“Invasion”: Four Night Crossover Event: Featuring Supergirl, Flash, Arrow & Legends of Tomorrow: A Review

Posted: 12/06/2016 in Uncategorized

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Starting On CW’s Supergirl and culminating of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg demonstrated the breadth and scope of what can be done on the small screen. Assuredly this was both a commercial and critical success. Most importantly, the end product was genuinely good and demonstrated a superior presentation of the heroes in a nascent Justice League…let’s call it what it is…than any big screen item offered by DC thus far. CW’s crossover event both promised and delivered. This was truly great. My opening salvo given, on to my review.

Though it has drastically improved, as a rule I don’t review Supergirl but I kind of need to as it parlays into the Invasion arc as a launching point. SG’s “Medusa” was actually pretty good in that a lot of plot lines got tied up, including the Cadmus anti alien movement. As usual, David Harewood’s J’onn Jonzz/Hank Henshaw is solid, including the performance involved of an individual suffering through literally becoming what he absolutely hates. It was a bit of a cheat to resolve this sub plot so cleanly but this show appears to have a lot going on this season so they cannot be faulted really for clearing the field. The ep set during Thanksgiving begins with a disruption to several character announcements via a dimensional breach appearing in Kara’s/Supergirl’s (Melissa Benoist) dining room. We know almost assuredly what the source of the breach will be. An end sequence brings Supergirl into the Flash universe and we are off.

The Flash’s “Invasion” (actually all remaining shows in the loop shared the same title) pulled events together seamlessly. The anger felt by Cisco (Carlos Valdes) pours out in the three installments with his telling Felicity that he knows “it’s illegal to not like Barry” before explaining how his anger is just citing the loss of his brother due to the Flash’s timeline tampering. The notion of consequences of such becomes focus of all three series. The revelation of what draws the Alien threat; “the Dominators” to earth is placed squarely on the Flash’s shoulders at one point. The reality of it is far more circuitous, involved and interesting. The CGI creations, the Dominators, were top tier and as always with CW, big screen level. The tying in of these figures to the fifties era in Roswellian conspiracy fashion was superb.

There was time allotted for Wally West’s (Kienan Lonsdale) pushing for his inclusion citing his “readiness” for battle and wanting to contribute. Iris (Candice Patton) is overprotective and pushes her agenda to the remainder of the team. Wally reaches out to H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) to train him. Wells refuses knowing that the remainder of the team is against it. Wally gains an mvp moment followed by a demonstration that he is indeed not ready.

Barry’s telling Iris he won’t fight this new enemy alone informs the massive four series team up as he reaches out to Supergirl before moving on to Green Arrow/Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), his crew who in turn reaches out to the Legends. Honestly each series came together so smoothly as one cohesive whole that this could have been released as a movie. CW in one fell swoop has trumped DC’s big screen forays with a flourish. The action sequences were superb, rivaling some of Marvel’s big screen fare. The sequence in which the Flash and Supergirl gleefully take down an enhanced villain using cybernetics was superb. The way the group worked in tandem soundly delivered even with the Dominators’ initial mind controlling onslaught. Barry Allen’s intelligence is ably illustrated as he uses the most invincible member of their nascent team to eliminate the Dominator tech that compromises is presently compromising them. Supergirl actually gets a real run with this series. On her own show, one doesn’t get the impression she is all that powerful due to a combination of plot devices, clichés and the notion that she is new at this game. With the “Invasion” event, we see her for what she is…a genuine super power. Oliver’s charging her with ‘not taking it easy” on his group while they train to take on the alien threat was superb.

Even his mistrust of her played well. He pushed his notion of maintaining normalcy to combat his own sense of powerlessness versus xenophobically trying to eliminate her…yes, I am talking to you writers of B vs S. Oliver’s pushing Barry to lead was an excellent touch…  Equally good was the natural reversion of leadership reverting inevitably to Oliver as ultimately he is a general having handled more threats than the majority of the assembled team; with the exception of Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) of the JSA. The tech support players angle played exceedingly well in the LOT run as Cisco and Felicity save the day when Steel (Nick Zano), Vixen and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) get captured by an unexpected enemy which ties into modern day events via unseen enemy “Mr. Smith” (Donnelly Rhodes). Cisco’s hard tact towards Barry is revisited via his own part in the current debacle.

The notion of time tampering is most strongly pushed via Martin Stein’s (Victor Garber) actually creating an aberration through his daughter Lily (Christina Brucato). The notion that anyone can make a wrong decision and the impacts that result is at the heart of this mini movie event.  The notion that even an error can be beneficial is presented via Lily’s helping create a proper weapon for the team to engage the Dominators.

What set this apart from other crossover events is the scope and breadth of it allowed for everybody to some reasonable screen time. The moments in which the group assembles for battle with flyers in the air and ground team at the ready were “off the pages” excellence. The Arrow hundredth episode was easily the most powerful and gravitas laden of the four runs. In a sequence recalling Alan Moore’s Superman tale “For the Man Who Has Everything”, Oliver and his team are ‘given’ the lives they could have led  by the Dominators . The Legends and Arrow Team mates interact in this ‘dream’ reality as their lives were previously inexorably connected. Seeing what road Oliver Queen might have traveled allowed for some incredible returning characters, namely his mother Moira (Susanna Thompson), his father Robert (Jamey Sheridan) and of course, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). The performances were top tier including Willa Holland’s Speedy who makes a heartfelt decision regarding going back to rejoin the real world and her friends. This entire episode allowed for the returns of A list Arrow villains  as well and some epic battle sequences.

The natural chemistry exhibited by a variety of players further strengthened the plot and pushed the notion that a team based ensemble could definitely work in the tv-verse. The group is not out-rightly called the Justice Society at any point, though they very well should have been. I understand the rights of such franchise names as Justice League being verboten, but the inclusion of a Hall of Justice would have easily allowed such an easy naming convention to occur.

There was more good accomplished on this crossover event than can be summed up easily in one review. Even the final bar scene between the two who started it all was absolutely perfect. CW/DC  show runners seem to have the superhero genre down to a science. The all- point delivery assures that should another event occur in the future, the results would be equally good.  “Invasion” kills on all fronts, proving that Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and for now, Supergirl as well, are all simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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