‘Crisis On The Infinite Earths’ Part 1: Recap And Ending Explained

Time and tide wait for none, even if you are an extremely overpowered speedster with the ability to transcend the barriers of different dimensions and universes. As DC’s present animated cinematic universe, dubbed Tomorrowverse, reaches the end of its journey with the adaptation of one of comics’ most important series, Crisis on Infinite Earths, in trilogy form, the first part focuses on the scarlet speedster Barry Allen, aka Flash, and his seminal role in the overarching narrative. In a sense, it’s a befitting conclusion (not even mentioning the key role Flash played in all the DC “Crisis”) given that Barry was the only surviving member of the previous cinematic universe DCAMU and also the one who introduced viewers to Tomorrowverse,  acting as a link to tie in different iterations of characters, universes, and realities. 


As a modernized adaptation of the classic storyline, Justice League: Crisis on the Infinite Earths, Part One succeeds in staying true to the essence of the source material while asserting its individuality at the same time. Although the disjointed narrative flow encompassing a number of past and present scenarios might make viewers a bit confused, having Flash at the forefront of the entirety of it actually helps in the creation of a compelling arc for the character. 

Spoilers Ahead


Which Event Led To The Creation Of The Justice League?

The opening scene showcases Barry Allen, aka Flash, running away from an all-devouring singularity, one that is pulling the entirety of existence, comprising multiple earths from different universes, into itself. Barry’s empowering connection with the Speedforce is allowing him to traverse such an incomprehensible distance, but even that seems to be nearing its end. Throughout the movie, we see Barry in various stages of his life, running from the ever-chasing singularity, and the true nature of it remains a mystery. 

Viewers are taken to the past, when Barry first got his powers from the freak lightning accident, and a mysterious character is seen momentarily observing him, only to disappear moments later. Later, as Barry comes to terms with his newfound powers, he meets the love of his life, Iris West, for the first time, and eventually their relationship becomes a vital point that keeps Barry anchored amidst the turbulent, confusing influences of the space time continuum. Barry occasionally sees a strange homeless person, one who tries to motivate him to continue his journey—and triggers Barry’s connection with the Speedforce time and again to send him across various phases of his life. Although the movie doesn’t reveal his identity, the strange person is actually the character Pariah in comics, who was doomed to bear witness to the end of various realities time and time again. Barry revisits the time when Bruce came to him seeking help for the orphan Dick Grayson and recounts how he advised Bruce to take the boy under his wing.


Later, while battling a sentient android named Amazo alongside Barry, Superman gets his powers partially siphoned, prompting Barry and Oliver Queen to pursue Bruce Wayne in helping them, which connects the events with the post-credits scene of Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two. Upon learning that the metahuman power-draining android bot, originally a creation of Professor Anthony Ivo, became corrupted by being experimented on by Lex Luthor, Barry expresses his wish to see the existing heroic metahumans band together to form a team. As Bruce agrees to this proposition, the existing team recruits other metahumans, like Vixen and Martian Manhunter, as well. 

Barry gets sent to an alternate reality of Earth 3 by Pariah, where he comes across the villainous counterparts of his Earth’s superheroes, who have formed a supervillain team known as the Crime Syndicate, which rules over their earth with an iron fist. He meets Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, and Power Ring—members of the Crime Syndicate—who have terrorized this doomed counterpart of earth by killing its only protector—the heroic version of Lex Luthor. After getting captured by the Syndicate, Barry reveals his identity to the team of supervillains, who are surprised to learn about the existence of parallel realities and share their willingness to conquer them as well. As viewers return to Earth-1 once again, back to Barry’s own reality, the formation of a new superhero team is made official, and taking a cue from his past experience, Barry names it the Justice League. 


How Does Earth 3 Get Obliterated?

