Cast: Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Sasha Caille, Ben Affleck, Michael Shannon
Director: Andy Muschietti
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: June 15th
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.
This movie was planned when the original TV show was released back in 2014, and nine seasons later, here we are. The covid pandemic and the constant revolving door of writers and directors caused sufficient delays in production, with new technology being one of the reasons why the project took so long. Ironically it was a slow-paced process to make it onto the big screen; fast forward to the present day, and we now finally have the highly anticipated superhero blockbuster. Ezra Miller returns as Barry Allen and still works with the Justice League. However, the character calls himself the janitor of the Justice League, as he always has to do the cleanup work while Batman is off chasing after the bad guys. The film opens up with a spectacular sequence in Gotham City involving an explosion, a collapsing building and falling babies; yes, all in that order. Which is fantastic, audacious and lots of fun; after that, the movie starts to unravel, and we learn that The Flash can run so fast that he can travel through time. He is tempted by the notion that he may be able to prevent the murder of his mother and the incarceration of his father, who was falsely convicted of the crime.
Batman (Ben Affleck), who knows a thing or two about dead parents, advises Barry not to time travel, but he does it anyway. But, through some complications, he ends up in a parallel universe where he encounters his younger self and wackiness with Michael Keaton as Batman ensues. The beginning and end of this movie are almost perfect, with an excellent opening scene and a very heartfelt and moving ending in which Ezra Miller handles the emotional beats very well. The movie’s two big significant flaws are the CGI and the fan service overload. Miller did not film their two separate parts individually, unlike Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy (2013) or Nicolas Cage in Adaptation (2002). Instead, there is a heavy reliance on CGI in certain parts of this film where it does not work, and Miller’s face looks fake, sometimes distracting us from the moment. In particular, a fight scene with a mishmash of colours and swirling lights, which looks blurry and goes on for far too long, and gets repetitive. But, for most of this movie, the visual effects are seamless, and the two Barry’s work well together, bringing lots of humour and emotion. The other concern is the frequent use of ‘pat on the back’ for knowing the DC universe so well scenes.
Using easter eggs throughout ‘The Flash’ will appeal to hardcore Batman fans, but it becomes tiresome when they don’t land with ordinary moviegoers. I felt I needed to have read all the comic books and seen all the movies and TV shows to understand the meaning behind some scenes. But ultimately, I still found it very enjoyable, bringing back some nostalgic memories of Keaton as Bruce Wayne. He gives a powerhouse performance and can still kick ass post-retirement; seeing him in scenes that use technology and visual effects that weren’t possible back when they made Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) was exciting. You can’t help but smile when the original Danny Elfman score plays as Batman glides through the midnight sky. Ezra Miller as The Flash was funny and likeable in this, and their timing is always subtle and superb. Sasha Calle, as Supergirl, performs well, but I felt she lacked the energy and charisma that her co-stars give in this film. The movie has some great action scenes, which save it from the mediocre plot—filled with many surprises that will satisfy any Batman fan. It is a great send-off, and I am excited to see what James Gunn will do with it next.