Worlds collide in “The Flash” when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the events of the past. But when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, Barry becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned, threatening annihilation, and there are no Super Heroes to turn to. That is, unless Barry can coax a very different Batman out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian… albeit not the one he’s looking for. Ultimately, to save the world that he is in and return to the future that he knows, Barry’s only hope is to race for his life. But will making the ultimate sacrifice be enough to reset the universe?
The Flash Trailer:
The first act of The Flash delivers some traditional superhero moments. The tone immediately established itself with quirky humor and an impressive chase scene. While being a superhero movie, The Flash doesn’t shy away from delivering some heavy doses of drama. The themes of grief and acceptance were the essential core of this film. What worked so well in this film is how it managed to take that theme and manifest it in the literal experiences of Barry Allen. Much of this stemmed from his relationship with his parents and his past trauma. I thought those scenes worked the best in showing that the film had the potential to be taken seriously for the most part.
The more serious moments in The Flash worked because of Ezra Miller’s performance. They were able to convincingly pull off two roles at the same time but what really landed was more emotional scenes. You could feel the sentiments from Miller, which only generated more empathy for the character, Barry Allen. It was all the more engaging to see how even a superhero with such incredible powers couldn’t outrun his own trauma. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the strong addition of the GOAT Batman, played by Michael Keaton. I thought his scenes were exceptional although not as deep as they could have been. I loved how Keaton was able to pick up right where left off with his Batman (1989) portrayal. I loved the fact that this film wasn’t afraid to let Keaton’s stunt double get busy and go nuts when the time called for it. Sasha Calle, who played Supergirl was solid however, her role was pretty limited.
The Flash raced in with some stunning visual effects that will dazzle audiences. The best examples of these were found in all of the scenes that put Flash’s powers on full display. It was really cool to see the Flash’s powers like the up-close shots of his phasing ability. The slow-motion effects were the bread and butter during most of the scenes when the Flash had to do something heroic. I thought the cinematography was nicely executed specifically when the camera angles gave the impression that we’re able to run right alongside the Flash. One scene that was pretty unforgettable was the “Baby Shower” moment in the first act. The subtle touch of changing the lens color of the film to match the Flash’s visors was a nice way to further place the audience in the shoes of the hero.
The third act of the film gave us a pretty satisfying battle scene. I loved how we got to see the Flash do more than just run fast. Not only that but the impact of Barry’s actions was made very clear given the time travel adventures. The big event that takes place at the end was probably the best highlight of the film. Visually speaking, the vibrant colors and fast-paced action were captivating. Overall, I thought the ending of the film was pretty satisfying given where it leaves things off.
Just when some things worked in The Flash, they would also stop working in some other fashion. Sometimes the comedy lands and sometimes it doesn’t. I thought the levity in the film maintained a positive and fun tone, however, there were times when it compromised the story. For example, the second act is burdened with unnecessarily long scenes of characters making mistakes, causing chaos, and some Back to the Future jokes sprinkled throughout. Sure, audiences will get some chuckles for sure but some of those scenes could’ve been tightened up a bit to trim some fat off the long 2hr 24 run time. I think the bigger issue with some of the jokes was the reliance on the film knowledge of the audience. Some jokes felt like they were made for “film lovers” more so than general audiences. There’s a scene where Flash has a minor costume hindrance, but audiences would get the deeper meaning of the joke if they followed the behind-the-scenes news about Michael Keaton’s Batman.
Next up, I thought some of the visuals looked a bit odd and cringy at times. The time travel sequences felt a bit jarring at first and it took a while to get adjusted to what exactly what going on. I thought that the film did a good job explaining the multiverse rules and complications, but the visuals weren’t as clean as they could be. While I completely understood the good intentions with many of the scenes, the CGI looks a bit unpolished or dated.
There were a couple of factors that didn’t really help the plot. Keaton’s Batman, to my dismay, felt like just a plot device. He was just a means to an end. Once he served his purpose in the film, it felt unsatisfying to see how they handled his character. I also didn’t buy the relationship between Iris West and Barry Allen. Any potential romance between the two characters felt more forced and awkward than authentic. The film didn’t really show why someone like Iris would fall for someone as socially awkward as Barry. I know the saying goes that opposites attract, but this was a stretch. Lastly, the cameos in the third act were superficial at best. While they were a joy to see, they made no sense for the sake of the narrative. The best way I could explain without spoiling things would be to imagine a Spider-Man movie talking about the multiverse. While one would expect to see Spider-Man-related events, instead the X-Men show up. So yes, we love the X-Men, but if it’s a Spider-Man story we’re dealing with, X-Men would seem out of place. Therefore, in the case of The Flash, the fan-service here was superficial at best.
The Flash manages to piece together just enough fun moments, superficial fan service, and emotional scenes to limp past the cinematic finish line. The sad thing about this movie is that the supporting cast characters are a bigger draw than the Flash himself. It also wasn’t helpful that the marketing strategy behind The Flash probably hurt this movie more than helped it. Whether it be showing too much footage in trailers, having celebrities promote the film, or having the heads of the studio profess this movie to be one of the greatest superhero movies ever, all of that raised the bar too high for this movie to leap. To add more salt to the wound, the post-credit scene felt like a complete waste of time and I wouldn’t recommend staying for it unless you really have nothing else to do. The bottom line is that The Flash is good for a DC movie. Check out The Flash in theaters if you’re moved by the trailers, a devout fan of DC, or if you’re a fan of Michael Keaton’s Batman. However, if the offset behavior of Ezra Miller makes you feel uncomfortable watching this film, then don’t feel pressured into seeing this film. I want to be very clear, that any level of positive commentary of this film should not be taken as condoning the off-set criminal behavior of Ezra Miller. You can watch the animated Flashpoint Paradox movie on Amazon Prime.
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writer(s): John Francis Daley, Christina Hodson, Jonathan Goldstein and Joby Harold
Stars: Ezra Miller, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, Ron Livingston, Maribel Verdú, Kiersey Clemons, Antje Traue, and Michael Keaton
The Flash hits theaters June 16, 2023. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews for more reviews and contests. You can follow on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more!
The Flash Review: An Over-Hyped Win For DC
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/107/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 5/105/10
- Setting/Theme - 8/108/10
- Watchability - 7/107/10
- Rewatchability - 5/105/10