/evil genius that’s Lex to-a-tee.
As if the canvas of fan-service wasn’t big enough already, add one more thing to that multiversal checklist: The Anti-Monitor. One of the most legendary and storied comic book villains & extradimensional beings ever concocted – we’re talking Darkseid & Thanos level here – DCTV brings the 1985 god to life phenomenally. Award-worthy make-up design and creature CGI (even better than MCU’s purple-Shaq Thanos – unbelievably so with only *fraction* of the resources as a showcase of talent over money), skillful strategism pulling strings behind-the-scenes like a Gepetto playing the team’s emotions and misgivings in everything from turning, driving wedges, and tempting them to do his bidding under the chameleonic disguise of one of them, & primordial anti-matter terrain invoking the best of sci-fi eras-past in radiative green glow and shadow adversaries does one of my favorite (and DC’s greatest) villains fantastically in his live-action debut. LaMonica Garrett gives a bone-chilling performance in both timbre and motivations as him too – a booming (tech-laden) voice, Victorian doom-prophetical flair, brotherly rivalry with his alter-half The Monitor also played by himself for fascinating interplay, & a deadly insatiable lust for carnage and TRILLIONS of lives lost. I wish he was given a slightly better final fight scene (loveeeed the growing to massive size as comic-accurate but deserved a more fantasy-set setting – and was taken down a bit too easily) or was ended with the Spectre finale from Ep. 4 instead – that really should’ve ended the Crossover itself being one of the most epic superhero moments and a brilliant, gut-wrenching sendoff for the man of the hour: Oliver Queen.
The man of the hour whom all eyes were on this crossover: Oliver Queen. On paper, Green Arrow’s arc throughout Crisis is fantastic. The man & show who started this entire universe aptly named after him – now growing in size exponentially/incalculably with the Multiversal addition, this was a massively-pressured sendoff to get right – and they (overall) did. To recap, he saves over a billion lives more by dying a hero’s death in the line of fire refusing to give up until the very end when everyone’s to safety, his daughter and League can’t accept the finality and resurrect him using a Lazarus pit, he becomes the freaking SPECTRE (another huge DC legacy character the crossover brought to life spectacularly), and uses his new mystical and primal powers to defeat the Anti-Monitor and create a new universe of life – a *brilliant* parallel to the universe of DCTV and streaming trend of franchises moving to TV Arrow played a massive or even the foundational role in proof-of-concepting and starting as a universe just like the one Mr. Queen does metaphorically here.
Misc. Script Flaws
While Crisis’ Green Arrow arc sounds great on paper and leaves an epic legacy and end result when it’s all said and done through, its execution is *shockingly* shaky and messy – wildly-uncharacteristic of DCTV’s usual tight-as-a-drum storytelling and character work that (flaws and all otherwise) ~always delivers as a hallmark of what allowed them to supersize as a franchise. Oliver’s death in Ep. 1 is downright anticlimactic and not nearly boasting the dramatic, heartbreaking flair the death of freaking OLIVER QUEEN deserved – which he got much better the 2nd time around (thank God), but still. When he’s resurrected, he’s turned back-to-normal a bit too easily on Lian Yu, Spectre comes to him too abruptly without backstory, and I really, really wish we saw more of Queen as Spectre since he is so SENSATIONAL as the infamous Green Ghost – plus his final death facing Anti-Monitor should’ve been delayed until the end of the crossover itself for more bombastic finality and so it didn’t feel like the team moved onto JL a bit too fast without him. Other scripting flaws include a near-boring opening riddled with problematic SJW-talking points as characteristic of Supergirl – why, why, why start off the crossover with Supergirl (the worst show of the lot due to its too-often turning into Politics- or SJW-Girl instead of Supergirl post-S1) – that nearly killed Elseworlds last year, a background-light introduction to the team for people who haven’t all – or any – of the shows (a downright task now with 42+ seasons and 715+ hour-long episodes to get fully caught up on DCTV), no Supergirl death reference as a hallmark of comics’ Crisis On Infinite Earths, and the biggest of all: Conroy and Welling’s cameos.
Two Legendary Cameos It (Shockingly) Wastes
The cameos that broke the internet – Kevin Conroy and Tom Welling are in Crisis On Infinite Earths. The headline alone is enough to garner mega-clickbait and uncontainable hype, but the two biggest-name cameos in Crisis are – shockingly – wasted.. or worse: insulting. Tom Welling’s is the lighter of the two – how do you bring back Smallville’s iconic Superman actor.. and not have him suit up or do anything in a big role besides a couple minutes of puffballish farm-conversations? It’s not bad or non-Superman or anything, but pretty much a complete waste of the cameo – and while the rest of the Supermen do fantastically (especially Brandon Routh who is downright perfect in portrayal yet again), it’s a bit disappointing he didn’t have a bigger role is all. But Kevin Conroy – I cannot believe I’m going to say this.. but he near-disgraced the role of Batman he spent a career bringing to life as the definitive voice of The Dark Knight. Maybe it’s the fact that this is his first time ever playing the character in the actual limelight and big screen live-action (admittedly way harder than voice acting), but portraying Batman – especially Kingdom Come Batman literally quoted as broken in body but not spirit still finding a way to “foremost believe in the law of never taking a life”.. guess Conroy didn’t read that part – as a vicious, bloodthirsty killer is near-sacrilegious and the antithesis of comic-accuracy I’m speechless he didn’t object to – or even spearheaded – for this legendary cameo. A damn shame.
Any DC Or Comic Book Fan’s ~Dream Crossover Experience
An Event That Could Change Blockbuster & DC Media As We Know It
Overall, Crisis On Infinite Earths is any DC fan’s ~dream experience. Sure there are some scripting flaws, a slow and problematic start, wasted Tom Welling cameo, & insulting Kevin Conroy plot decision – but these are minuscule gripes in the multiversal canvas we’re given, wherein that Flash-of-Two-Worlds aftermath and end result when you feel the gravity of the League sitting together at The Round Table for the first time in live-action are two of the greatest comic book moments I’ve ever felt.. and more than make up for its flaws. The biggest stakes ever attempted in a comic book event, bestial Anti-Monitor, & *MEGA* fan-service from throughout DC Film/TV history going back to the 1960’s – with an epic orchestral score, classic-Justice League tone, and *game-changing* aftermath: A New DC TV/Film MULTIVERSE that could change blockbuster media as we know it, make Crisis On Infinite Earths one of the most revolutionary superhero-team portrayals to date – even despite a few scripting flaws and problematic cameos.
Official CLC Score: 8/10