The Flash Review: Run-of-the-mill comic movie

Where do you even start with this one? The Flash is a movie that deserves its own, separate movie in the form of documentary about the endless problems that preceded it.

While some may be familiar with the recent and endless criminal antics of the main cast member Ezra Miller, many more may not know that a Flash movie has been trying to take off since the 80s.

Also in recent years the massive shakeup of the DC following corporate shenanigans with Discovery has resulted in the movie universe effectively slated to be erased and replaced with James Gunn heading the charge.

From the trailers on this page and countless other marketing we also know that this movie is yet another multiverse situation that brings back Michael Keaton as Batman, as well as other teased content from the past of DC. A not insignificant amount of people are also anticipating that said multiverse concept will be the catalyst to facilitate Gunn’s reboot of the DCEU, or whatever else he plans to call DC’s version of the MCU.

With all of this in mind The Flash finally crosses the finish line when it releases to the public on 16th June and the world can finally see if all this strife has been worth it.

We’ve now seen an early version of The Flash, stressed to not be the exact movie that general audiences will catch on 16th June. Despite being an early version we can at least answer the some questions and provide you with this spoiler-free review.

So here’s the kicker, everyone: The Flash isn’t some uber important movie to the future of DC or some impeccable, unmissable effort in the pantheon of movies. It’s just a good enough superhero flick much like countless others from both Marvel and DC.

Just the fact that it’s decent may be a shock to many, but with almost infinite possibilities and the freedom of DC’s universe being killed for a reboot, The Flash could have done anything, but instead the filmmakers played it way too safe.

But let’s time travel back to the beginning for the setting of this movie. Barry Allen, the Flash played by Miller, still mourns the murder of his mother that his father was mistakenly blamed as he spends his years in jail. Using the power of the Speed Force, the Flash discovers time travelling abilities that should allow the superhero to save everyone with a bit of timespace meddling.

Unfortunately things go wrong and, while the Allen parents are saved, the universe is majorly altered. No other metahumans exist, Keaton’s Batman replaces Ben Affleck, and the Flash has to team up with his younger self when General Zod invades Earth.

Yes The Flash (2023) retreads not only the Keaton Batman movies, but also Man of Steel (2013) with Michael Shannon playing Zod once again. In this timeline, however, there is no Superman played by Henry Cavil, but instead Supergirl played by newcomer Sasha Calle, who dons the blue spandex and “S stands for hope” suit instead.

This movie uses many plot points and ideas from the greatly beloved Flashpoint 2011 comic arc. We have to pat DC on the back as this is made evident at the end of trailers for the movie, encouraging moviegoers to read the comics that inspired the film.

As the story plays out it deviates greatly from Flashpoint but this is a spoiler-free review so we won’t say much more.

While we’re always happy for a movie to go its own way, The Flash simply doesn’t do enough with this premise. After the first third of this movie it’s really rather easy to divine where the rest of the plot will go.

The surprises are minimal, the dialogue is predictable and at every turn it seems that the safest option was chosen to maintain the status quo and keep trucking on as usual. For a ground breaking story like Flashpoint and the freedom of a tentpole blockbuster movie, this is heart breaking.

While we always try to view art in a vacuum, The Flash looks even worse in comparison to Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse which not only did the multiverse several times better, but also took risks and offers watchers something new on the big screen. These two movies will be playing in theatres at the same time so a lot of people will only be seeing one, and we know which we would choose if faced with the same decision.

While the plot let us down the writing was actually commendable here. The older Flash has a lot of heartfelt things to say and this may be the most affable any character has ever been in any DCEU movie. This is an accomplishment as this version of the Flash has not been a fan favourite before now.

Putting aside the real life Ezra Miller, the performer in this movie did a pretty great job. Well one of them did. There are two Barry Allens in this movie and the older one we’re familiar with is fun to watch. The younger one, however, is a real chore to see and listen to. The entire point of this younger character is that teenagers are kind of annoying, but the laugh Miller does for the younger Barry is like nails on a chalkboard. The filmmakers maybe could have toned down the “annoying younger cousin” effect here.

The other standout (in a good way) is, of course, Keaton. He’s clearly having a ton of fun bringing his Batman back and he provides a solid anchor for the younger members of the cast.

We will concede that his inclusion, along with many other elements of this film, essentially boil down to nostalgia bate to put butts in seats, but we’re not immune to the fun of seeing old characters in modern films.

Despite being a modern film the CGI in this movie is, well, it’s bad. We were told multiple times at our early review screening that this is an earlier version of the movie and not the one that will be shown in theatres, but there’s simply not enough time to save the effects.

The CGI you see in these trailers is essentially what the final movie looks like and it’s closer to the cutscenes in videogames from several generations ago, instead of live action.

Those who read our Transformers: Rise of the Beasts review will know that that movie also had horrendous CGI, but at least that was mostly for robotic Transformers. Here, with similarly bad effects for humans instead, it looks even worse.

We’re a bit at a loss for words when it comes to how bad some of this movie looks. Almost all of the action is a plastic, uncanny valley mess that you can’t care about because it looks so awful.

This is even more surprising because other parts of the movie look great. The batcave, which you see in the trailers for example, is amazing and has many real props and convincing effects to sell the illusion. Even some CGI-heavy elements, like when the Flash travels through time, is done well. This latter example is saved not by better CGI, but the artistic choice to make this element look surreal and otherworldly instead of photorealistic.

The only remaining elements of the movie warrant less discussion. The music and score is entirely forgettable with one fight scene that uses maybe 20 seconds of an existing song. We’re not sure why so many recent movies buy song rights to use them for a handful of seconds in a scene, but it’s an annoying trend we hope doesn’t continue.

On the topic of annoying trends we always need to mention audio mixing and how clear character dialogue is. For this movie it’s fine. There were one or two moments where we struggled to hear what people were saying, but it wasn’t as bad as many other movies from recent years.

The Flash should have been an experience that generated buzz and interest for the rest of 2023 and helped to usher in a new age of DC comics as the universe receive a massive shakeup under James Gunn. Instead it’s just a decent superhero movie with some nostalgic elements that will be remembered not for its own merits, but for its many troubles reaching release.



About Author


Related News