Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, December 01, 2017

The CW's Crisis on Earth X crossover delivers blockbuster thrills on a super small screen scale

While I grew up enjoying both DC and Marvel, most of my favorite shows as a kid were from DC. Wonder Woman,Super Friends, even the corny capers of Adam West's Batman made up a good portion of my imaginative identity.

This week, some of that childhood joy was recaptured as well as brought up to the next level with the CW's four part superhero series event, Crisis On Earth X, which combined Arrow,The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow into one major story line.

This is the second time that the network has done this and although that first outing was fun, this one definitely topped it. The focal point of this elaborate plot was the wedding of Barry Allen/The Flash to his longtime love Iris West. As expected, the guest list was quite varied, with plenty of super and non powered folk alike bringing their best wishes and a little emotional baggage to the ceremony.

Of course, the real chaos began at the wedding itself, which was enhanced by special guest Kara/Supergirl singing the very song that Barry proposed to Iris with(since both Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist are Glee alums, any time they're together is a great excuse for them to show off their pipes).

 A nice meta touch was having The Greatest American Hero star William Katt as the officiating priest but alas, his screen time was brief indeed due to the arrival of Nazis from Earth X:

Yes, I said Nazis and no, they are not thinly veiled versions either. In the mythos of DC, there are multiple Earths with different time lines in history and Earth X happens to be the one where WWII ended badly for the good guys.

Here, the invading force is lead by evil versions of Supergirl and Arrow(aka Overgirl and Dark Arrow), who are assisted by Barry's seemingly neverending nemesis,Reverse Flash. Their motives are about more than just invasion as one of the wedding guests is a target meant for a truly sinister purpose.

Before the reasons behind this attack of the worst wedding crashers ever are looked into, we get the first of several amazing battles between our heroes and their Nazi foes.

The fight scenes here are of the quality of a major motion picture, with excellent f/x and quick chemistry between good guys, some of whom barely know each other. Not to mention it was exhilarating to watch; given the current political atmosphere these days, this is a moment where seeing superheroes punch Nazis is truly perfect timing:

As someone who watches three out of the four shows on display here(even when I caught up with S1 of Arrow, I was still too far behind), I do have more of an advantage than a casual viewer in appreciating many of the subplots that blended themselves into this epic presentation.

Yet, I do feel that any fan of DC Comics in general or someone just tuning in would be able to catch to such things as Alex Danvers finding a way to get over her recent heartbreak, Felicity Smoak dealing with her cold feet issues regarding marriage and the complex relationship between the men who make up Firestorm. Exposition helped but also,the acting by all involved allowed those diverse emotions to add to the overall emergency facing everyone.

Meanwhile, regular viewers were treated to such delights as well placed pop culture references(one of my favorites was a Superman II quote), the introduction of a new hero,The Ray, who I hope to see more of and a new version of Captain Cold that uses his bad boy antics for the good as a resistance fighter on Earth X:

One of the things that really amazed me upon watching Crisis on Earth X is just how much more creative freedom the TV editions of these DC Comic characters have than their big screen counterparts seem to do.

While I haven't seen the Justice League movie(whose highest praise from most people seems to be "Well, it's better than that Batman vs. Superman,that's for sure!"),I honestly don't feel the need to,especially after this small screen event. Yes, I do adore the Wonder Woman film that came out earlier this year but from what I have seen of DC based movies lately, the CW is way more open to giving us great live action versions that live up to the promise of their print origins.

For one, we get more diverse representation not only with race and religion but also gay and bisexual characters who are not shoved into simple stereotypes and tropes. Also, there are plenty of strong women on hand, some of whom who use only the power of their intelligence and tech skills to help save the day.

 With the whole subject of Nazis in this story line, a proper line was drawn for dramatic purposes that didn't exploit the serious nature of the history here and also gave heroic moments to two Jewish characters, one of which made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world as well as a friend. Hollywood movies have touched upon these elements,of course, but not within this genre and it's important to do so,as this particular pop culture arena reaches a broader spectrum of the worldwide audience.

In an ironic way, the CW superhero shows are more capable of doing what the Marvel Cinematic Universe does best than any DC Comics film: create well developed characters and story arcs that further enhance their big tent pole movies. With each of these shows about to have their mid season break, it might be wise for the major studio folks to do a little binge watching over the holidays.

Crisis on Earth X was one of the best pieces of entertainment that I've seen this year and as I saw on Twitter those two nights, a strong majority of the fans agree. I really do hope that a couple of those bigwigs planning the next major DC movie takes a few notes as this crossover proves that DC epic events can be done right:

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