Title: Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow: “Crisis on Infinite Earths Parts 4+5” Review
Release Date: January 14th, 2020
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
(This review will contain spoilers for the Crisis on Infinite Earths Arrowverse crossover and strangely, Avengers: Endgame)
Crisis on Infinite Earths has been a fun ride full of awesome fan service and memorable cameos. However, a lot was riding on the latter half of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Unfortunately, I don’t think it entirely stuck the landing.
The first half of both episodes started strong. For Arrow’s episode, we focused on our Paragons and how they’ve been dealing with the loss of the entire multiverse. Even if it was brief, this made Crisis feel even more important. Another thing that really stood out as a positive was Oliver’s interactions with Barry, Kara, and Sara.
One of the justified criticisms of Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 1 was Oliver’s lack of meaningful interaction with all of his friends, especially Barry. This episode sort of rectified that. Each interaction Oliver had with his friends felt significant and built up Oliver’s new Spectre form as a powerful entity. Speaking of Oliver and the Spectre, I thought Stephen Amell handled the new role wonderfully. In every scene, you could still tell Oliver was in there, but his newfound abilities have significantly changed his outlook.
The Kara, Lex, and Ryan Choi scenes were entertaining but ultimately felt pointless. I guess the argument could be made that the purpose of this mini-arc was to develop Ryan as a character and to show how much of an opportunist Lex Luthor is.
The episode was also shot extraordinarily well. There wasn’t anything really special, per se, but it made those scenes in the speed force intense, cinematic, and confusing. And before I go into my problems with Part 4 of the crossover, we have to mention that epic cameo — major props to DC, CW, WB, and everyone who knew about this scene. I have no idea how they kept it under wraps. Ezra Miller hasn’t been shy about wanting to work with Grant Gustin’s Flash and knowing that made this cameo so much better for me. Does this mean anything in the grand scheme of things for the DCEU? No, but it does act as an excellent piece of fan service and a truly jaw-dropping moment. That’s praiseworthy.
Let’s get to the issues I had with Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 4. The episode never really ramped up into full gear, particularly during the big fight at the dawn of time. Unfortunately, the finale suffered from the same problem. But we’ll get there later.
I also couldn’t help but think that the entire premise of the episode vaguely mirrored Avengers: Endgame in the sense of reliving past events and time-travel. Instead of collecting Infinity Stones, Barry had to gather his friends. This also hurt the big fight with Oliver and the Anti-Monitor for me. Oliver’s sacrifice and using a variation of his signature line with, “You have failed this universe!” was earned. Still, you combine that similar Avengers: Endgame premise and the Tony Stark-esque sacrifice to get something that just felt… off. Not terrible. The line didn’t land the way I think it was intended to.
As for Oliver’s second death, this one was handled so much better. It sucks to make this comparison again, but he is the Tony Stark of this universe. So, it was refreshing to see Oliver be the one to save the day and shape the new multiverse. His final words to Barry and Sara seemed to be a sincere passing of the torch moment. Even though his previous death should have diminished this ending even farther, it may have enhanced it. This entire scene was a more natural and emotional end for Oliver’s character arc.
Part 4 of Crisis on Infinite Earths was an enjoyable episode. However, it just didn’t have that extra kick other penultimate Arrowverse crossover episodes have had in the past. Moving on to the finale of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
As I mentioned at the start of the review, the first half of Part 5 was fantastic. Where Part 4 started with our heroes in turmoil with no hope, the conclusion to Crisis on Infinite Earths began with a more upbeat tone. The world Oliver Queen created and sacrificed himself for is different, but it is one that many Arrowverse fans are going to enjoy. Supergirl and her cast are finally on Earth-1 for good (which is now called Earth-Prime). The same goes for Black Lightning, who had one hell of an intro and possibly stole the episode in regards to one-liners. Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Beebo made an appearance in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Ah, Legends of Tomorrow. Never change.
However, the MVPs of this episode have to be Grant Gustin, Caity Lotz, and David Ramsey. I did not expect that scene where Diggle is lamenting that he wasn’t there for Oliver to hit me in the feels as much as it did. It’s hard not to tear up thinking about that scene now. I’m not sure what the future holds for Ramsey and the Diggle character in the Arrowverse but, I hope he sticks around somehow.
Building off of that, it was a brilliant decision to focus on Barry and Sara while everyone else is celebrating Oliver and the world he saved. We’ve seen these two characters grow and learn things from Oliver Queen for years. Every conversation they shared about Oliver or how it’ll affect them now that he’s gone felt like a payoff for people who invested so much time in these characters. It showed that these relationships were meaningful.
My problem with the finale is simple. It was anti-climatic. There wasn’t some grand fight scene or even an overstuffed team-up. The Anti-Monitor showed up and got beat by our main characters in about ten minutes or less. I think the episode would have been much better if the Anti-Monitor wasn’t the main villain. Let Oliver’s big moment in Part 4 stand and use this episode as a full-on epilogue, of sorts.
Anyway, Crisis on Infinite Earths ends with a few teases of what’s to come and one final payoff. Baby Sara is back after being erased during Flashpoint, Superman now has two sons instead of one, and an Arrowverse version of the Justice League has been formed at that old hangar base last seen during the Invasion! crossover.
Verdict: Crisis on Infinite Earths is divisive, and at the end of the day, it is a mixed bag. The crossover didn’t nail everything it set out to accomplish, but it managed to set up the Arrowverse for a very bright future. So many fresh storylines and possibilities are now on the table. If the CW can manage to use this as a soft reboot for the Arrowverse, they may be able to keep this whole connected universe going for a while longer.
- That Flash cameo
- Seriously, that Flash cameo was so cool and unexpected. It gets two spots in the "Pro" column
- David Ramsey, Caity Lotz, Grant Gustin, and Stephen Amell's performances
- The first half of both episodes were excellent
- Getting a glimpse at the Monitor's backstory
- Oliver as the Spectre and his second death scene
- Focusing on Barry and Sara in the finale
- The new Arrowverse and the teases of what's to come
- Somehow, this 5-hour crossover felt rushed and anti-climatic in places
- Part 4 never fully kicked into gear as an epic battle
- The final fight in the finale was rushed and lacked star-power
- While the Justice League table reveal was really cool, it was also incredibly awkward
- How does Arrow still have 2 episodes left?