Amazo attacks the newly formed Justice League, and acting under the new directives of Luthor, he corners the team by draining the powers of all the metahuman members. To stop the android, Barry goes to Lexcorp to rescue its creator, Professor Ivo, who reveals that he intended to create Amazo for the betterment of humankind by integrating his mind into its AI and to help him reverse his own accelerated aging illness. However, Lex assumed control over his operations, leading to Amazo getting turned into a corrupt bot. Ultimately, Ivo sacrifices his life to override Lex’s corrupted programming, leading to Amazo feeling remorse over its actions. Free from Lex’s control, Amazo destabilizes the supervillain’s power armor and returns the drained energies to the metahumans before shutting itself down in guilt. 

As the narrative moves back in time once again and we return to Earth 3, the Syndicate prepares to kill Barry. However, a timely intervention by Pariah stops them in their tracks, and he presents them with an ominous vision of the events that will lead to the end of the earth. Not long after, Earth 3 begins to experience a series of cataclysmic events throughout the planet, which indeed initiate the final moments of their reality. Barry questions Pariah about his identity, but the cosmic wanderer isn’t able to recall much about his past, revealing only the fact that he is destined to experience the end of realities one by one and is afflicted by a sense of survivor’s guilt, which Barry shares (or will share) as well. 


Who Is The Monitor? What Does He Reveal About The Crisis?

Like clockwork, viewers are once again taken back to Barry’s life, this time on his wedding day, and Barry gets a premonition of something terrible happening, which he shares with his to be wife, Iris. Just like it had happened in comics and in the CW The Flash TV series as well, Barry and Iris’ wedding was crashed by Harbinger, the mysterious female character whom we met at the end of Justice League: Warworld. Harbinger wishes to recruit Barry, Vixen, and the rest of the present metahumans to avert a terrible crisis of multiversal scale, and to do so, she takes them to Monitor’s spaceship, where superpowered characters from different realities have been summoned. We meet the Justice Society from Justice Society: World War II, Dawnstar from Legion of Super Heroes, and a host of other DC characters like Question, Dr. Light, Psycho Pirate, Ray, Black Lightning, Creeper, various iterations of Blue Beetle, Homo-Magi people, Challengers of the Unknown, Metamorpho, Firestorm, and so on. Harbinger reveals her identity to Dawnstar as Kara Zor El, whom we met in “Legion of Superheroes,” but doesn’t reveal how she transformed into this form. In a heartwarming moment,Bruce from E 1 meets E 2 counterpart of his adopted son, Dick Grayson, who has been operating as Robin in his reality. Robin shares that Batman in E 2 had shared a parental connection with him, and gave him a purpose in helping people through the vigilante career – much to Bruce’s amazement. He also meets Helena Wayne, daughter of Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman, who expresses her joy after meeting Bruce since her father had passed away. 

Monitor introduces himself as a member of an extremely ancient technologically advanced race who acted as overseers and chroniclers of the events that have transpired in known universes for billions of years. He reveals how the devastating anti-matter wave is actively wiping entire universes out of existence and can eventually take all of creation with it. This is why he has decided to intervene for the first time, breaking his species’ oath of non-interference and gathering champions of different realities to create a definite plan to prevent this crisis. 


Was Barry Able To Save The Multiverse At The End?

Monitor’s declaration creates a bit of confusion among some of the inquisitive members of the gathered super-folk, with Question sharing his concerns about Monitor’s claims and motives and Bruce asking why champions of different earths have been summoned when the universes comprise millions of other races and species. Monitor explains that in the crisis, the earths of respective universes are the ones to get destroyed first, and the devastation eventually encompasses other celestial bodies of those universes as well. As for the validity of Monitor’s claim, Barry vouches for him, having experienced the destruction of Earth-3, and asks Diana to use her Lasso of Truth on him to confirm the same. 

