The CW’s ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ is a Celebration of the Superhero Genre – Review
The CW has managed to surpass all expectations yet again. It’s no easy feat to make a 5-hour anything consistently entertaining, but the network just does it anyway. Why? Because they can. It’s been said plenty of times about superhero live adaptations and it’ll be said again, but Crisis on Infinite Earths is truly an ambitious crossover.
Marv Wolfman’s 1986 comic book is a difficult story to do adapt in general with everything it necessitates, so I can only imagine how much more difficult it is to adapt it well. The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths turns fear and tragedy into a celebration of the superhero genre as a whole. If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out my Crisis-preparation article and watch it for free on the CW’s website!
*Please note, that there are major spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched the crossover event.
Regardless of which ones you prefer, TV and movie adaptations are incomparable for so many reasons. The CW recognizes this and plays their cards accordingly. After 8 years of the Arrowverse and a decade of Smallville, they know what they do best: heart. And let me tell you, they give this crossover all the heart they have.
With the impending dooms of The Flash and Oliver Queen promised by The Monitor threatening our favorite heroes across the multiverse, the crossover starts off with a dark tone that can really only be alleviated through heart. These defeats—Earths vanishing, Earth-2 Flash dying, and Earth-2 Flash and Earth-1 Oliver Queen making the ultimate sacrifice—break hearts and demand at least one victory, no matter how small. We get that in the end, but not before a whirlwind of chaos ensues.
The multiverse’s demise creates opportunities for everything to go wrong. And you know Murphy’s Law: whatever can happen, will happen. The seven paragons destined to save the multiverse are Earth-38 Supergirl and Martian Manhunter, Earth 96- Superman, and Earth-1 Batwoman, Flash, White Canary, and newcomer Ryan Choi. As anti-matter devours the entire multiverse before their very eyes, Pariah sends the paragons to the Vanishing Point, a dimension outside of space and time. The heroes have no time to mourn the fallen though. Diabolical to a T, villainous Lex Luthor rewrote the Book of Destiny to replace Earth-96 Superman with himself, ultimately making him the one of the seven paragons – because evil just never rests for this guy, even at the end of the universe. I respect the hustle though.
Just before the paragons turn on each other and Supergirl dropkicks Lex, Oliver Queen returns! But as we now know, he’s not the Ollie we’ve come to love. He’s someone else, something else. He has taken on the mantle of the Spectre, another omnipresent being that knows what needs to be done, but just can’t do it himself. He explains his self to them and how this whole crisis started. He reveals that the Monitor accidentally created the anti-matter universe at the dawn of time (rookie mistake), and that with this antimatter universe comes the anti-Monitor. The paragons have to go back to the dawn of time to prevent the Monitor’s mistake and defeat the Anti-Monitor. Sounds like a job for five heroes, a civilian, and a bad guy!
It’s in this daring quest that The CW really seems to flex their cinematic muscles. Directors Glen Winter and Gregory Smith take the wheel for these final two episodes respectively, to make something that really does belong in theaters. Director of Photography Neil Cervin makes the final episodes visually stunning in every way possible. Coupled with the phenomenal music by Blake Neely, Nathaniel, Blume, Daniel James Chan, and Sherri Chung, Crisis creates an experience that feels much bigger than TV. They even got the DCEU’s Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) to make a cameo! On top of that, outside shows and movies like Doom Patrol, Green Lantern, Swamp Thing, Titans, and Superman Returns are shown as part of the multiverse!
The victory that finally comes isn’t small at all. The Anti-Monitor is defeated, Beebo is safe, and thanks to Spectre Oliver Queen’s final battle, the anti-matter multiverse ceases to exist. Instead, a new universe is re-birthed as one single entity. The multiverse is no more as Earth-Prime emerges.
All of Earth-Prime pays their respects to Oliver Queen in what makes a perfect goodbye to the hero that started it all and saved it all. Barry Allen gathers heroes Supergirl, Black Lightning, White Canary, Superman, Batwoman, and Martian Manhunter in what can only be described as the Hall of Justice to pay their own respects to the fallen Green Arrow. Barry then tells them they can use the place when something big happens again and shows them a big round table in which they all have their own chair, respectfully leaving Oliver’s chair empty. It’s not said explicitly, but this is the promise of a Justice League.
What a stellar crossover.
What did you think of Crisis on Infinite Earths? What was your favorite part? Favorite easter egg? Let me know in the comments down below!
Nothing but love.