Barry Allen uses his super speed to change the past, but his attempt to save his family creates a world without super heroes, forcing him to race for his life in order to save the future. (from IMDb.com)
Oh, the mess that WB has made out of their DC cinematic universe. Knowing that their whole decade-long, established superhero movie universe is currently in the process of being rebooted from scratch, it makes a movie like The Flash seem superfluous. But I suppose when a studio previously put so many eggs (and over $200 million) into one theatrical basket, you kind of have to see things through. Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the frequent trouble that titular star Ezra Miller has found himself in in recent months -- to the point where it definitely had an impact on the box office performance of this movie. There's so much stacked against The Flash before it even hits the silver screen that one has to wonder what kind of chance it actually has.
Many have already asked, so... how exactly bad IS The Flash? As one can imagine, The Flash feels like the Frankenstein's monster that the movie has rumored to have become. I skipped seeing this one in the theaters because, for one, I couldn't bring myself to support a movie financially that features Ezra Miller in such a prominent role, and I just also think he's a terrible choice to play The Flash. (And seriously, what's the deal with how he swings his arms while he runs? So weird.) Grant Gustin was such a great version of the character on TV, and then we have this ultra goofy, ultra awkward version that Miller plays. It just doesn't work for me. Add in the multiple counts of domestic violence that Miller has been involved in, and who would want to fork over money to see this guy perform in a film? (I figured I'd just wait till we get our review copy to finally see just what kind of hot mess this movie is.)
The Flash opens with Barry Allen sporting a new (and much better, let's make that crystal clear here) suit and working with Batman and Alfred to help people in need. This devolves into what is easily the most cringy scene in the entire movie, where The Flash is trying to find food to "fuel up" just as an entire hospital ward full of babies crashes through a collapsing hospital building and they plummet towards certain death. That's a little silly of a concept alone, but to make everything so much worse, each baby -- every single baby -- is also a millisecond away from colliding with an obstacle that will either disfigure them in some way or kill them before they hit the ground (be it acid, flames, broken glass, etc). Just as you think Barry is reaching to save them, he breaks into a falling vending machine, stuffs his face wtih junk food to elevate his energy, and then saves the infants by throwing a bed pan to knock debris out of the way, or hide a baby in a microwave to shield it from fire. (You read that right. I realize it's not an active microwave, but there was something about that visual that made my fatherly instincts uncomfortable.) Folks, it's such a terrible sequence that I wouldn't fault anyone for turning off the movie or walking out of the theater at this point. To make matters worse, while this is happening, we get moments from Ben Affleck's Batman chasing a Hummer filled with bad guys through the streets of Gotham, and everything involving Batman is so much more interesting and entertaining. I'm sure I'm not the only viewer who felt like he'd rather be watching that kind of movie instead one about Miller's Barry Allen.
It was almost instantly jarring when the movie suddenly follows Allen to his job in a crime lab, where even no one there likes him. If you're trying to endear us to the movie's central hero, you're off to a terrible start. If our hero is kind of a loser, he should be a lovable loser... not an annoying one. Miller also plays Barry super goofy and spastic most of the time, which doesn't help. But then, all of a sudden, something strange happens, and Barry is given a serious moment that almost makes things fall into place. Usually this involves his parents in some way, but it's in these moments that I realize, when Miller plays the character seriously, it kind of works. And then we get another scene, like the one where he's enthusiastically trying to explain how he discovered time travel to Affleck's no-nonsense Bruce Wayne, and your suspicions that Ezra Miller was sorely miscast as The Flash couldn't feel more true. Not only does director Andy Muschietti have trouble finding the movie's tone, but Miller just isn't a strong enough lead to carry an entire movie. This probably became apparent to the production team at some point, too, because even the movie's posters and promotional items spotlight the fact that Michael Keaton returns to his iconic Batman role and Sasha Calle makes her debut as the cinematic version of Supergirl. It's as if they realized, "Hey, we know you could care less about The Flash, or you've become wise to how much of a creep Ezra Miller appears to be, so... come see the movie for Batman and Supergirl! We even brought back Michael Keaton!" Then again, if they know Miller's Flash can't carry the movie on his own, why on Earth would you have most of the movie involve TWO of him? After Barry tries to change history to save his parents, he runs into a younger version of himself - also played by Ezra - and the two end up sharing the screen with each other for most of the movie. What's worse than having Ezra Miller as your movie's lead? Two of him.
