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'The Flash' Review: An Emotional, Fun Ride

Courtesy of DC

The Flash was directed by Andy Muschietti and stars Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, and Ben Affleck. The movie is about Barry Allen going back in time to prevent his mom’s death. By doing so, he creates a new universe where she lives, and his dad never gets framed for murder. At the same time, this new universe has no metahumans, and when General Zod arrives to destroy Earth, Barry must team up with a younger version of him, an older Batman, and Kryptonian Kara Zor-El. This is the second DCEU movie to come out this year and one of the last few DCEU movies to come out before James Gunn’s new DCU.

The Flash took many years to get into production. In 2014, the movie was scheduled for a 2018 release date. Unfortunately, directors came and went, with the movie’s plot changing. As this happened, the direction of the DCEU was also changing. The fallout of the 2017 movie Justice caused changes to the DCEU. In November 2019, Andy Muschietti was officially director, and in June 2020, news broke that Michael Keaton was returning as Batman.

Despite the pandemic, the movie would finally start filming in 2021. The excitement didn’t last long, as 2022 saw the movie’s star Ezra Miller had gotten themselves into a lot of controversy, from getting arrested for getting into trouble in Hawaii to facing accusations of other crimes. Rumors began that the movie could get canceled or moved to HBO Max. Another rumor was that Miller could get recast. It didn't help that James Gunn announced a reboot before The Flash and other 2023 DCEU movies came out. Despite the marketing and early hype, people wondered if this movie was worth watching due to Miller’s antics and the upcoming reboot.

The Flash turned out to be one of the better movies in the DCEU. It’s not the best comic book movie or DC movie, but that’s fine. This movie was a fun, emotional story about a hero that tries to go back in time to save his family and deals with the consequences of his actions. The movie had a tone that balanced light, funny moments with dark, serious moments. The strongest moments of the movie were the moments between Barry and his mom.

Ezra Miller plays two versions of Barry Allen. Along with the main DCEU Barry, they play a Barry Allen that is ten years younger and a lot more immature. Miller gives their best performance as the character. Barry still provides a lot of humor, but grows in this film. Part of his growth is mentoring the younger Barry and trying to recruit a team of heroes in this new universe. Sasha Calle does a great job playing Kara Zor-El, also known as Supergirl. Unlike Superman, she was imprisoned for years when she arrived on Earth. One of the few downsides of the reboot is this is likely the only time Calle will play this character.

The best part about The Flash is the return of Michael Keaton as Batman. I grew up watching the 1989 Batman and Batman Returns on TV and DVD, so I was excited to finally see him on the big screen. His performance was great and he hasn’t lost a step as the caped crusader despite it being 31 years since he was last Batman in Batman Returns. His action sequences, which have improved from Batman Returns, were great and fun to watch. It was great to hear the movie reuse Danny Elfman’s iconic Batman score from Keaton’s Batman movies.

The Flash still has some issues despite getting a lot of things right. The movie’s visuals when Barry uses the speed force were not good and sometimes looked like graphics from video games in the 2000s. Muschietti said the effects were supposed to look that way. Despite the movie doing well with the tone, the beginning of the movie felt messy and all over the place. The Flash is saving babies in a hospital while Batman is chasing terrorists, and it tries to be funny, but doesn’t stick the landing. Luckily, it doesn’t last long.

I did like that the beginning had moments that reminded me of the DCAU cartoons, such as Justice League. Also, the humor does get better later in the film. The younger Barry starts annoying and dumb half the time he is in the movie. His laugh was almost identical to the surfing fish from SpongeBob SquarePants. There are some decisions the movie made that I did not mind, but will likely divide fans, especially the ending. Regardless of how people will feel, I don’t blame Muschietti since he did have a different idea for it, but it changed when Gunn announced the reboot.

Overall, The Flash is one of my top five favorite DCEU films. For me, this is one of the more emotional DCEU movies. I enjoyed the movie’s story and the character arc Barry Allen goes through. The performances were good overall, and it was great to see Michael Keaton’s Batman on the big screen. The beginning of the movie was a mixed bag, but it got a lot better after that. The visuals could have been better, but Muschietti intended for them to be that way. It is unfortunate the box office has not been good for The Flash.

My final grade for The Flash is an A-. Despite rocky VFX effects and a meh opening, The Flash made a quick turn for the better with fun action, fan service that does work, and emotional scenes with Barry and his mom, having one of the few DCEU movies to have a perfect balance in tone.

What are your thoughts on The Flash? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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