Crisis on Infinite Earth is DC’s most ambitious and best live-action crossover to date.
Crisis on Infinite Earths has been several years in the making as the Arrowverse first teased the Crisis on the pilot episode of The Flash back in 2014. Spanning 5 episodes across Supergirl, Batwoman, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, Crisis is structured very similarly to the 1985 comic that inspired it. Both revolve around the heroes of many parallel universes banding together to help the Monitor stop his nemesis, the Anti-Monitor from wiping out the entire multiverse. Needless to say, this is the Arrowverse’s most ambitious crossover.
Avengers: Endgame might claim to be the biggest crossover event in history, but it’s a testament to the Arrowverse showrunners for constructing a crossover of equally epic proportions, neatly tying in numerous other live-action DC shows and movies. It was truly amazing seeing so many iconic DC characters joining the fray. While some of these cameos, such as Dick Grayson and Swamp Thing, are fleeting, other multiversal guest stars such as Tom Welling’s Superman (Smallville) and Kevin Conroy’s Batman (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond) play very satisfying and meaningful parts in the crossover. Tom Ellis was brilliant in his brief appearance as Lucifer, but the biggest cameo was undoubtedly Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen, when the two Flashes size each other up in a completely bonkers scene.
On a storytelling level, the crossover does begin to buckle under its own weight, as the sheer number of characters starts to get a bit overwhelming. But just like Endgame, Crisis smartly trims the main cast, and in another parallel with the Marvel blockbuster, it sends these characters on a trip down memory lane. Although it’s been several years since I last watched an episode from any of the CW shows, I was still able to identify most of these nostalgic throwbacks. I have to assume that it isn’t a coincidence that most of these scenes were from the early seasons, when the shows were at their strongest.
As the epic event barrels towards its big conclusion, there were a fair bit of cartoonish plotlines and cheesy dialogues that served as a reminder of why I lost interest in the CW shows. But, seeing all these great character interactions also reminded me why I had fallen in love with these shows in the first place. Sara and Diggle’s tearful embrace was a truly emotional moment, as was Sara and Barry’s heart-to-heart in the park, which I found incredibly moving. There is also the Arrowverse’s trademark humor, as highlighted by a heavy exposition scene getting overshadowed by various superheroes trying to shush Clarke and Luis’ child, Jonathan. Rory reading his romance novels to Jonathan was equally hilarious. Cisco grudgingly coming to terms with the Anti-Monitor’s moniker had me in splits as well.
While the big showdowns felt a bit underwhelming, Crisis makes up for it with an epilogue worthy of Avengers: Endgame, as Barry unveils a JLA-style conference table with the superheroes’ logos emblazoned on the chairs. Unlike Justice League, where the titular team’s dynamics was barely established, this scene truly holds resonates. I cannot think of many ways to top this ambitious crossover, but I really think CW can do justice to the Injustice storyline, righting the wrongs of the half-baked Batman v Superman.