Crisis on Earth-X Review

Crisis on Earth X

The big Arrowverse crossover event from this season, “Crisis on Earth-X” lived up to all the potential by delivering a fantastic four hour-ish story full of (really well choreographed and filmed) action, romance, drama and great dialogue between four casts of characters that we’ve all come to care about and their “evil doppelgangers”. It was thrilling and surprisingly emotional ride, so let’s get into it!

Synopsis:

It’s the big day as Barry Allen and Iris West are getting married, and all their friends across Earth, the timestream and alternate Earths are all gathering together in order to celebrate. Sadly for everyone involved and large group of Nazis from an alternate Earth known as Earth-X, where the Nazis won the war, arrive and attempt to take their lives…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

Crisis on Earth X 1

Yet there are still several cast members missing from this photo…

Oliver Queen / Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) – Oliver is in a good place in his life, his son is starting to come around to him, his sister woke from her coma, and the love of his life is once again… the love of his life. What could go wrong?

Barry Allen / The Flash (Grant Gustin) – Barry is finally about to marry his life-long love Iris, their wedding has been planned for months, if not years, and everything has been prepared for! … Well, maybe not everything…

Kara Danvers / Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) – Kara is still reeling from her love returning from the distant future with a wife in tow, so where better to go than your other-universe friend’s wedding!

Sara Lance / White Canary (Caity Lotz) – Sara and her crew on board the Waverider are looking forward to the big wedding, well those that are going. It will be a welcome change from all those old-fashioned bad guys they’ve been defeating recently…

Jefferson Jackson / Firestorm (Franz Drameh) – With his other-self, Martin Stein, about to leave the Legends once they work out how to separate their Firestorm connection, Jefferson wonders about his future, and whether he can go on without his father figure…

Martin Stein (Victor Garber) – Martin is excited about return home to his wife, daughter and newly born grandson, so the quicker they can split the Firestorm matrix the better. You could almost say he’s one day away from retirement…

Iris West (Candice Patton) – Iris has been planning this wedding forever, she’s finally going to marry Barry Allen. No need to prepare for the worst, what else could happen after all they’ve been through?

Felicity Smoak / Overwatch (Emily Rickards) – Felicity is in a relationship with Oliver again, and is getting on well with his son, so why does she not want to marry him? Is it because the last time resulted in her spine being severed? Maybe, I mean as far as reasons go…

Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) – Alex is still getting over the end of her relationship with Maggie, and the last place she wants to go to is some wedding between two people on an alternate Earth she’s never even been to… Oh well!

Overgirl (Melissa Benoist) – The Kara Danvers of Earth-X, she is the powerful icon of the global Nazi regime. Sadly for her, her heart is giving out, leading to her needing a matching donor…

Dark Arrow (Stephen Amell) – The Earth-X Oliver Queen, and the new Fuehrer of the Nazi order. He is often torn between his duties and his love for Overgirl…

Eobard Thawne / Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh) – The Thawne from Earth-1, back when he had Harrison Wells’ face… somehow. He has joined up with the top brass on the Earth-X Nazi regime in order to extract his eventual revenge on Barry Allen (of Earth-1).

Metallo (Frederick Schmidt) – Kryptonite firing android from Earth-X. Hey, you never know when you might need one!

Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) – Cisco is looking forward to the wedding of two of his closest friends, and he’s sure he won’t need to use his powers or anything… Still, better keep those glasses just in case…

Caitlin Snow / Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) – Caitlin is happy to see two of her friends get married, not to mention to see her old mentor Martin Stein. She hasn’t even become Killer Frost in a while! It’s all going so well…

Mick Rory / Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) – Rory isn’t the sentimental type, but the wedding of Barry Allen and Iris West is serving food and alcohol, plus he did know them… back when he was trying to kill them… it’s all good!

Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) – Ray has no real connection to Barry and Iris, so he’s one of the Legends who agreed to stay on the ship in case of emergency…

Nate Heywood / Steel (Nick Zano) – Nate likewise has no connection to the happy couple, so is staying on board the Waverider until needed…

Curtis Holt / Mister Terrific (Echo Kellum) – Curtis is unable to attend Barry and Iris’ wedding, but again he isn’t really that close with them. Still, he’s just a video call and a short train ride away…

Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) – The Harrison Wells of Earth-2, now living on Earth-1. He’s known this Earth’s Barry and Iris for a good while now, and is happy to attend his wedding…

Leo Snart / Citizen Cold (Wentworth Miller) – The Snart of Earth-X, Leo is openly gay, happily in a relationship with a fellow resistance fighter, and coincidentally has chosen a cold blasting gun as his weapon of choice…

Ray Terrill / The Ray (Russell Tovey) – Openly gay hero from Earth-1 who ended up on Earth-X… somehow. He’s now in a close relationship with Leo Snart of Earth-X, to the point where returning home to Earth-1 is no longer a priority, despite the Nazi hell he is now living in…

and many, many more!

