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CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS Conclusion Review: An Action Driven Finale Sticks the Landing

By on January 16, 2020

The Flash — “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three” Pictured (L-R): Cress Williams as Black Lightning, Osric Chau as Ryan Choi, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, Brandon Routh as Superman and Hartley Sawyer as Dibney/Elongated Man — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW —

Crisis on Infinite Earths Parts 4 & 5 Review

 

By Justin Carter

 

How was holiday break? You have a good time?

After taking a month off for the new year, Crisis returns with its final two installments, respective episodes of Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. While I don’t know if I would say these were worth the wait, they do certainly feel the most stable of this whole ordeal, even if their stakes are considerably grander and more chaotic. 

It’s hard not to talk about Avengers: Endgame in the wake of Crisis, and its penultimate chapter echoes the Marvel film in a multitude of ways. When Spectre-Ollie boosts Barry’s power to allow him to take the other Paragons to the Speed Force, they become trapped inside, forcing Barry to go on a trip through Oliver’s memories to find them. The logic of this feels sound, albeit flimsy in practice; it’s more than a little strange that Spectre-Ollie would put Sara in a memory where she’s a corpse, ditto Kate in one where he’s arguing with Ray. The moments in question are meant to relate to the Paragons in some way, but Sara is really the only one who can appreciate the memory she’s been placed in. 

Meanwhile, Ryan Choi, Lex Luthor, and Supergirl are sent to the Monitor’s homeworld of Maltus, thousands of years ago, to prevent him from accidentally meeting his evil counterpart. This episode is also briefly an origin story about the two Monitors, but it doesn’t come together as smoothly as it should. We see the two meet before the title card, but we never get a sense of the ambition that’s supposedly Mar Novu’s downfall. Not even his wife Xneen helps liven up Novu, and the Anti-Monitor remains as much of a general cosmic threat as before. 

Still, the episode coasts by on charm and character work alone. From Ryan and Supergirl giving pep talks, to Jon Cryer just chewing that scenery like it’s jerky, “Chapter Four” keeps everything going at a nice pace, which is good, since it literally ends with a whole new universe being born. 

Legends always ends up being the final episode of these crossovers, largely because they’ve got such a zany energy to make the highs of each crossover pretty dang high. That zaniness comes early on when the heroes come together to fight a giant Beebo rampaging through Star City. 

Oh, right, all the heroes are on one Earth now. This was always the intended outcome for this crossover, how could it not be, but it doesn’t dampen the impact of seeing everyone together being equally delighted and confused when another one of them shows up. Truly, I wish the show had just let everyone process the cosmic war they just came out of (and the memories Martian Manhunter re-uploaded into their brains!) instead of having them fight the Anti-Monitor one last time. One understands that these are action-driven adventures first and foremost, but the perfunctory action scene with the Anti at the end feels lessened because we already saw it about an hour ago. 

CW superhero shows tend to lean into the hokey on occasion, and the Arrowverse illustrates this penchant with Oliver Queen. While I understand why the universe would prop him up so heavily, it certainly feels like the network asking the audience to be invested rather than the audience being truly invested themselves. If you were someone who found Tony Stark being posthumously honored in Endgame and Spider-Man: Far from Home to be overdoing it, you’ll likely have those same feelings here as the characters and even the whole nation mourns him in a moment of silence. 

Still, the closer episodes of Crisis are plenty fun and the landing has been stuck. I won’t deny losing my mind at the Justice League, Super Friends, or whatever they call themselves being born, or the montage of universes based on shows and films that have or will exist in recent history. Not the best of these, but more than a fine closer on the first era of these characters. 

 

Additional Notes

  • The continued disdain the Legends have for getting tangled up in crossovers will always be a source of delight for me. 
  • Now that Black Lightning and Supergirl are in this one universe, I imagine team ups will be easier to manage or write around. (You get the idea from the end that Supergirl and Batwoman will be teaming up these next few weeks.)
  • Marv Wolfman, the writer of the Crisis comic back in the day, gets to cameo and also write the Arrow episode. 
  • As it was last year, all the Arrowverse shows have been renewed to come back in the fall. Green Arrow & the Canaries hasn’t been picked up at the time I write this, but Superman & Lois has. 
  • How about that Ezra Miller cameo?
  • “How often is the world in danger?” Oh, Jefferson. 

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