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TV/DVD Review: Invasion - CW Crossover; Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow (with Supergirl) - (2016-2017)

It may seem odd to be reviewing a three episode crossover event from 2016 in 2018 but I only recently happened across this DVD release of just the relevant episode from each of the CW DC series, Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow for their crossover event Invasion. As well they also bring Supergirl into the mix even though her series doesn't have a crossover episode.

The reason I wanted to review it now is that this crossover parallels what I feel Zack Snyder was trying to achieve in his films, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League before his vision was derailed by WB execs and public opinion.


At its very core the plotline for Invasion is, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) brings together The Justice League (essentially, they never actually call themselves this) to fight off an alien invasion force who are out to stop the threat of metahumans.



To me that sounds a lot like the basic arc of Snyder's movies and his intention to bring in Darkseid as the original, ultimate alien bad guy.

What's both interesting and exciting about Invasion is that they tell such a similar story on a TV budget, with more characters, and more clearly defined motivation for all the characters involved - including the aliens, in around about two hours. Within that you see heroes fighting heroes, heroes fighting aliens, time travel, alien motherships, space battles, alien hordes, virtual worlds, mind control, and even a Hall of Justice exterior that looks very inspired by the old Super friends, Saturday morning cartoon.

Even with all of that, it never gets confusing, nor do any of the characters feel like they don't have a part to play in the main story arc.

If you've never seen any of the CW shows, sometimes referred to as the 'Belantiverse' after writer/producer Greg Berlanti's production company, Berlanti Productions, then Invasion is actually a great sampler starting point for all four shows, Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. It gives you a good sense of most of the main players in their fully fleshed out form and may encourage you to want to go back and see their back story leading up to this crossover event.

It does contain minor spoilers for some of the individual series story arcs but they're presented in a way that might entice you watch that series for more information and to see those events (as opposed to not watching it because you've been spoiled). Or you could just start watching the shows from these episodes forward, if you like the characters as is and just want to follow their adventures moving forward.

For those of you already following one or more of the CW shows you don't need to be watching all of them to follow what's happening in Invasion. Personally I've watched Arrow up to Season 5, and only seen season 1 of both Flash and Supergirl. After watching Invasion I'm now more interested to see more of Flash, Supergirl, and especially try out the first season of Legends of Tomorrow (which was actually the reason I bought the DVD. I wanted to get a sample of the Legends characters without having to pay for the entire first season price).

If you've already got all these episodes in your individual series collections the DVD does include  special feature interviews with various writers and production people involved with the creation of each episode. It does give you some good insight into how tuned in the writers are with drawing inspiration from the comics and then adapting that material to their show.

Given the ambition of this story which, contains full, walking, talking, CGI aliens, the special effects are still pretty good for a TV budget. Sure it's not entirely seamless but it's easier to be forgiving with TV special effects. Especially when the story is well told with characters that are on point with their comic book counterparts.

Even if you don't want to start watching any of the series I'd highly recommend Invasion as one to add to your comic book movie collection. It works as a stand alone feature, and you get a good cross section of DC characters interacting with each other, not always as the best of friends. (I particularly enjoy the interactions between super serious Arrow and the somewhat perky Supergirl - this being the first time those two characters meet).

It definitely has rewatch value. Worth your time. Especially if the current line of 'Snyderverse' DC films isn't really doing it for you. You may just be more of a 'Berlantiverse' kind of DC fan.

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