The Good:

Crisis on Earth X 3

“Ugh, alternate-universe Nazis… I knew this would happen.”

Where to start! They literally got it all right, especially for long-time fans of this universe. Of the main threadlines running through the story, Barry and Iris wanting to get married and Oliver and Felicity eventually going back and forth on their own marriage was good, and gave everyone an excuse to collect together. Plus the final scene being a double wedding between the two long-time Arrowverse couples was a nice finishing touch to this epic.

The other major plotline would be Jefferson and Stein breaking up as Firestorm, eventually admitting they see each other as a father-son pairing, then Stein being killed in the middle of a battle. His goodbye scene with Jefferson was a sad watch, but I’ll admit I came surprisingly close to tearing up when Stein’s wife broke down as Jackson couldn’t even get out the words to tell her what happened. The same goes for the funeral scene. It was properly heart-wrenching stuff.

As for Earth-X itself, they were fine. It’s a pretty standard multiverse troupe, and while I didn’t feel the evil Kara or Oliver were great in the roles (see below) the large Nazi army were a good foil. Evil versions of Tommy Merlyn and Quentin Lance were far more convincing, short-lived though they were.

A big round of applause has to go to whoever choreographed and directed the mass fight scenes, particularly the final one in Episode 4. So many sweeping shots of people fighting, shooting, flying, fighting at super-speed and two time ships shooting at each other, all in well timed motion and simultaneously. It was properly thrilling to watch, and done so well… The DC films need to take serious note here… hell, some of the Marvel films need to take note!

The non-lead characters nearly all got time to shine. I have to say that Ray Palmer suddenly appearing just before Kara was about to be cut open by holding back the knife as his shrunken self was a great scene and took me by surprise. Cold and calculating resistance general Earth-X version of geeky Winn was also a fun surprise, as were The Ray and the Earth-X Snart, who made a convincing couple.

Just before the final scene, where the whole cast are gathered on the stairs of the Waverider’s main room, and they all agree to do it for Stein was a proper air fisting “cool” moment as well. I can’t stress how well they juggled such a large cast and filmed them all so well…

The Bad:

Crisis on Earth X 2

Oh look, it’s the evil doo-ers!

As I mentioned, sadly the bad were the bad, as in the lead trio of Earth-X villains. I guess Stephen Amell and Melissa Benoist just can’t do good evil, because I never brought their evil speeches or mannerisms at all. I guess that might be because I’m too used to seeing them as good, but it hasn’t hurt alternate and evil versions of other characters that have shown up across the series, or show up in this story!

As for Mr. Thawne reappearing again, somehow once again with Harrison Wells face… What the hell? He’s been erased from time completely, we saw the final erasure on Legends last season! The only excuse they give is “Time travel, eh?”, and while “time remnants” have been a thing on The Flash, this doesn’t … work. Given an Earth-X version of Barry never appears (I guess we already did evil Barry last year!) you could have just said that on Earth-X Thawne went back in time, took over Wells identity and then succeeded in killing Barry and prevented him from stopping the Nazis and himself, keeping Earth-X on its depressing course, and being rewarded with a place alongside the two heads. That would have been far easier than making it the Earth-1 Thawne with Wells face for no reason…

Although it had some funny bits, the idea of “oh, hey, we have a lesbian character on Supergirl, and a bisexual character on Legends, so let’s have them get together” was kind of… too obvious? I guess this should be more for a hypothetical “middle” category, because I didn’t hate it, and it gave Alex Danvers a way to move forward, but… I don’t know. Didn’t really land with me.

Overall Thoughts:

Crisis on Earth X 4

*sniff-sniff* … I’ve… just got something in my eye, that’s all…

As you can tell I was blown away by this. It was so well shot and written, with some great action set pieces and some proper gut-punching drama as well. Across Supergirl, Arrow, Flash and Legends of Tomorrow (in that order!) they managed to feature pretty much everyone from each show and created some proper big developments for at least three of them (Supergirl is pretty much the same, but still!) That’s an impressive feat for what so easily could have been a complete mess. If you’re even just a casual watcher of this “verse”, then you owe it to yourself to track it down, it may be the best example of a superhero team up story I’ve seen.

5 Star Watch

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