The CW’s ‘Elseworlds’ Delivers Excellent Crossover Action, Sets Up Classic DC Story

So…Elseworlds just wrapped up and while doing so, the CW dunked on the entirety of the DCEU in the final few moments of the event. It wasn’t just a regular dunk…it was the kind of dunk where they jumped over Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League then hung from the rim until the glass backboard shattered into a thousand pieces raining down upon Aquaman.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

For the uninitiated, the DC/CW three-night crossover event linked together episodes from The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl for some alternate reality fun that ended up be far more epic than I could have ever expected. It started off simple enough Oliver Queen and Barry Allen discover they had somehow swapped lives overnight with Oliver being The Flash and Barry, Green Arrow.

A sizable portion of the first chapter is played for laughs with Oliver adjusting to having super speed and Barry doing his best gravely Green Arrow voice. Both Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin are clearly having a blast getting to do something a little different from their weekly super hero antics.

From there it’s off to Supergirl’s parallel earth where they confirm her reality hadn’t been altered, formulate a plan, and hang out with her cousin. You know…the Super one. Lois Lane is even there too!

One of the crossover’s (several) greatest moments comes when Cisco comes to collect the wayward heroes, meets Clark Kent and asks him, “who are you?” He simply responds, “A friend.” Then pulls open his shirt to reveal the all too familiar S-shield as a John Williams soundalike fanfare hits.

Elseworlds is a masterclass in fan service that somehow doesn’t feel like it’s pandering which is nothing short of Amazo…I mean, amazing. It also rewards longtime viewers of all the shows by answering a few lingering questions. Primarily, Ra’s al Ghul has popped up, Bruce Wayne has been name checked…what’s going on with Gotham? Where’s Batman?

Well, in our reality, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman are all primarily under the thumb of the DCEU. The long running perception by Hollywood being “Why would anyone go PAY to see a Batman movie when they can see Batman for FREE on their TV?” Superman has only appeared on Supergirl a handful of times (he only appeared via text message and in silhouette for the entirety of the first season).

The Arrow portion of the crossover FINALLY confirms that Gotham exists and so does Batman! But he’s “only an urban legend! Batman ISN’T real!” as Oliver claims. He also lays claim to being the “original” vigilante which hearkens back to Green Arrow’s comic book roots of being a “Batman-with-arrows” knockoff.

ANYWAYS…the whole crew goes to Gotham to look into a doctor that is in possession of a reality altering book given to him by The Monitor. Aforementioned doctor works at Arkham Asylum because of course he does. Prior to that they cross paths with Kate Kane who just so happens to be taking care of the “family business” in more ways then one while her cousin is out of town. We only get a brief introduction to Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman and it’s just enough to kickstart the hype machine for next year’s Batwoman spinoff show.

The trip to Arkham Asylum is one big Batman Easter egg filled with a dozen smaller Easter eggs. A bunch of patient names for Batman’s rogues are seen along with Bane’s mask from The Dark Knight Rises. So are we in the Nolan-verse? Who knows!

At the end of the second chapter we get yet another tantalizing glimpse of John Wesley Shipp’s classic Flash as he appears to deliver a warning in a way that’s quite similar to another DC crossover, the name of which escapes me now. I may be tilting my hand a bit here but I feel like the classic Flash was criminally underused in this crossover, appearing for only a handful of scenes. Personally, I don’t think the CW would foot the bill to recreate the original 1990 costume for a glorified cameo. We haven’t see the last of him.

I’m painting in extremely broad stokes here because each episode was so jammed packed with epic DC fun. During one of the (many) commercials for Aquaman it dawned (of justiced) on me that there hasn’t been a single DC film in recent memory that stirred up the kind of feelings in me like Elseworlds did. The DCEU had tried to pull a reverse-Marvel by doing Justice League first and then spinning off each character into their own films…some of which may or may not happen. The CW has been delivering pulpy superhero fun on a weekly basis since 2012. It’s all been building towards something.

In the closing half of the crossover we get a pretty decent Superman v Superman (Dawn of?) fight, Flash and Supergirl nearly sacrificing themselves to save the world, a super pregnancy announcement, AND a super proposal. I couldn’t breathe.

Then Green Arrow had to go make a deal with The Monitor off camera to get a magic arrow that petty much solved everything. Except…it didn’t.

Oliver Queen and Barry Allen are having their customary end of crossover beer when Oliver has to step away to take a call…from Batwoman! As it turns out, the big bad has been sent packing to Arkham (as an inmate this time instead of a staff member) and is making friends with another inmate.

Psycho Pirate. You know what time it is.You know what this MEANS…

Now, this is very much an “old man yells at cloud” moment for me. I absolutely loathe YouTube reaction videos. Watching someone watch something and “react” to it seems silly to me. I have a hard time believing it’s a thing as I’ve seen scores of movie trailers without uttering a single bon mot, Well, I broke my own rule that night as I let out an audible “No waaaayyyyy.”

“Coming Fall 2019: Crisis on Infinite Earths

Yes, the CW is somehow going to do the crossover that started crossovers and I am absolutely beside myself.

I’m blown away by the perceived magnitude of this announcement. I can’t believe that someone signed off on this! What does it mean for the DC/CW shows? Are they all going to be finally taking place on the same earth? Is Oliver Queen going to die? Will John Wesley Shipp’s Flash have to face off against the Anti-Monitor? And will HE die? I’m not ready for this and it’s at least a year away.

As I wrap this up, I don’t think Crisis can be contained to a three or four night event. I don’t think there are even enough superhero shows on the CW right now to cover the kind of ground it will need to cover. I had thought about capping this off with a wishlist of things I want to see out the CW’s Crisis…but it would be a short list.

All I want is to see every single cinematic endeavor that DC has ever produced represented on screen for this Crisis. That’s all. Ball’s in your court, CW.

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