I mentioned this a few posts back, but tonight is the start of a four-way crossover on all the CW network’s superhero shows. It starts towards the end of tonight’s Supergirl, continues tomorrow on Flash, then on to Arrow on Wednesday, concluding with Legends of Tomorrow on Thursday.
This is the closest thing we’ve ever seen to a live-action Justice League. It’s already better than next year’s Justice League movie with emo-Flash, Aqua-grunge-man, and Batfleck.
Just look at this line-up! This picture contains Supergirl, Green Arrow, Flash, Firestorm, Atom, Vixen, and a bunch of other people! Honestly, this is the closest we’ve ever come in live action to the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, which was always kind of amazing and wonderful.
I’ve been enjoying the hell out of The Flash ever since his first pre-lightning appearance on Arrow in season two. I love that they leaned into the comic book aspects and showed that not everything has to be darkness and grunge and pain. In this respect, the DC television universe is infinitely better than the DC movie universe, which was so loathe to do Superman as bright and hopeful that they didn’t even call him Superman until the last few minutes of Man of Steel.
At the beginning of this season of Supergirl, they brought Superman onto the show and he was everything that the movie Superman isn’t. He was charming and colorful and true to the original comic vision for the character. He was optimistic and hopeful, which is how Big Blue is supposed to be. I feel like the people behind the movie iteration have forgotten this, if they ever knew it.
On the television side, however, they definitely know it. Superman, Supergirl, and Flash are all characters who inspire hope. That’s part of why Arrow has floundered a bit since the first two seasons- this version of Arrow is heavily Batmanned- full of darkness and broody angst. (And let’s face it- the 1941 first appearance of Green Arrow was obviously trying to cash in on the success of the 1939 first appearance of the Caped Crusader, right down to the Arrow-Car.)
It’s kind of interesting that although Arrow paved the way for the current crop of CW Superhero shows, it’s the one that is the least comfortable with embracing the fantastical nature of comic book heroes. Arrow has, for the most part, tried to keep things grounded. They didn’t do superpowers until after the Flash had premiered, and they waited until season four to bring up the idea of magic, not counting the Lazarus Pit. Even with powered characters like Firestorm and Hawkgirl running around the “Arrowverse,” the show that started it all still prefers to work with non-powered characters.
That’s part of the fun, for me though- one of my favorite parts of bringing the Flash into the Arrowverse was seeing Diggle’s reaction (and stunned disbelief) at what Barry could do. The first time these two had a proper team-up, I was super psyched, even though Oliver is kind of a dick to Barry most of the time.
The cross-network Flash-Supergirl crossover last year was much more satisfying. Barry is way more at home in Kara’s world than in Oliver’s. The entire episode, from start to finish, is just fun as heck. (Kara’s reaction when Barry demonstrated his super-speed by getting everyone in the room ice cream is one of the best moments on television so far this year.) The Legends of Tomorrow, while not the strongest show in the current line-up is still entertaining enough, and it takes its tone cues more from Flash than from Arrow.
Tonight, the whole lot of them start to battle an honest-to-goodness alien invasion. It’s gonna be great.
And I can’t wait to see how Diggle reacts to Supergirl.
Are you a DC or a Marvel? What’s your favorite live-action superhero adaptation?
Editor’s Note: I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers. I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?