We’re diving into the highly anticipated movie, “The Flash,” starring Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, Michael Keaton as Batman, and Sasha Calle as Supergirl. Now, this movie is loosely based on the iconic Flashpoint comic, it’s out and it’s not exactly lighting the theater on fire as we’ve been led to believe it would.
I LOVE the Flash. I love the character, the comics, and I love the Flashpoint story that this is all based on. This movie tries to adapt that storyline into a satisfying film but it has some key differences that I think are essential to the story. Let’s get into it!
Some of you may have seen my video a few years ago where I broke down, at the time, what I thought the Flash movie would be about. I was correct on some things and wrong on others but what I couldn’t predict is that the movie would be missing so many of the key things about The Flashpoint storyline that absolutely make the story a classic. Let’s start from the beginning.
Barry Allen’s Characterization
Alright, folks, let’s start with the heart of the film—the characterization of Barry Allen. In this adaptation, we see a neurotic, jittery, and yes, clumsy Barry Allen. While it brings a certain comedic touch to the character, it deviates from other portrayals we’ve seen in various media. In those versions, Barry is depicted as a more serious and confident individual.
So, I’m curious, what’s your take on this new quirky Barry? Drop a comment below and let’s discuss whether you prefer this lighthearted approach or the more serious side of the Scarlet Speedster.
We’ve seen Barry adapted into live-action on the popular CW television series as well as a string of animated films featuring the character and while these versions are occasionally shown to be a bit clumsy it’s nowhere near the degree to which we see Barry depicted in the live-action films. It’s also important as it highlights the egregiousness of his actions when he shockingly decides to go against his typical responsible behavior and decides to travel back in time to save the life of his mother. Barry in other media is shown to be a character who is defined by his trauma, which makes him such a good character to bond with Bruce Wayne Batman, but channels it differently as a positive motivation for his adventures as The Flash. I can go on and on about this but let’s put that on pause for now and revisit this later.
The Reverse Flash
Attention, Flash fans! Brace yourselves. The movie completely disregards the Reverse Flash as a proper antagonist, which is mind-boggling considering how integral he is to the Flashpoint storyline. Now I’m gonna need my Flash CW fans to stand up. The television show adaptation of “Flashpoint” masterfully incorporated the Reverse Flash as a central antagonist. The Reverse Flash, brilliantly portrayed by Tom Cavanagh, played a pivotal role in Barry’s journey. He manipulated time, orchestrated Barry’s life’s misery, and became the embodiment of his pain and torment. Can you imagine the impact this complex villain could have had in the movie? I want to hear your thoughts. Comment below and let’s unleash our ideas on how the Reverse Flash could have been incorporated into “The Flash” film.
Anyone who has seen Season 1 of The Flash knows that it was one of the best, if not THE BEST depiction of the character in live-action history. In the TV show, we witness the epic and heart-wrenching journey of young Barry Allen and watch as he’s groomed into becoming a better hero by none other than his arch-nemesis The Reverse Flash himself who is masquerading as a mentor for the character Harrison Wells.
Now real quick for those who aren’t familiar with the character: The Reverse Flash is a time traveler named Eobard Thawne from the 25th century who at one time idolized The Flash as he learned about Barry’s adventures in the future. He found a way to replicate the Flash’s powers while studying Barry’s origin and went on to become the 24th-century version of the hero. This all came to an end at some point when he began hating his former hero and taking on the identity of The Reverse Flash.
We later learn that the Reverse Flash learns to harness his abilities even better than Barry. Eobard learns not only to travel back in time but he also seems to have a much better understanding of the butterfly effect of making changes to the past and its impact on the present and future. Eobard uses this knowledge to make Barry’s life a living hell. We see this in a few different adaptations of the character Eobard uses his ability to travel back in time to actually become responsible for all the misery in Barry’s life. He’s like a supervillain on steroids and tortures Barry all throughout his life. Not only is Eobard the person responsible for the death of Barry’s mother and the framing of his father but he takes it a step further and follows Barry throughout his childhood manipulating time so Barry’s childhood friends are erased from history by making their parents never meet, causing Barry to lack emotional confidence by sabotaging his childhood activities so that he also loses, heck he even took it to a whole new level of petty by actually being the boogeyman that used to haunt Barry as the monster under his bed.