However, Superman of Earth-1 and Earth-2 use their enhanced vision to confirm that the crisis is very real and is approaching them at an alarming rate. Batman rightly asserts that this is not a threat that they can punch through and that they have to hit upon a plan to overcome it by using the cumulative knowledge of the genius minds from different earths. Dawnstar proposes taking help from the far future of Legion’s timeline of the 31st century, but it is revealed that, for some reason, accessing the past and future through time travel has been barred as well. Creating a shield to protect the earth is out of the question as well, as not only would it require immense energy, but it also has a chance of failing to stop the all-decaying anti-matter wave. 


Barry travels to Earth-3 for one last time, as the all-encompassing anti-matter wave starts to engulf the world and as the Crime Syndicate looks at their inevitable end, they choose to go down fighting. In a futile, perhaps even foolish, yet somewhat brave attempt to challenge the inscrutable whim of fate, Owlman, Power Ring, Ultraman, and Superwoman rage against the unstoppable wave, only to get annihilated by it like everything else. As Barry and Earth-3 speedster Johnny Quick start running to escape the oncoming peril, Johnny gets taken by the wave, resulting in Barry getting his powers amplified by the absence of the Earth-3 speedster in the Speedforce. 

Upon returning, Flash unknowingly provides the solution to the team by stating how he is able to transcend boundaries between different realities and dimensions by vibrating through their frequencies, which is how he escaped from Earth-3 as well. Monitor and the rest of the super-beings conceptualize creating a vibrational generator—a cosmic tuning fork on each earth—which can theoretically protect them from the anti-matter wave when it finally hits. As planned, the super-beings separate into different groups to install the proposed cosmic tuning fork on different earths, which can be powered by Flash’s energy emanating from the cosmic treadmill. However, it seems that the wave has gained a sense of its own as it accelerates in such a way that it snatches the opportunity to implement the plan in time. Realizing the final moments are near, Bruce contacts Robin and Helena, and an unspoken conversation gets exchanged between the trio as Bruce gets taken by the devastating wave. A hopeless Flash once again meets Pariah as the wave comes closer to his earth, and the doomed wanderer asks him to meet with his anchor, Iris, for the last time. Barry meets Iris, and in an attempt to save her and earn the multiverse a chance at fighting the crisis, he prolongs the final few moments to an entire lifetime. With the universes standing still in the littlest fraction of time, Barry and Iris grow old together and attune the cosmic tuning fork with the help of Amazo, whom Barry had decided to keep around out of kindness. At the end, just as Barry and Iris complete assembling the vibrational generator across all the earths, an old Iris breathes her last in Barry’s arms. With a heavy heart, an old Barry runs through the cosmic treadmill for one last time after returning to the natural flow of time and manages to power up all the generators at once, which eventually negates the anti-matter wave, saving the multiverse in the process. Amazo is destroyed, but at least in its last moments it knew that his prime directive of saving humanity is fulfilled.


God’s wrath, Spectre, makes a visit to Monitor and eventually to Flash to inform him that Speedforce will take him for the transgressions he has committed to ensure the multiverse a second chance. Barry vanishes into the Speedforce after being taken to his past for one last time, revealing the mysterious stranger appearing during his accident was none other than himself. After making another appearance in the Warlord’s universe, Barry is seemingly erased from existence. On the other hand, at Monitor’s spaceship, Kara watches in horror as her Legion teammate Dawnstar gets erased out of existence as well, along with her love interest Brainiac-5, in the far future of the 21st century. The movie ends on a cliffhanger as viewers are left to ponder whether Barry’s monumental sacrifice was not enough to evade the doomsday—the answers to which can be known after the release of the upcoming sequel Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Two

Who Is Behind The Anti-Matter Wave?

As avid readers and fans might already know, the primal cosmic supervillain Anti Monitor is behind the annihilating wave assault, and the extent of his power can be imagined from the fact that, without even appearing, he has managed to take down entire realities. In the upcoming installments, the fierce prime antagonist will reveal himself, which definitely won’t bode well for the galactic protectors as they need to figure out a way to confront an enemy of such magnitude. 


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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