The first instalment of what could be the final chapter of the DC’s Tomorrowverse delivers a surprisingly engrossed story about the DC multiverse centred around the Flash
Story: The Flash/Barry Allen (Matt Bomer) is caught between different timelines and parallel Earth. He soon realises that there is a crisis looming on the horizon that could threaten the very existence of all of reality.
Review: James Gunn’s plans for a new DC Universe spread across live-action, animated, and video game releases may have cut short the lifespan of the Tomorrowverse, which began with the 2020 film Superman: Man of Tomorrow. Despite much promise with the earlier releases, especially the excellent Batman: The Long Halloween, the subsequent films have been uninspired – Green Lantern: Beware My Power and Legion of Superheroes in particular. The latest entry to the Tomorrowverse, Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths Part One, is a surprisingly fresh and riveting iteration of the familiar ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ storyline from the comic books.
As in the case of most DC titles that plan to reset the timeline of the universe, the pivots around Barry Allen aka the Flash. While he might not be as popular as DC’s fabled Trinity, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, the Flash has become one of DC’s greatest heroes. His actions in various universes have helped save entire timelines from complete annihilation. This appears to be a recurring theme in recent superhero stories. Loki in the MCU almost single-handedly saved the Marvel multiverse in the series finale of Loki as did Captain Carter in the season 2 finale of What if…?. One could argue that Barry Allen has been saving universes long before Loki or Captain Carter in film and TV adaptations. From Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the Flash TV series, Justice League Dark: Apokalips War and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the Flash has been instrumental in all of these stories.
Fortunately, the Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths Part One has managed to deliver a compelling story despite the shortcomings of the films that preceded it. Matt Bomer, who brings the character to life in the film, is outstanding in his role. Bomer is able to bring out the various nuances of the range of emotions the Flash is forced to endure over the course of the film with aplomb. And it has certainly helped elevate a script casual viewers might find a bit convoluted. If one is well-versed in the DC animated universe and the DC comic book lore, one would appreciate the various callbacks and references scattered across the film.
The film’s non-linear storytelling is crisp despite the story itself being shrouded in mystery. The narrative keeps one invested in its characters and keeps one guessing about the direction of the storyline. While the latest instalment of this interconnected animated universe is riveting, there are a few creative decisions that have plagued the Tomorroverse since its first film. The new costume designs for the characters are quite simply an eye-sore, especially for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. It is a shame considering the new animation style is excellent. While aesthetic choices can be overlooked to an extent, butchering the character arc of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern in the film Green Lantern: Beware My Power is unforgivable. A decision that has had an effect even in the new film.
The film concludes on a cliffhanger, with climatic scenes offering nail-biting sequences. In addition to its gripping narrative, these scenes also feature plenty of emotional depth.
Verdict: Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part One showcases a glimpse of the unfulfilled potential of the Tomorrowverse. Despite the lacklustre release that preceded this film, director Jeff Wamester has ensured that the Tomorrowverse will conclude with all guns blazing. The excellent first instalment of the film builds plenty of anticipation for the second and third part.