Review: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 3×08 – “Crisis on Earth X, Part 4”

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers]

Director: Gregory Smith

Writers: Phil Klemmer, Keto Shimizu, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg

Starring: Melissa Benoist, Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell, Caity Lotz, Nick Zano

 

Summary

The remaining Legends team up with the other heroes to fight off the Earth X invasion.

Positives

This episode is the best of the four part crossover mainly because it relies on being mindless superhero fare. Most of the episode is taken up by action scenes which, for the most part, are well done. Gregory Smith is able to keep track of every character; I know where each one is and what they’re doing. The only exception is Black Canary who just vanishes into thin air at a certain point. Other than that, it’s impressive. I like that there are a couple of different things going on; there’s a fight on the ground and one in the air. A lot of it is exciting and fun. The highlight of the action is a fantastic moment between Flash and Reverse-Flash. We get to see the world from their perspective; everyone else is frozen still while the speedsters duke it out. The effects look good and it’s a wonderful moment.

Stein’s death is played well. I like that it’s heroic and his sacrifice gives the heroes a chance to win. His death has weight; the emotion following his death is genuine. Victor Garber is fantastic in, presumably, his final performance as Stein.

There are some cool new costumes. I love the Killer Frost outfit with and without the jacket. Zari’s costume is also really cool; I adore the gold. The two also get some fun team up moments with Amaya. There’s real potential for a Birds of Prey show with some of these female heroes; it was really fun to see these three work together.

This episode actually makes a case for the Legends being a thing for the first time. None of the other episodes in this crossover would make you want to watch those shows if you weren’t already. If you aren’t watching Legends, this episode could change your mind. They get to be pretty bad ass here and they’re the main source of entertainment.

 

Negatives

I hate that Stein died. There was an opportunity to give one of these heroes a happy ending. I loved the idea of Stein owning up to his responsibility to his family and leaving the team to live the rest of his life with them. His death feels unnecessary. It’s executed well but I would have preferred if he had lived and just left the team.

I still don’t like the Nazi element. They did not need to be Nazis; we did not need to see the Nazi symbols everywhere and we certainly did not need to see a concentration camp. It’s kept to a minimum this episode which is nice but it’s still there.

Thankfully, the writers are smart enough to know that Nazis should not be sympathetic. There is never an attempt to do this with the villains. That’s a good move but it also makes them utterly dull. If they weren’t Nazis, these alternate versions could be explored a little more. Nazi-Arrow and Nazi-Supergirl are never engaging characters. Stephen Amell tries his best to be threatening and scary while Melissa Benoist chews the scenery but neither have any material to work with. The two characters fall flat.

The action does mostly work but the CGI is terrible. And I don’t mean in comparison to any movies; that’s not fair. By the standards of these shows, some of these effects are awful. During the big action scene, horribly rendered versions of Supergirl and the Ray are flying around shooting at nothing. They look terrible and out of place when we can see real actors and stunt performers in the same shot. Outside of the moment I mentioned earlier, the fight between Flash and Reverse Flash looks bad and the fight between Supergirl and Nazi-Supergirl is some of the worst effects I’ve seen on any of these shows. What makes it more frustrating is that I’ve seen these shows pull some of this stuff off before. Supergirl’s fight with Superman last season looked pretty good and speedster fights have looked better than this.

Barry just lets Thawne go. I get not killing him but Barry should have at least captured him. He just stands there and lets Thawne walk away. I don’t even know how Thawne is alive and the writers can’t be bothered to come up with a reason so he’s just out in the world now. He’s going to kill a lot more people because of Barry. There are other options besides killing him.

There are some bizarre lines of dialogue throughout. No one has a distinct voice and if they do, it’s negated for a lame joke. The big example is with Kara; she asks Ray and Felicity how they know each other. Why would she ask that? She fought with both of them last year during the Dominator invasion. It’s just so they can make a joke about Ray and Felicity dating. There’s little things like that throughout.

