The first part of the annual CW DC heroes crossover, Crisis on Earth X, is awesome. It is an unreservedly enthusiastic romp. It is by no means perfect, but it’s so much fun the occasional problem or shortcut doesn’t matter.
Okay, Quick Recap
Supergirl: Barry and Iris are getting married and everyone’s invited. Everyone shows up, there are a bunch of funny and/or sweet moments, and then we get to the wedding. Just as the preacher’s about to start, Nazis burst in and one of the best and most delightful fight scenes on TV in 2017 begins. Nazis get punched left, right and center, and finally chased off with their tails between their legs. The good guys return to Star Labs, where plot is doled out.
Arrow: Relationship stuff! Also, so many awesome fights! And then the good guys are caught by the Nazis, oh no! Evil Nazi Supergirl is dying and they need Proper Supergirl’s heart to save her for reasons! All is lost, our heroes are in an alternate Earth concentration camp and things look hella bad.
- Every hero, even the ones that weren’t sticking around for the whole shebang, got a moment to shine. In fact, it looked like extra effort was taken to make the cameos awesome. For example: Earth X Guardian’s death scene and Wally’s bit at the wedding fight, etc.
- There was a lot of relationship stuff, and not only was it all mostly handled pretty well, it all advanced plots that are ongoing during the regular course of each series. Jax and Stein raised some issues that’ll need resolved for their split, Oliver and Felicity raises some issues they need to work on, etc.
- Sarah hooked up with Alex and it was hilarious, and not only that, served to spur character growth for Alex and made sense for their character arcs.
- Fan service and Easter eggs everywhere, and much of the fan service also serviced the plot and character growth, which is not easy to do.
- The fights. Migawd, you guys, how are fight scenes that awesome happening on my TV?
- There was also plenty of funny, from Wells and Cisco, Mick… even Ollie got a couple good lines in (“Superspeed. I don’t have it.” and “In case an evil you ever showed up!”)
- Okay, okay, some of the CGI, particularly where Green Arrow was involved, was a bit dodgy. I suspect it’s because they do CGI for the Legends, Flash and Supergirl all the time, so they already have a lot of that work done and polished, whereas they don’t have Green Arrow doing ridiculous stuff that often so they had to do all that on the fly.
- Oliver and Felicity, as always, need to learn to use their words. It’s perfectly acceptable for Felicity to be wary of marriage on account of it being so traumatic before, but she needs to say that to Oliver. “Hey, nothing personal, just last time marriage was on the table everything went to hell. Can we take things slow?” And Oliver, understanding the effects of trauma and generally being a supportive boyfriend, says, “Yeah, I get it, but it’s something I want to work towards, so you set the pace and let me know how I can help.” There. Drama-free. Which, I suppose, is not good for TV, but is good for a relationship.
- There were a lot of shortcuts in the episodes that were clearly there because the writers had a lot to do and not a lot of room to do it in, and I’m willing to let it all slide since everything was so much fun, but a few things did stick out. Like, where did Ollie get that magic bow for the wedding scene? Or the kryptonite for the kryptonite arrow? It was mentioned that “there are 52 Karas,” so where’s Barry’s version of Kara? Also, we already know each alternate Earth isn’t a completely perfect clone of the next because the first time Flash crossed over to Supergirl, Barry mentioned there was no Harrison Wells or Cisco on Kara’s Earth. There was a lot of little stuff like that. Nothing deal-breaking.
I’ve read a lot of complaining about the Nazis. A lot of people were disgusted with the blatant Nazi imagery, that Nazi Oliver and Nazi Supergirl were shown to be in a loving relationship, even just that Nazis were used at all. And I get where it’s coming from. People are rightly sensitive about that stuff right now.
I did notice that extra effort was taken to show a special dismay and upset from the Jewish and non-white characters on the shows. It wasn’t an in depth look at anything, but the show did take a moment to point out that Nazis bothered these characters on a deeper level than the rest of the straight white characters. I thought that was a nice nod.
Some people wondered why the show even used actual Nazis when most fiction media will just use Nazi metaphors – Stormtroopers, Hydra, etc. And I have an idea why: DC history.
Ever since Superman punched Hitler, DC heroes have fought cartoonishly big dumb evil Nazis.
The CW wasn’t trying to be deep or astute or write some sort of in-depth socio-political commentary. All it wanted was to show Nazis for what they are – big dumb evil bad guys that everyone hates and only assholes agree with – and to have righteous heroes punch those Nazis as often and as hard as possible, while loudly exclaiming what assholes those Nazis were. It’s what DC heroes do with Nazis.
I have no complaints. None. Zero. It wasn’t perfect and I don’t care because it was so much fun the wonky bits don’t matter. I cannot wait for part two.