Well, after months of anticipation, weeks of promos and a four-episode event, The CW's Arrow-verse crossover has come and gone. The #TV event saw shows #Arrow, #TheFlash, #LegendsOfTomorrow and #Supergirl collide as the #superheroes teamed up to take on the alien threat of the Dominators.
And if you watched the crossover together — I did, it was awesome — then you'll probably have realized that the TV event felt rather like a movie. Which is interesting because #DC's film universe — the #DCEU — hasn't been anywhere near as well received as the CW's crossover. And what's so intriguing about this is that much of the DCEU's most controversial installment #BatmanvSuperman focused on some of the same aspects as the crossover. So, due to the similarities, lets take this opportunity to examine how the CW shows got it right with the crossover and contrast that with the negative reactions to the DCEU.
Getting The Mix Right
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice was undoubtedly one of the most divisive films of the year. The official opener of the DCEU was based upon Batman and Superman's collision. However, this ended abruptly midway through the film, and the final act became a CGI heavy battle with the alien Doomsday. The dramatic storyline between the two heroes was abandoned for an action-packed explosive superhero team-up against an alien. Moreover, it also threw in Lex Luthor's ulterior motives and the possibility of the Justice League's formation. It ended up doing too much that it seemed like the film had no idea what it was trying to be. And that same issue plagued #SuicideSquad.
On the other hand, the CW's Arrow-verse crossover knew exactly what it wanted to be. From the arrival of the aliens at the beginning of the Flash episode to their retreat in the Legends Of Tomorrow conclusion, the alien invasion was a present threat that ran throughout. While it did indeed make time for the other storylines going on at the moment including the fallout of Flashpoint, Barry's message from the future and Professor Stein's daughter, it never overcrowded the episodes and managed to give enough screentime to each story, while focusing primarily on the story. The transitions were seamless.
While Batman V Superman ended up finishing story after story before moving onto a new one, the CW's superhero crossover was able to jump between important storylines before returning to the main one — the invasion.
While Batman V Superman was busy trying to set up future films and the Justice League, the Arrow-verse crossover gave us a much more faithful and subtle Justice League without even trying.
If you're a fan of the Arrow-verse, check these out:
- Arrow-verse Crossover: Could Supergirl Be Joining Legends Of Tomorrow?
- She's Back: How The Shocking Mid-Season Finale Of Arrow Proves That Laurel Lance Is Alive
- Dammit Barry! Flashpoint Caused The Arrow-verse Invasion Crossover & There Are More Repercussions To Come
The Alien Invasion Was Fun
The Arrow-verse's crossover was one of the most fun TV experiences I have had this year. Not only did it bring the Justice League of TV together, it made the whole thing seem like one big fun adventure. While the DCEU rightfully took the idea of an alien invasion seriously — Doomsday was a major threat — the grim tone of the film ended up hurting it. While there is always something amazing about seeing superheroes team up to take down aliens, these heroes were already in such a dark place that there was no hope or inspiration here. The sheer heaviness of Batman V Superman dragged the film down.
In contrast to this, when aliens finally made their debut in Greg Berlanti's Arrow-verse, there was an exciting "let's go save the world" vibe between all of them. Yes, Barry's time-traveling shenanigans certainly impacted the event, but the team rallied together and took down the Dominators, never forgetting that they were superheroes. And thanks to characters like Supergirl, Felicity and Cisco resonated with us during this because their excitement was reminiscent of ours. I am all for gritty and powerful storytelling, but the CW's crossover saw the awesomeness in a superhero team-up and played on that beautifully. While the crossover also dealt with a really serious matter, the shows never took themselves too seriously.
The contrasting tones really set the DCEU apart from the CW, but it seems that the lighter Arrow-verse continues to best to best the films.
Should The DCEU Take Notes From The CW?
Despite having some critics, the CW's TV series's are miles ahead of the DCEU when it comes enjoyment, storylines and most of all, critical reception. Despite most of their shows taking a significantly lighter tone than the always grim DCEU, the two managed to mirror each other when they brought heroes together to fight aliens.
However, the CW's "Invasion!" crossover special not only received great reviews, it brought in amazing ratings for the network while Batman V Superman was received negatively by critics. Despite both versions overflowing with side storylines, the Arrow-verse shows managed to tie them together nicely and focus on making the epic crossover fun, while Batman V Superman sometimes lost it in it's complex plot and grim tone.
Don't get me wrong, I am a major fan of Batman V Superman and can't wait to see the upcoming DCEU films, but if "Invasion!" taught us anything, it's that the CW's superhero shows provided us with a much more enjoyable event.
Did you enjoy the CW's Crossover more than the DCEU films? Let us know in the comments!