Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Barry Allen uses his super speed to change the past, but his attempt to save his family creates a world without superheroes, forcing him to race for his life in order to save the future.
Review: We’ve come a very long way when it comes to superhero movies. There was once a time when the idea of seeing legions of our favourite heroes and villains on screen seemed like a pipe dream, and us comic book fans would sit around daydreaming about who would make the best Magento, Superman or Wolverine.
Fast forward about four decades and we arrive at a time when we’ve gotten so much more than we could imagine, but there’s a saying when it comes to getting everything you want. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I do know the recent lull in how well these movies are performing might be an indication we’re ready to go back to simpler times when we weren’t bombarded by action sequences with world-ending consequences and just get back to when our favourite hero punched our favourite bad guy in the face. All of this being my long-winded way of saying The Flash is at its best when the story focuses on Barry Allen’s journey of grief and acceptance and not so much when hundreds of nameless goons are going boom.
Taking inspiration from one of DC’s most epic and well-received comic tales Flashpoint, The Flash tells the story of Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) who is on a journey to prove his father’s innocence in his mother’s tragic death. All of this while he’s also reluctantly working with the Justice League. He sees himself as unimportant to the team, calling himself their “janitor”. After it looks like his dad Henry (Ron Livingston) will lose his appeal Barry discovers he can run fast enough to access other timelines and works towards preventing his mother’s murder with the hope that he can get his family back. You don’t have to have read a comic book to know messing with time never works out as Barry learns his changes have created a world where metahumans no longer exist.
So, let’s quickly get the elephant out of the room and back into the wild. Ezra Miller has had A LOT of personal issues and most viewers probably went into this movie wondering what to expect from his performance. Whatever you might think of him in the real world, it’s hard not to commend Miller’s turn as Barry Allen (both versions) as rock solid and goes a long way in making this movie more than just another foray into the world of superheroes. The character is portrayed as possibly being on the autism spectrum or maybe the trauma he went through as a child affected his ability to connect with others and the world around him. Whatever the case, Ezra Miller’s performance pulled every emotion from me it was looking for and I’m not ashamed to admit I choked up more than once as he went through the very difficult process of dealing with his mother’s death.
Of course, he’s not the only actor nailing it here as we have my personal contender for best Batman ever returning in the form of Michael Keaton. He absolutely nails it as an older, wiser, slightly unhinged but still badass Bruce Wayne/Batman. And while fan service might make some groan out loud whenever it pops up on screen this was one of those times it not only worked, but it also made sense and fit perfectly into this version of DC’s Flashpoint story.
I won’t go into every face that makes an appearance here other than to say some worked like gangbusters and some just made me shrug. I will add that Sasha Calle’s version of Kara Zor-El was another element I thoroughly enjoyed, and I hope to see her again in the future.
Now you can’t have a superhero story without big action sequences and a ton of special effects. For the most part these land (with a superhero pose) and delivered visual moments that made me smile. I thought the multiverse or speed force stuff looked great and the action sequence where Batman and the Flashes teamed up to break Kara out of a heavily guarded prison was also a fun watch. The costumes were brightly coloured and popped on screen and the sound design enhanced these moments well.
That said, there were way too many moments where the shoddy CGI totally pulled me out of the scene. As fun as the opening was, it’s hard to forgive The Flash looking so rubbery when we’ve seen Quicksilver flawlessly pull off a similar sequence in X-Men: Days of Future Past with much MUCH better results, and I still think the way he runs looks super ridiculous. Based on the laughter I heard in the cinema every time he did his weird flailing arms thing, I know I’m not the only one who wishes they changed that.
So wonky visuals aside, as I mentioned earlier, I think The Flash is at its best when things slow down. Ironic I know, but his conversations with other Barry (shout out to all the Archer fans) both Bruce Waynes and his mom are just some of the best parts of the story and lend a whole lot of weight to the proceedings. We need to connect with the characters beyond their heroics as the Guardians of the Galaxy movies have proven, so when the stakes are higher in those big action moments we genuinely worry about their fates. DC needs to do this more in their films.
The Flash is a mixed bag of shining moments and missed opportunities. For instance, the final battle sequence with Zod felt oddly out of place here and although it plays into the main story, I think it if it was replaced with a battle between The Flash and a certain someone (no spoilers, so I won’t say his name) the ending would’ve been even more gut wrenching and therefore resonate more with the audience. Still, as DC movies go this is one of their better ones. Director Andy Muscheitti brought a lot of heart and laughter to this outing and hopefully this is a sign of better things to come for the universe Flash built. And if you don’t know what I mean by that, go read Flashpoint. Seriously guys, it’s the best!
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
Have you seen The Flash. What did you think of it? And you can check out more great DC content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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