The Flash (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
THE FLASH (2023)
Starring Ezra Miller, Sasha Calle, Michael Keaton, Michael Shannon, Ron Livingston, Maribel Verdú, Kiersey Clemons, Antje Traue, Temuera Morrison, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Rudy Mancuso, Luke Brandon Field, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Jeremy Irons, Nicolas Cage, George Clooney and Ben Affleck.
Screenplay by Christina Hodson.
Directed by Andy Muschietti.
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. 144 minutes. Rated PG-13.
The Flash was always my favorite DC superhero (with the possible exception of Superman), so even though I’m well past my comic book phase, I’ve been keenly waiting for this film. Of course, it turned out to be a longer wait than most anticipated.
It’s sort of a tough time for the speedster. The CW television series of The Flash just limped off the air a few weeks ago, long after the show had jumped the shark, going from a terrific series to one that was barely watchable over the last few seasons.
The character has been on the outskirts of the DC film universe for a while, appearing in Justice League and doing cameos in Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. However, this film has been on hold for a while now – for several reasons. Original plans had it being released in 2018, but a whole series of issues slowed down the speedster.
First of all, the film shuffled through a whole series of potential directors and script revisions. They finally settled on director Andy Muschietti (right off his successful helming of two films based on Stephen King’s IT), but even with Muschietti on board, it was planned to get wide release a year ago.
However, that was right at the time of the DCEU shift from the old Zack Snyder universe to the new conception of the franchise helmed by James Gunn. There were quite a few rumors that the Flash film would be scrapped, both because it was part of the old guard, and also because star Ezra Miller had often been in the news because of a disturbing series of personal and legal issues over recent years.
In fact, honestly, to a certain extent the film was more anticipated because it was going to feature the return of Michael Keaton as Batman, resuming the role for the first time since Batman Returns (1992). In fact, more than even the lead character, I have a feeling that Keaton’s participation in the film was the reason that this film survived and is finally reaching theaters.
It's a good thing that it did, because The Flash is the best DC film since… well… the first Shazam! Of course, this says as much about the overall quality of DCEU efforts as it does about the quality of The Flash. Still, while far from perfect, The Flash is a mostly quite enjoyable time-travel adventure with lots of fun Easter eggs for fans.
Sadly, one of the slight disappointments of the film is Ezra Miller’s performance and Barry Allen / The Flash. In fairness, Miller has many funny moments, but overall he plays the role a bit too broadly, almost like a Randy Rainbow parody of the character. With all of his other issues, it will be interesting to see if Miller continues to play the role in future projects.
The Flash is another one of those comic book films that revolves around a multiverse (I wonder if there will ever be another superhero film that actually stays in one time thread), and while the idea is kind of overdone by now, The Flash does some fun things with it. We get to revisit lots of different variations of superheroes over the years, with Michael Keaton’s Batman and Michael Shannon’s General Zod standing out as fun casting returns.
It's probably best that you go into The Flash not knowing too much of the plot, so I’ll not delve into the storyline too much to avoid dropping any potential spoilers here. The only thing you really need to know is that the nearly two and a half hours of The Flash zips by in an exciting and fun blur, and it’s definitely worth the time.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2023 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 16, 2023.