For the last two nights the CW Arrowverse shows have engaged in a cathartic game of “Bash the Fash” in a four-part crossover event that sees characters from Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow teamed up to stop an invasion of Nazis from another dimension that includes Nazi doppelgängers of some of the primary cast.
The episode clearly has a political message, albeit one that should have stopped being controversial in the late 1930s, as the cast utters the words “I hate Nazis” no less than three times and character who usually take measures to not kill lose the kid-gloves while characters who usually care about those things watch like it’s not a big deal.
It really is a sight to behold and I would suggest that even if you don’t watch the shows is might be the kind of thing that an outsider can get into. It’s not that hard to tell what’s happening and what people can do. I mean, who doesn’t know who the Flash or Supergirl is at this point?
But the timing of this miniseries is of particular interest to me given that just a few weeks ago Warner Brothers proper, who owns the CW Network, released the follow up to their 2016 team up movie Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice in the form of Justice League. The Justice League movie had several problems going in and it turned out to be a movie made from a mix of audience responses to the last several films and executive meddling–two things that don’t work out so well.
And that brings us back to the reason why the timing of this crossover versus those movies is such a big deal. The DC Extended Universe has been suffering from a failure to launch for years now and it’s biggest credit at this point is the movie in the bunch no one believed in: a female superhero movie with a female director lead by an actress whose previous biggest credit includes a couple of Fast and the Furious movies.
Honestly, those all sound like positives about Jenkins and Gadot, but they’re one of the few bright spots in this whole mess and the CW Network with it’s lower budget version of a DC universe is making all the bad parts look worse. How come when Kara (Supergirl) is flying around over Central city it doesn’t look fake as fuck? How come the villains on the TV show seem awesome and not run of the mill at all? How come these shows can manage to do comedy and drama intertwined without making things feel jarring (this is actually the case across the three shows out of the four I watch–I can’t remember a joke being out of place in any of them)? How come I saw shit cooler in the first forty minutes of a TV show (and done by Kid Flash no less) than in the entire two hour run time of your major blockbuster movie featuring three of the biggest heroes ever? How come I care about most of these characters, not because of meta-knowledge and their iconic status, but because I’ve been made to care?
Warner Brothers needs to take a hint. Stop trying to live in the darkness of the Nolan era while throwing together a rushed extended universe and look to these shows for examples of how to do it. Do you know the same mistake that we keep seeing with these attempts to copy Marvel’s MCU? People seem to have forgotten that the MCU was very slow to start and built up to everything. Sure that’s not the only way to do things, but the way not to do it is to throw every plan for your next six movies into you second outing like it’s a three hour long trailer.
Until then I guess we have a DC Universe to be proud of: the one that’s on the television every week. Hey Warner Brothers, maybe you could just give Gadot a TV show and spread that three hundred million around between the group of Arrowverse shows and her. It’d be better spent.