Crisis on Earth-X Review
Sara Lance (when asked by her father’s evil doppelganger why she insists on being with the “unpure”): Because I like men. And I like women.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
The Arrowverse has had many crossovers throughout its runtime and will no doubt continue to have many more. The year before had a big crossover with Invasion where the Flash gathered all the heroes from Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl to fight an alien invasion. However, the problem with Invasion laid in the fact that, while good, its premise was somewhat basic and there weren’t that many everlasting impacts in any of the shows’ long run. Crisis On Earth X does the same thing in gathering all the superheroes from every show but manages to be better than Invasion while adding a great deal of humor, sadness, and awesome action in the process.
The story is that Barry Allen/Flash (Grant Gustin) is about to marry his fiancé Iris West (Candice Patton), so he decides to invite all the main characters from Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends Tomorrow (in addition to those from the Flash TV series) to attend. However, things go awry when the wedding is crashed by Nazis from Earth-X (an Earth where Nazis won World War 2) led by a nefarious doppelganger of Supergirl/Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) known as Overgirl, her husband doppelganger of Green Arrow/Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) known as Black Arrow, and the Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) in search of Supergirl’s heart to keep Overgirl from dying. Thus, all the superheroes must band together to take them on.
The story delivers well on all fronts while also addressing some of the problems that the characters are going through while ensuring they do not distract from the main plot. Examples of this include the fact that Both Kara and her sister Alex’s mourning of the end of their respective relationships, the prospect of Oliver marrying his girlfriend Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh) separating the Firestorm Matrix from his other half Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and being powerless in addition to never getting the chance to see his friend again. They hit the right amount of focus (not being too much but not merely being dismissed)
It is also fun to see characters who haven’t interacted with one another before do so now including Alex meeting Sara/White Canary (Caity Lotz) leading to a hilarious hook-up between the two.
The wedding (before it gets interrupted) is also very romantic and heartwarming including Kara’s singing of a shortened version of the song Barry sung when proposing to Iris called Running Home to You as Iris walks down the aisle. Melissa’s singing voice is beautiful and always great to listen to. In addition you have Iris’ father-in-law Joe giving a heartfelt speech about Barry and Iris’ love and him telling Barry how he wishes his parents could be with them.
The action is incredible. The fight in the church and the final battle are easily the best as you see all the characters go all out both those with and without superpowers. And seeing all the different ways the heroes fight is engaging every step of the way including Barry’s speed, Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost’s (Danielle Panabaker) ice powers, Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) breaching, Jefferson’s Firestorm, and others.
The humor is well delivered including one-liners by Mick Rory/Heat Wave (Dominic Purell) and Barry’s impression of the Earth One Snart.
We also get the return of Wentworth Miller as Leo Snart of Earth-X alongside his husband Ray Terril (Russell Tovey). While his character is nothing like the Snart we have grown to like over the course of the Flash and Legends of Tomorrow Miller’s performance is top-notch and the chemistry with Ray is nothing short of genuine.
The crossover also contains a brilliantly acted devastating scene in the last part with Drameh and Garber where Stein is shot by Nazis and ultimately forces Jefferson to give him the serum to separate the Firestorm matrix to prevent Jefferson from dying along with him despite the former’s protests. It hits even harder when it is considered that all Stein wanted to do was return home to his wife, daughter, and newborn grandson.
The crossover is not without its problems however. For starters despite Tom Cavanagh’s great performance, Reverse Flash who is one of the best Arrowverse villains is simply working as a lackey for Black Arrow and Overgirl.
We also get an appearance of General Schott (Jeremy Jordan) who is Winn’s doppelganger from Earth-X. And while Jordan’s performance as the stubborn leader of the Freedom Fighters is great there is little to his character outside of his stubbornness.
Crisis on Earth-X is what Invasion should have been. Is it flawless? No. But its scale and its great integration of characters, action, humor, and emotion set a precedent for Arrowverse crossovers that make it difficult for it to top.