As The Flash progresses, it does get better. Bringing Keaton's Batman back is certainly an exciting gift for fans of the original movies (although, having him back in a better movie would have been better for sure). And when Kara, AKA Supergirl, joins the fight, she makes a surprisingly good addition. From the previews, I wasn't feeling Sasha Calle's brooding machismo or performance at all (I mean, she seems more masculine than Miller's Flash), but I did feel she worked way better within the context of the movie. She could have lightened up a bit and had more charm, but she definitely added to the fight sequences. It was also cool to see Keaton's Batman get some fighting scenes in, too. The finale makes room for a wealth of cameos -- almost overwhelmingly so -- that serves as a love letter to the DC films and TV shows of the past six decades and beyond. It almost makes the movie serve as a proper bookend for the current DCEU -- even though the new Aquaman sequel is still on its way. There's also an unexplained cameo that closes out the movie that is a big surprise to anyone who hasn't had it spoiled for them. I might not make a lot of sense, but I have to admit it's fun, especially given everything that preceded it.
Just when I thought The Flash was overall a waste of a movie, Andy Muschietti and company surprised me with a really nice emotional moment (or two?) near the end of the movie. I have to give props to the movie for finally finding its emotional center and exploiting it well, but it also begs the question, is it too little too late? I'm not sure this movie deserves the emotions it evokes at the end, but the fact remains that it still has them. If Muschietti could have kept things grounded for the majority of the film, he may have been able to pull it all together. But, instead, The Flash meanders aimlessly, as if it's blindfolded as it tries to zip through its cinematic journey.
One fun side note I want to mention (just for fun, really) is that, when Barry encounters his younger self in an alternate timeline, we see movie posters hanging in young Barry's bedroom. Several of these posters include Pacific Rim, I Am Legend, and, most curiously, Inception. If you know this particular Warner Bros. movie (what? Does Barry only love Warner Bros. movies?), you'll know that it was directed by Christopher Nolan, who also directed The Dark Knight trilogy. So one has to wonder... does this world, which contains Michael Keaton's Batman, have Nolan's Dark Knight movies in its universe? Hmmmm!
Fun aside, the content for The Flash borders on a hard PG-13 at times. Barry uses the "F" word in the last scene of the movie, and is frequently heard using the "S" word for much of the latter two-thirds of the movie. There's also a scene where Barry takes off running through the streets of the city in regular street clothes, but they burn off of him. When he tears off his flaming threads, we see his side profile totally nude several times, and then his completely bare butt at a distance. For violent content, there's plent of this too, with some stabbings and impalings - which are mostly bloodless - but we do see a bullet move through a character's knee in slow motion, characters getting electrocuted in slow motion, characters sustaining burns, one losing a tooth in slow motion, some bloody facial cuts, and the immediate bloody aftermath of Barry's mom's murder. Some of it is pretty heavy, so I'd take the rating warning into serious consideration.
I also have to mention the dodgy special effects in The Flash. For some scenes, the effects are just fine, but for the awful aforementioned "baby rescue" sequence and nearly every shot during the Flash multiverse "bubble," the effects look no better than The Rock did in The Mummy Returns... which released 22 years ago. For a $200 million movie that's meant to be a special effects spectacle, I'm at a loss for what their plan was here.
I have to admit that The Flash isn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be, or even as bad as I've heard it to be. However, it's nowhere near the praise I've heard for it as well. In a lot of ways, it continues to represent the inconsistent and floundering quality of Warner Bros.' DC movies throughout the years. While it has memorable moments and cameos, it also is an immensely flawed DC superhero entry. It's quite frustrating, too, since it represents yet another wasted opportunity for this franchise. Here's hoping, with James Gunn helming the relaunch of the DC comic cinematic world, The Flash will be seen as one of the last big speedbumps on the way to something much greater.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 8/27/23)
“The Flash” 4K UHD contains the following special features:
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
|Natalie Layne Releases "Amen (At The Piano)" EP Dec. 15|
Fri, 29 Sep 2023 10:50:00 EST
|Blanca Continues Journey of Self-Discovery With Deluxe Edition of Latest Album|
Fri, 29 Sep 2023 10:30:00 EST
|The Dingees Return with New EP, "Dropseeds"|
Fri, 29 Sep 2023 00:30:00 EST
|KJ-52 Drops New Album "Still Standing"|
Thu, 28 Sep 2023 11:40:00 EST
|Chosen Road Makes RFD-TV Debut|
Wed, 27 Sep 2023 22:15:00 EST
|Earnest Pugh Releases Song of Praise and Thanksgiving as Single|
Tue, 26 Sep 2023 22:25:00 EST
|Michael Todd Releases New Book, DAMAGED BUT NOT DESTROYED|
Thu, 28 Sep 2023 03:16:40 +0000
|“YOU MATTER: Heart of the Church” by JFH’s Michael Carder|
Wed, 20 Sep 2023 00:00:23 +0000
|FOX TV’s MasterChef Winner Whitney Miller Announces Grand Opening of Whitney’s Cookies Storefront in Franklin, Tennessee|
Tue, 19 Sep 2023 20:46:41 +0000