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The Flash (2023): Entertaining and Highly Frustrating

The Flash 2023 movie poster

Oh boy, Ezra Miller. Where should I even start? Back in 2014, Miller was an up-and-coming indie film star with roles from movies such as The Perks of being a Wall Flower and We Need to Talk About Kevin, and was on top of the world getting the role of The Flash in 2017, along with becoming a part of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. But somewhere along the line, they sort of went a little nuts. It started out with an incident of assaulting a fan in Iceland back in 2018, and if this was an isolated incident Miller would have bounced back no problem. Then 2022 rolled around and Miller decided to pull a Reverse Flash and wreak a little havoc on the people of Hawaii and commit a slew of other crimes across the United States. That wasn’t even the worst part, Warner Bros absolutely refused to do anything about that during this time remaining silent. We’ve seen studios take action for far less atrocious acts, such as James Gunn with his “offensive tweets”.

Barry Allen (played by Ezra Miller) is called in to save people in a collapsing hospital as Bruce Wayne (played by Ben Affleck) chases down some thugs who stole a lethal virus. After the day is saved, Barry returns to his normal life as he tries his best to get his father released from prison after being wrongfully convicted of murdering his mother. Barry comes up with the idea to go back in time to save his mom from meeting her gruesome fate, but unexpectedly messes up the timeline. In this new timeline, meta humans no longer exist and with no one to stop General Zod (played by Michael Shannon) from destroying Earth, Barry must team up with an older Batman (played by Michael Keaton), Supergirl (played by Sasha Calle) and an alternate version of himself in addition to fixing the timeline to make things right.

Sasha Calle as Supergirl in The Flash

I’d like to point out that this film had a lot of controversy surrounding it during its development, mostly involving Miller’s acts of violence in addition to abducting and grooming a child. However, Warner Brothers decided to go forward with the release of The Flash since it was close to being a finished film. And while practically no one wanted to see this film, fans were enticed with the return of Michael Keaton as Batman in addition to newcomer Sasha Calle as Supergirl. And do the two of them prevent this film from being a complete dumpster fire? Surprisingly, yes! Michael Keaton proves once again that he is irreplaceable as The Caped Crusader, slipping back into his reclusive, yet iconic role as if the past thirty years didn’t happen. He effortlessly conveys Bruce’s broken psyche and trauma, yet doesn’t feel “emo” in the way that many seemed to complain about Robert Pattinson’s take on the Dark Knight. And Sasha Calle is a force to be reckoned with as the Last Daughter of Krypton, bringing nuance and charm to her interpretation of Kara Danvers. While we may not have gotten as much time as we would have liked with Supergirl, she left an impression that all fans will love. Hopefully she’s attached to the Supergirl project that is in development at DC.

Now I enjoyed the film as a summer blockbuster in theaters. But upon arriving home, I began to think harder on the film as a whole and felt rather confused and disappointed. Compared to Across The Spiderverse, another multiverse movie, its themes are completely reversed. Instead of fighting destiny, The Flash presents it as inescapable; with Barry’s mother dying being a fixed point in the multiverse. However, he still decides to make a small change to the timeline by changing the placement of tomato cans to help his father 20 years down the road. And this still alters the timeline by having George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne appear at the end, and Barry learning nothing at all about the fragility of the multiverse. I’ve heard many people describe The Flash as a poor man’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and after watching and thinking about it, I have decided that this isn’t the case. Spider-Man: No Way Home actually had a plot and more importantly, made proper use of its cameos. The Flash, on the other hand, wasted its cameos and failed to deliver a solid story, with its lead failing to undergo any form of growth whatsoever.

Michael Keaton as Batman in The Flash

The Flash made back only $267.6 million on a budget of about $220 million, making it one of the biggest flops for Warner Brothers. As such, any and all planned sequels and spin-offs revolving around any of the film’s characters, such as Michael Keaton’s Batman, were scrapped entirely. This is rather sad to see as I really enjoyed seeing Keaton’s Dark Knight return to the big screen and wished we saw more of him. Some blame Zack Snyder fans for boycotting the film, but I think it’s largely due to poor advertising, as I frequently forgot that The Flash was coming out to theaters. I think this highlights a bigger problem in DC recently, as most of their films seem to suffer from poor advertising. While Marvel seems to have the opposite problem of too much advertising, DC is on the completely other side of the spectrum, which surprisingly, is hurting both their box office performances. Due to this failure, any plans of a reported Batman Beyond movie with Keaton as an older Bruce Wayne as well as any future projects involving Keaton were scrapped, including the Batgirl movie.

Overall, I found The Flash a very frustrating movie to watch. While the cameos are fun, they are almost completely ruined due to being featured in the trailers. Just imagine how the audience would react if we had no idea we’d see Michael Keaton’s Batman or Nicolas Cage’s Superman? It’d be like if Spider-Man: No Way Home had Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire featured in the trailers. Additionally, due to poor advertising, a highly controversial lead, shoddy CGI, and a disjointed and cluttered story, it’s no wonder The Flash was considered a box office disaster for Warner Brothers and DC. While Barry Allen might be The Fastest Man Alive, even he can’t outrun the multiple problems that are present in The Flash.

The Flash 2023 George Clooney cameo

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