Where To Watch: Theaters
Christina Hodson, Joby Harold
Sasha Calle, Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton
Action. Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
All media used courtesy of Warner Bros. Studios
The Flash started production in the early 2014’s, running through director after director, script after script, delayed again and again until the entire DC universe collapsed around it. Now in 2023, it has unintentionally become both an ushering in of a new universe with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn taking on the head role of DC and the funeral of Zack Snyders Justice League. There is a lot riding on it, and going in I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and be as open-minded as I could. Knowing that Michael Keaton’s Batman would be making a return and taking a prominent role only made me more amped. Sadly, I left this film while not completely dismissing some great character work and some… SOME cool visual effects, The Flash was not able to generate enough of a spark for me.
Some positives first. Sasha Calle is a star and excels in her role as Kara-El. There was enough of a backstory to make me care about her, though some of the story logic behind her motivations is flimsy at best. Ezra Miller works for their interpretation of The Flash, but I’ve never had a soft spot for the over-hammed portrayal they give of Barry Allen. Barry’s story has always been compelling, and it still lands here with the impactful performance by Barry’s Mother played by Maribel Verdú. There are many supporting characters and surprise cameos, but the only one that stands out is Ben Affleck’s Batman.
I was so excited to see Michael Keaton’s Batman- the Batman I grew up with as a child, return to the big screen. What has his character been doing? Well…. not a whole lot. I’m not about to go full The Last Jedi talking about respecting legacy characters etc, but this interpretation of Bruce feels like it wasn’t fleshed out, just useful to the story in motivating Flash. There were some really epic fighting sequences with Keaton or his stunt double, and we do see some new toys and gadgets being used in fun ways. Great seeing the Batwing again, but I just wish it was with a better story.
It’s such a mixed bag for me. For every story decision I loved, there was another I didn’t. There are some really good and emotional themes of loss, about not being able to change the past, and your scars making you who you are. There are fantastic visuals when it comes to Barry’s speed and what he can do with it, but there are also so many uncanny valley moments that director Andy Muschietti had to have noticed, or maybe that was even his intention. For a film relying so heavily on effects the moments that are big need to be perfect, but it was a constant distraction. I didn’t like Ezra Miller. Their performances were overacted, had over-explain jokes that rarely landed, and often feel like that friend you hate to go to the movies with because they will. not. stop. talking.
If you end up seeing The Flash and having a great time that is awesome and you should enjoy it! This feels like such a slam dunk for DC to get me to love this movie- but sadly it just did not work.