The movie Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice opened a few days before Supergirl featured a visit from The Flash and I know which one I liked better!
The movie was DC’s attempts to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) by cramming in Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and glimpses of Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg all packaged as a grim and dark supposedly serious and portentous brooding movie. The tone of the TV DC universe could not be more different. Greg Berlanti who began with a pretty dark Oliver Queen in Arrow has shown a much lighter touch with The Flash and now Supergirl and the key word that comes to mind is ‘fun’. Both Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin are young and ..well, CHEERFUL! Pretty much polar opposite to their movie counterparts Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill who I don’t think cracked a smile throughout that overlong film!
As The Flash is on a different network to Supergirl, that this crossover happened was pretty unusual. Obviously Berlanti has pretty high prestige with his bosses at The CW and NBC to allow it, but to be honest, this whole event was great publicity for both shows and helped Supergirl to its highest ratings in a while. The episode – ‘World’s Greatest’ – saw Barry Allen zoom over due to some sort of dimension jump and established that his world has no Supergirl – or Superman for that matter. Meanwhile, the world of Kara and Jor-El has no Flash or Green Arrow (Don’t tell Smallville and especially Chloe Sullivan!)
After Kara’s red Kryptonite mishap the other week, she is still in National City’s bad books and when faced with a couple of bad girl villains, she needs Barry’s help to defeat them, while also getting some advice about how to be a better superhero – and some romance advice too!
I am not a Kara/James shipper – I don’t like that Kara is quite so giddy and girly around him and would rather see her stay single but the dynamics of Barry, Winn, James, Cat and Kara were a lot of fun. Although the real delight was just seeing Barry and Kara bond over ice cream and who is the fastest. Interestingly, one of Benoist and Gustin’s mutual Glee episodes was the S4 episode Dynamic Duets where the Glee club dresses as superheroes. Benoist was the rather daft ‘Wall flower’ but did a nice duet of ‘Holding out for a Hero’ with bitchy Kitty. She also got to watch her future husband Blake Jenner try to out Superman Jacob Artist’s Jake Puckerman. Wonder if she had any inkling it would be her in the blue and red lycra! Grant Gustin was a nasty Warbler at that point so no superhero costume for him in the episode, indeed Benoist and him didn’t share a scene but it was quite a fun one.
Meanwhile, back in National City, the two villains of the week prove to be improbably strong for the girl of steel who has defeated other meta-humans much more easily and for The Flash who is rarely out sprinted. In a ridiculously cheesy resolution, the people of National City, instead of running a mile at those superhumans fighting, step up to help Supergirl. Cheesy, but kind of adorable – very much like the whole show really.
This crossover was not as interesting a character study as the excellent ‘Falling’ but was one that just had you grinning all the way through.
Zach Snyder, director of the Batman vs Superman film has said they would not have had Grant Gustin reprise his role as The Flash as he didn’t fit their vision of the character. So true! Take your pick DC-ers. TV’s sunny, cheerful but super engaging superhero or the movie’s darker, more serious version (although Ezra Miller is a very good actor, that film isn’t slated to appear for several years any way.)
Supergirl has not yet been picked up for a second season by NBC but for me it has been a very enjoyable first year so fingers crossed!