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.
With the Elseworlds crossover almost upon us, I felt that it was high time to go look back upon last year’s crossover, Crisis On Earth X. Coming out at the same time as the passable but disappointing DCEU Justice League this crossover’s large scale of heroes, emotion, and action was far better. However, it should have been a full-length movie as there are certain times where the budget couldn’t fully render some of the effects and some of the heroes are written out (albeit in a legitimate way) until the last part.
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 Of 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 Dark 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 best way to look at this is to look at each part of the crossover.
Part 1 is a Supergirl episode however it doesn’t focus on solely Supergirl. It brilliantly frames the heroes for the crossover and truly shows just how far they’ve come in their relationships not only being as teams but also friends. This makes something so mundane as having the girls getting their nails done before the wedding and the hijinks at the rehearsal dinner fun to watch. It also takes the perfect time to show what not only Kara and her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) are going through but also the other heroes including Jax (Franz Drameh) and Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) in addition to Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). The scenes between Alex Danvers and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) particularly supply a great deal of comedy. But it doesn’t shy away from the action either. The action scene in the church is incredibly well detailed particularly by Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) and Supergirl’s thunderclap and the one-liners during it all are hilarious. However, while we do get our first real look at them towards the end we don’t see much of the villains in this part.
Part 2 (an Arrow episode) while not bad is the least memorable part of the crossover. It gave a good introduction to our villains. We learn more about who they are and why they came to Earth 1. It turns out Overgirl is dying and she needs Kara’s heart in order to heal her. This idea really ties in perfectly with the Nazi ideology in this that emotion is a weakness as stated by the Earth-X Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). Stephen Amell and Melissa Benoist hilariously ham it up as evil counterparts to our heroes. We also get the return of Tom Cavanagh as Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash with no explanation to how he’s alive and wound up on Earth-X after having died twice (although his line about time travel being so confusing is very funny in a meta sense). Cavanagh’s performance, however, is still every bit as top-notch and chilling as it has been in the Flash. But not much is going on throughout the whole thing. All that happens is that eventually, Dark Arrow overpowers the heroes and some are placed in the pipeline at Star Labs while Kara is captured and prepped for surgery, while the other set of heroes are placed in a concentration camp. Iris and Felicity evade capture but are left to fend for themselves throughout the lab.
Part 3 continues as a Flash episode. There comes a time where eventually it seems hopeless for all heroes as they are captured and vulnerable. And the scenes with the heroes in the concentration camp looking at all the prisoners and them being powerless truly strike a chord. As they are about to be executed even if you know things are going to be okay you can’t help but feel that this is the end for them. Iris and Felicity, in particular, were nice to watch in this episode seeing them fend off the Nazis on wit alone. Seeing Overgirl talk to and Eobard perform surgery on a helpless Kara is particularly disturbing. We also meet a new superhero named Ray Terrill (Russell Tovey) who seems very interesting along with the other freedom fighters but isn’t given as much background as there should be. Wentworth Miller and Jeremy Jordan play the Earth X doppelgangers of Leonard Snart and Winn Schott respectively. They are characters we know and love and both of them do fantastic jobs of taking the same faces but making us believe they are completely different and likable people. The emotional moments between Jax and Stein were well done with Jax finally admitting that he sees Stein as a father and ultimately hits hard when Nazis shoot him towards the end.
Part 4 concludes the crossover as a Legends episode and it truly is the peak of the whole thing and feels like a Legends episode. We get some amazing moments with all the Legends who were left out of the previous parts involving them saving the heroes. Seeing all the heroes reunite with one another is heartwarming in itself. We finally see the Earth X Snart come face to face with Mick Rory (Dominic Purrell) and their chemistry is still top notch coming from them acting together for years. The preparation and final battle against the Earth X forces was incredible in seeing every superhero utilize their powers and skills in various ways. And then there’s that one scene.
This scene is truly devastating. And it’s an effect felt all across the team. Even with Franz Drameh’s awkward crying, the final moments between Jax and Stein are hard not to get choked up over. Even worse when you consider that all Stein wanted to do was return home. Even after Stein dies it doesn’t stop the emotion there. From the Legends’ devastation to Jax breaking the news to Stein’s wife and daughter, all the way up to the funeral.
This crossover was a major league for a television budget and they spared no expense in ensuring that it was entertaining and made it feel like a genuine movie. With Elseworlds upcoming and the Legends sadly being excluded from it I can only hope that it manages to top this one.