The character arcs are random and their conclusions don’t work. Alex doesn’t even have one; she goes in a circle. She only second guessed her decision to break up with Maggie once she had sex with Sara. And one conversation later, Alex is totally comfortable with the decision like she was before the one night stand with Sara. It’s almost like that whole plot was pointless. Also, Sara learned that she needs to find a relationship instead of one night stands; that came out of nowhere. Felicity starts the crossover against marriage for no real reason and the crossover ends with Oliver marrying Felicity because I suppose that’s easy drama. It just feels weird. Felicity not wanting marriage over complicates things; her proposal to Ollie at the end could have played if they hadn’t brought up the idea of her being against marriage. I appreciate the attempt to add some character into this but it doesn’t really work for the most part.

 

Verdict

This is an okay episode. There is a lot I still don’t like. I hate the basic premise of the entire crossover; it’s tedious, over-played and the writers don’t have anything to add outside of the shock value of using Nazi imagery. The effects are terrible for the most part; some of the Supergirl effects look unfinished. The attempts to resolve the character arcs fall flat. But there is some fun. The episode manages to balance being a crossover while highlighting the characters of this show. That is not accomplished with the other three parts; Supergirl spends half of the crossover tied up and helpless. There’s solid action and some genuinely fun moments. I hated the first three parts of the crossover but the conclusion managed to entertain me just enough.

 

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Sean Blumenshine

I am currently a senior at Wichita State University studying communications. I started reading comics in 2013 because of how much I loved Man of Steel and season one of Arrow. My favorite hero is the Green Arrow and my favorite villain is the Joker.
  • DaleHB

    Ugh. Why are you reviewing. Your points are lame. They needed someone who didn’t start reading comics only a couple years ago or something. This episode delivered on everything you would want from a comic book story. There were real stakes, highs and lows. Epic end, the good guys win.

    To say that you don’t like a Nazi enemy is just stupid. Who cares what your preferences are. They took an enemy that challenged all the heroes and they had the opportunity to be truly heroic.

    As for Stein (and the actor, Victor Garber), it is only a little child who thinks that sending someone off to live a peaceful life of nothingness is what an actor wants as a send off. Give me a great death scene, make my life and sacrifice mean something – that is what you want from a comic book show. Something that taps in to the myths of human existence.

    Again, ugh. I wont be back on this site anytime soon.

    • Cameron Tevis

      I think you’re missing his primary, and valid point. By making them Nazi’s you have to make them one-dimensional so you don’t accidentally make them likable in anyway. That is limiting. And I have to agree, the premise is played out. The action of this series was better than last year’s crossover, but overall this one just wasnt very good. They tried too hard to make a political statement and it just didnt work.
      But i do agree with you about Stein’s death

      • DaleHB

        Actually you wouldn’t have to make them one dimensional, but like almost all comic book villains, they need to be a foil. It isn’t worth wasting the time in a limited crossover to go over subtle nuances of the villains. Making them Nazis represents exactly what Harry said – that Earth X was so horrible that it didn’t even get a delineation. What little you needed from the nuance was in Ubergirl’s comments regarding her view of the populous in contrast with Kara’s.

        Yes, Nazi’s are limiting – they are also not the main emphasis on these shows. They needed to be introduced, dealt with and dispatched in one crossover. I compare these villains to those of any DC or Marvel movie and they stack up just fine – all of the villains are basically one-dimensional vehicles to expose weaknesses and uncover archetypal characteristics in the heroes (who we are invested in). So, why decide that this is the time to go off on that.

        Look, I don’t really care – everyone gets a point of view and can be swayed by whatever they want. This particular rant though felt like someone complaining that the Flash’s costume is too red or that they didn’t spend time looking at the childhood of Ubergirl. They may be true, but …

        I compare this to the Defenders or perhaps a team movie (Avengers or JLA) and understanding budget limitations on the TV show, they produced a great story arc for many characters, mixed in humor and poignancy, action and relationships in a far better manner than any other attempt in recent memory.

        By the way, I don’t think they were really trying to make much of a political statement – other than perhaps that love and relationships come in many flavors – or that Nazis have little to nothing to be lauded.