Review: The Flash isn’t a terrible film—just a forgettable one

The Flash, the penultimate and 13th release in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), was delayed for several months leading up to its theatrical release. The film, starring Ezra Miller as the troubled star, has been surrounded by a series of controversies and negative press. However, Miller’s strong performance, coupled with a solid emotional core and plenty of humor and action, delivers an entertaining superhero romp that is essentially your run-of-the-mill mill of superhero movies. James Gunn, the co-head of DC, publicly stated that he thought it was one of the best superhero movies he had ever seen, helping to counter the negative trailers and controversies surrounding the film. Overall, The Flash is a fine film that delivers on its promise of an action-packed and fun-filled experience.

He never truly adds his own unique touch to those well-known clichés, and honestly, others have done it better, something we have seen countless times before. However, it is unlikely to make it into many people’s top-ten list of superhero films. The movie is a bit too long, and the quality of the special effects is inconsistent, especially during the rather chaotic final battle. The biggest problem lies in its lack of originality, considering the overwhelming presence of superhero movies and their associated clichés in popular culture. Director Andy Muschetti has done a decent job leading the film, but ultimately, there is nothing exceptional here.

(Spoilers ahead, but no major reveals until the final section. We’ll notify you when we reach that point.)

Throughout the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: No Way Home, the shenanigans involving parallel universes and Back to the Future blend together. Muschetti maintained his unique interpretation of the concept while expanding upon various aspects. Instead of following the conventional storyline, where Superman is free, Wonder Woman and Aquaman become fierce adversaries. Surprisingly, Martha Wayne transforms into The Joker, and Thomas Wayne assumes the role of Batman, as opposed to their untimely demise. In this alternate reality, a young Bruce Wayne meets his demise. The entire timeline undergoes significant alterations, preventing the tragic murder of his mother. The Scarlet Speedster travels back in time, and the narrative draws inspiration from the Flashpoint crossover storyline found in the comic books.

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A tale of two Barrys:

The sole purpose of League of Justice is to reveal Barry’s growing frustration with being a “janitor,” but it is punctuated by an amusing sequence in which Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot makes a cameo appearance. It involves a mess after chasing robbers, while Batman, instead of cleaning up the mess, calls for help from Barry Allen, a nurse in the maternity ward who takes care of several babies and provides emotional support to a dog. Additionally, the sequence includes a collapsing high-rise hospital.

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In 2013, a black Speedster knocks him out and brings him back to the present using the Force Speed, but he ensures her survival, thus making a significant but tiny change. Barry doesn’t just travel back before the murder to destroy everything; he warns Bruce Wayne/Batman (played by Ben Affleck) that even though he could save his mother by going back in time, it would result in the destruction of everything. As Barry discovers that he can go back in time, he builds up strong emotions until they dissipate. Unable to come up with new evidence to prove his innocence, Barry visits his childhood home to gather new evidence and hears about his father’s latest parole hearing.

In this alternate timeline, instead of Superman, there is a team led by Zod, naturally called Sasha (Zor-El Kara), with Supergirl as a member. The films starring Keaton as Batman pay homage to the original Tim Burton films, featuring several classic callbacks. Bruce Wayne, an older version of himself, is in a position to accidentally track down his own alternate timeline. Although Barry makes sure that there is no Justice League in this timeline, a new Kryptonian army invades Earth to terraform it. On the same day, Flash, played by Michael Shannon reprising his role from the 2013 film Man of Steel, gains his powers and lightning strikes him. It turns out that Flash landed on the day his mother died, and in this timeline, his younger teenage self is still alive in college as a freshman, with none of the emotional baggage of losing his mom.

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A tale of two Barrys:

The Flash, a member of the Justice League, grew his powers and gained a new perspective by interacting with younger members. It was entertaining to watch Barry interact with his alternative and obnoxious self. Although Michael J. Fox was ultimately deemed not right for the role, it is interesting trivia that Eric Stoltz did shoot several scenes for the film. That’s a fun bit of Hollywood trivia since Stoltz starred as Eric in Back to the Future, where he discovers an alternate timeline where Barry is played by Stoltz. There’s a sly nerd humor in the Flash, particularly in the scene where there’s a point made about the alternate timeline.

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Zod engages in a fierce battle, causing Batman to unleash all of his old equipment and return to his roots as a superhero. He then hangs up his cape, reinventing himself as a long-haired hippie named Bruce Wayne, a role that Michael Keaton clearly enjoyed despite the limited screen time. Sasha Calle’s portrayal of Supergirl/Kara is particularly impactful, affecting the audience in emotionally deep scenes that required more poignant moments. The film’s anchors are the performances of Miller, who successfully takes on the challenging task of bringing depth and emotional resonance to the required moments.

I have mixed feelings about the many, many leaked or announced details before Jeremy Irons briefly reprised his role as Alfred Pennyworth in Barry’s original timeline and before Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck, as well as Michael Keaton, were familiar with these polarizing characters in the “Snyderverse.” There is nothing wrong with a bit of fan-service in Spider-Man: No Way Home, where it’s done masterfully in class, but it’s always a bit cringe-inducing to see Batman’s Affleck and Wonder Woman’s Gadot briefly exchange embarrassing personal secrets when her truth is briefly revealed with the lasso of truth.

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CAUTION: Significant spoilers beyond this point! Cease reading immediately if you have not yet watched the movie.

Two versions of The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Supergirl (Sasha Calle) team up to save the world.

It’s possible that the emo version of Superman, played by Nicolas Cage, and the 1960s Batman, portrayed by Adam West, as well as the 1980s Supergirl, played by Helen Slater, may have served as more meaningful stories in any way than just being gimmicks. Thanks to archive footage, we get to see my personal favorite version of Superman, Christopher Reeve’s incarnation from the 1950s. Now, we are starting to collide with each other in our own universes, where different incarnations of Flash, Superman, and Batman appear. Speaking as a shameless fan, I also have mixed feelings about the extended Speed Force sequence, which serves as the final act in the sequence.

In the movie, it is honestly one of the more pleasant surprises because I won’t reveal the true main antagonist. He is essentially present solely for the purpose of advancing the plot concerning Zod.

Escapist entertainment excels flawlessly, ranking arguably as one of the strongest entries in the 2017 Woman Wonder (within the DCEU). However, The Flash falls short in comparison; coming in a close second, Spider-Verse Across the movies sets a new standard for the thrilling multiverse adventures, rightfully earning its gold status. You can’t simply compare it to The Flash; there have been numerous astonishing time travel movies that explore the consequences of altering the past. Personally, I genuinely enjoyed it. The Flash is not just a forgettable and terrible film, take a closer look.

Superman: Future of 2025, along with the revamped DC Universe, will reveal what Gunn has planned, I suppose. Therefore, the DC Extended Universe’s timeline did indeed reset the occurrences of the movie, and Warner Bros. Has not dismissed the possibility of a follow-up, depending on its success at the box office (with or without Miller). Currently, The Flash is being screened in cinemas.

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