The pettiness and weight of this character add depth to Barry’s character development and give him an antagonist that is the personification of the pain and misery of Barry’s developmental stages of his life. “The Flash” movie fails to provide any indication of the Reverse Flash’s involvement, leaving fans without a compelling and impactful antagonist.
The Wayne Family
Let’s talk emotional depth, my friends. In the comic and animated adaptations, Flashpoint delves into the profound story of Thomas Wayne taking on the mantle of Batman after losing his son, Bruce. This tragic yet inspiring subplot showcases a grieving father’s determination to protect his son’s memory and make a difference. Sadly, “The Flash” movie opted to focus on the return of Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne, bypassing the opportunity to explore this powerful relationship. Share your thoughts in the comments.
In the comic and in the animated movie we see the supporting plot with Thomas Wayne taking on the mantle of Batman after experiencing the devastating loss of his son, Bruce. This shift not only gives us a different Dark Knight but also explores the depths of a grieving father’s determination to protect his son’s memory and make a difference. This story reflects Barry’s mission to save his mother and gives us another look at the powerful relationship between parents and their children. Both the comic and the animated movie showcases Thomas Wayne’s journey and his willingness to sacrifice everything in his universe to save the life of his son. This choice adds complexity and support to the relationship between Thomas Wayne and Barry Allen that we don’t see in The Flash movie. This powerful subplot is instead traded for the nostalgic return of Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne, which, while exciting, somewhat diminishes the impact of Batman’s character.
Personally, I would have loved to see Michael Keaton take on the role of an older Thomas Wayne and embody a new version of Batman. This could have given the movie a unique and fresh perspective, while still paying homage to the original source material. The comic’s portrayal of an older, battle-hardened Thomas Wayne as Batman captivated readers and showcased a different side of the Dark Knight. It’s a missed opportunity that the movie didn’t seize upon this narrative possibility, which could have added depth and intrigue to the overall story.
The CW Television Show
Now, let’s compare notes with the CW television show adaptation of “Flashpoint.” which doesn’t feature Batman at all. The small screen beautifully captured Barry Allen’s emotional journey, especially with the inclusion of the Reverse Flash’s manipulation.
The CW show took more time to establish Flashpoint very early in the series by showing us the night that Barry’s mother dies very early and hints at the sets up existence of The Reverse Flash from the very beginning. Not only that but we see Barry in his civilian life as a forensic scientist for the Central City Police Dept. The movie includes this but doesn’t focus on this to the same extent as the show. We see Barry consistently make an effort to prove the innocence of his father who is imprisoned as the only suspect for his wife’s murder. What’s also important about this is the fact the show intertwined The Reverse Flash into Barry’s journey to become a hero. The Reverse Flash’s reveal as his friend and mentor Harrison Wells makes the emotional impact of the death of his mother even more impactful as it feels like the ultimate betrayal to our hero. The movie attempts to address this aspect of Barry’s journey but the CW television show in my opinion really handles this storyline better.
There you have it, movie fans. “The Flash” movie, while enjoyable, falls short of capturing the true essence of the Flashpoint story. The quirky characterization of Barry Allen, the absence of the Reverse Flash as a compelling villain, and the missed opportunity to delve into the Wayne family’s emotional journey are some of the key elements that left fans yearning for more. But enough from me—what do you think? What’s missing from “The Flash” movie that could have made it a masterpiece? I need you to let me know your thoughts in the comments section
I know I didn’t even go into how the movie doesn’t include Aquaman or Wonder Woman in as significant a way as the comic and animated movie even though both characters and actors were still appearing in DCEU movies and were seemingly available for use but were omitted anyway. But that’s the broad strokes of what I think the Flash movie is missing.