Development of a Flash movie started back in the late 1980s with a script by comic book writer Jeph Loeb. There have been many notable people tasked with bringing the character to the big screen like David Goyer, Geoff Johns, Shawn Levy, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, James Wan, Rick Famuyiwa, and even George Miller. The character was finally seen on movie screens in two short scenes in Zach Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. He made another cameo in Suicide Squad, then became a bigger member of the Justice League.
Needless to say, the Flash has had a long and difficult road in trying to get a starring role, but I am glad the film is finally here. I have long been critical of the Snyderverse, but one of the highlights of these films was Ezra Miller’s version of The Flash. Miller brought a sense of fun and lightness where so many of the other characters were extremely serious and dramatic. I was hesitant going into this film because of the serious issues Miller engaged in, and also the knowledge that James Gunn is resetting this universe after Blue Beetle and Aquaman 2 are released later this year. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film.
This film hopes that you have a fairly strong memory of the events of Man of Steel from 2013 because a lot of the plot hinges on that film. Here, Barry Allen sees himself as the janitor of the Justice League, cleaning up the messes left by the other members, most often Batman. He’s trying desperately to find evidence that will show his father did not commit the murder of Barry’s mom but isn’t able to do so. This is the end of his father’s appeals and all seems lost. Barry in a fit of sadness and rage, runs faster than he ever has before and realizes he can travel through time. Against the advice of Batman, he risks the Butterfly effect and travels to the past to try and save his mother’s life.
Barry is successful in saving his mother, but he finds himself in an alternate universe where there are no Meta Humans, no Aquaman, no Wonder Woman, and no Superman. This is the universe where Michael Keaton’s Batman does exist, but he’s retired and a recluse in Wayne Manor after making Gotham one of the safest cities in the nation. General Zod once again arrives on Earth and plans to terraform the planet into a new version of Krypton. The Flash, his younger self, Keaton’s Batman, and Superman’s cousin Kara must join together to stop the alien invasion.
The film has some really fun, amusing, and creative moments, and there were numerous times I laughed out loud. My main issue with the film is the really awful CGI that completely took me out of the movie at times. There is a scene early in the movie where Barry Allen uses his speed to save babies from a collapsing hospital, but is brought down by CGI babies which will haunt my dreams tonight. When Barry is able to view past moments and travel through time, the CGI looks like it was rendered for a Playstation 2 machine. Other times, the effects are passable, but they never reach the standard modern audiences expect. The final battle with Zod and Barry’s struggle to return the multiverse to normal takes a little too long, the film overall moves briskly and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Let me be absolutely clear. The things Ezra Miller has done are awful and I do not condone or justify their actions in any way. Their version of multiple Barry Allen’s works for me. The character finally gets a chance to star and Miller brings a lot of heart and humor to the roles. I have not seen the Flash TV series, I haven’t read a lot of Flash comics, so Miller’s version is by far the one I am most familiar with. Some of the audience members tonight said they wish the role had been given to Grant Gustin, but I can’t argue that one way or the other.
I would say Wonder Woman is the crown jewel of the DCEU and is the best origin film since the original Superman. I would put The Flash in second place, with Aquaman probably third. It’s funny, it’s creative, and it’s just fun. I had a blast with it and would be ok if James Gunn brings Miller back to play the role in the future. My gut says this is the last time we see this version of the Flash on screen and will be played by another actor the next time the character gets the call. If that’s the case, Miller goes out on a high note. It’s not perfect, but it’s one of the best of the DCEU. I initially gave it an A-, but it may drop to a B+ after thinking about it more. I do plan on seeing it again and recommend you check it out.