The Flash

June 16, 202380/1009 min
Starring
Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, Sasha Calle, Michael Keaton
Written by
Christina Hodson
Directed by
Andy Muschietti
Run Time
2h 24min
Release Date
June 16th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

Growing up, The Flash was never my favorite superhero. The goofball nature of this character, which was meant to be a counter balance to the seriousness of characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman always made him unlikable to me. In the past few decades that has changed, (about to go Simpsons  Comic-book Guy on you here) if you ever read Crisis on Infinite Earths there is a pivotal moment where goofball Barry Allen (Flash) saves the day by running so fast he disintegrates. He didn’t return til over 20 years later. But when he did, with the help of writer Geoff Johns, soon the humorous nature of the character had something else vital added. Heart. Flash was given a darker origin story and it lead to some great storytelling, eventually leading to a fantastic CW show that focused on the heart and humor of the character.

All that this history lesson was meant to convey is that I have high expectations when it comes to any classic comic book hero making their way to my second love after comics: Film.

The Snyderverse introduced the cinematic version of Barry Allen AKA the Flash (Ezra Miller). And like the comic version he is the younger goofier counterbalance to the dark brooding nature of Bruce Wayne AKA Batman (Ben Affleck). Unfortunately there are two versions of the Justice League film, and I will not get into the history of Snyder fandom an internet culture here. Needless to say Barry Allen was given short shrift in the one most people saw. In the “Snyder Cut” Barry saves the day by entering the Speed Force and reversing time.

In The Flash directed by Andy Muschietti it begins with Barry (Miller) living his life as a CSI-type tech for the police by day, and by earlier day, cleaning up what he calls “Bat-mess” like the Justice League janitor as he assists Batman (Affleck) taking down some Gotham lowlifes causing mayhem.

Still obsessing over the tragic murder of his mom (Maribel Verdú) with his dad (Ron Livingston) who was wrongfully accused of the crime. Barry discovers (again, but for the first time in this DC cannon, yeah I know) that he can enter the Speed Force and travel back in time. After some unheeded advice by Bruce, Barry goes back to change one little detail in an attempt to save his parents. But in the process he alters the fabric of the space-time continuum, and as Doc Brown says from Back to the Future (which is referenced in this film in the most genius way) could destroy the entire universe!

In an attempt to fix this new timeline which is now threatened by General Zod (Michael Shannon), Barry enlists the help of his younger self, also played by Miller, a new Bruce Wayne/Batman played by legend Michael Keaton, and Kara Zor-El/Supergirl (Sasha Calle) in order to save the world, and possibly the universe?

In an effort to not make this long review even longer, Miller has had some disturbing real-life personal issues since this film’s completion. You can look it up, and if what you find is enough to make you not want see this movie, that is completely understandable.

All that aside and looking at the completed work of many talented filmmakers I will say The Flash is completely enjoyable from start to finish. You can see the love for the character on full display, and like the TV show, the heart and humor are front and center. Miller was one of the best things to come out of the Justice League films, and only excels in this solo adventure. I will say the film is CGI’ed with in an inch of its life, and borders (and at times crosses the border) on looking like a cartoon. If you don’t accept that style 30 min, in you may not be on board the rest of the film. They use an interesting way to explain the Speed Force and the Chrono-Bowl that Barry uses to see alternate versions of the past and future. Director Muschietti and crew navigate the story much like a combo version of the Back to the Future I & II. Barry makes a mistake, tries to fix it, and learns lessons along the way, all while still trying to save his parents and everyone else.

Keaton brings life back to the Batman he left behind over 30 years ago and has since had several actors play it as good or better since. But he reminds you how cool his version is and with the afore mentioned CGI-fest this film is, he gets to be way more active than he did in ’89 and ’92.

I loved watching this story play out, even in its predictable way. They just collectively got what make the Flash a great character, and leaned on it. I was smiling most of the time, and laughing a lot of the others. I really would put this up there with the classic DC films. While it’s not as emotionally resonant as its comic book, and even TV counter parts The Flash is nonetheless a great film filled with fun, fan service, and pure comic book film entertainment.

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