In October 2014, a Flash movie was announced, set to star Ezra Miller as a part of the DC Extended Universe. Since then, the project has jumped many hurdles in its race to the big screen, including dozens of writer and director changes, a global pandemic, and a lot of behind-the-scenes issues. In that time, we have seen Grant Gustin as the Flash for 9 seasons, the end of the DCEU, the birth of DC Studios, and a merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery. Yet somehow, despite all of this, The Flash is finally at the finish line and set to be released in theaters on June 26th…but is it good?
I walked into my screening of The Flash not really knowing what to expect. I was optimistic but unsure of what the film before me would be. Not only is The Flash a massive home run for DC but it can be argued that this is THE BEST DC Comics film. Andy Muschietti has crafted a film full of humor and heart that fully realizes the comic book world in which these characters reside.
As someone who grew up with Bruce Timm’s DCAU and reading DC Comics, the opening sequence of this film had me smiling in pure delight. It evokes everything great about this universe, and watching it unfold left me both upset at what could have been and excited for what comes next. It has quite possibly the best opening of any superhero movie and one that sets the tone for the rest of the film
The Flash is fast, and when I say that, I mean in terms of pacing. When the film gets going, it is off to the races, and I’m fully along for the ride. The moments that the film slows down are utilized perfectly to explore our cast of characters and the themes of the film.
The plot is straightforward and for those who have read the Flashpoint event comics, it will be VERY familiar in execution. Barry Allen goes back in time to prevent the death of his mother, but in doing so, he changes the timeline and endangers the entire DC Multiverse. Along the way, “worlds collide” as he teams up with a younger version of himself, the Kryptonian Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl, and two Batmen.
Yes, this movie features multiple Batmen, one being Ben Affleck, who is in top form. In my opinion, this is the best he has ever been in the role as he finds the sweet spot as both Batman and Bruce Wayne. However, a huge highlight of the film is Michael Keaton, whose Batman Returns…(get it?) decades after he walked away from the role. Keaton shows why many consider him the best Batman as he approaches the role from completely new perspectives while still being the caped crusader we warmly remember.
Sasha Calle’s Kara Zor-El is a scene stealer, though she is criminally underutilized. I loved her in this role, but unfortunately, there wasn’t much for her to do based on how the plot unfolds. I love how the film makes the point to show that she is not just a copy of Clark; she has more bite but is still willing to do what is right.
I do not condone Ezra Miller’s behavior over the past year, and my thoughts on their performance are not reflective of my thoughts on that. Having not been a fan of Ezra in their previous outings as The Flash, I found myself emotionally connected to Barry in this film in ways that greatly moved me. Ezra is deeply ingrained in this film, appearing in nearly every scene and giving a dual performance playing two different Barry Allens. In short, this is the best they have ever been as The Scarlet Speedster.
I have few issues with the film, though I feel it drags slightly when the two Barrys first meet. The plot is very simplistic, and you have a pretty good idea of what will happen if you try to figure it out, but if you give in to the gorgeous visuals and strong pacing, you won’t care. This is a roller coaster of pure comic delight; if you are willing to take the ride, you will not regret it.
The Flash is full of surprises and acts as a satisfying character study and a love letter to DC Comics across all media. There are plenty of Easter eggs to have both casual and hardcore DC fans jumping out of their seats as this film guides us through the Multiverse.
While the film’s scale is multiversal, the story is small as the themes of grief and trauma echo through the movie like an ominous wind, inescapable. We have a few villains in this movie, but what helps make The Flash stand out from other superhero films is that the film’s main villain, in my opinion, is loss, and loss is an unbeatable villain.
While many fans worried multiple Batmen would overshadow the Flash in his first solo film, I can assure you that is not the case. This movie is truly a Flash film from beginning to end. I was amazed at what this film achieved, and I hope you all check it out when it hits theaters!