The Flash has sky-high expectations. Tom Cruise called it “everything you’d want in a movie” and James Gunn even bombed it “probably one of the best superhero movies ever.” Those expectations, despite being an entertaining film, it definitely does not live up to those expectations.
This is a spoiler-free review of The Flash. This article does contain information about which characters are in the film, which was previously known. Any cameos will not be revealed.
An awkward lead-up
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Ezra Miller. Miller hit the scene several times in recent years in disrepute and that came back in the run-up to the release of The Flash. After proper consultation, Warner Bros. opted to release Miller – despite pleading guilty for trespassing – end up sticking to being the fast-paced superhero anyway. As such, I don’t have much of a problem with that. Miller says he suffers from “complex mental health issues” and has apologized for the missteps made. Should you not want to support the film, I completely understand, but we are reviewing the film for what it is. Miller is obviously not the only one responsible for the film, although the star actor does play an immense role in the last film before the era of James Gunn can officially begin.
Despite giving Ezra Miller in The Flash a fair chance, it must be said that Miller is not a perfect Barry Allen. The actor seems somewhat uncomfortable in the role, and the humor the character has to convey is quite awkward, especially in the beginning of the film. Later in the film, supported by other characters, it does get better and every now and then we can even manage a small smile. The film begins with an intense action scene that immediately sets the tone well. Anyway, there is no shortage of action in DC’s new film. Towards the end this even makes the film a bit chaotic, but overall there are some great segments.
An origin story
After the beginning, the film mainly revolves around how Allen became The Flash, as a kind of spin on the familiar Flashpoint story. Prior to the film’s release, stories came out that this film is supposed to be a new beginning for the DC Universe, a sort of event like Avengers: Endgame that you have to attend to understand the rest. If you’re only looking forward to James Gunn’s slate, by the way, feel free to skip this film. The film feels very much like a superhero movie as we know it from about 15 years ago, where everything has to be explained.
So that starts with the story of how the Speedster got his powers. While this part carries interesting information, it does get chewed out a little too long in the film. In fact, it is fairly redundant, especially since the movie is rather long for a superhero movie. The film only gets really interesting when it introduces a kind of multiverse, as we saw before with Marvel. I’m not a fan of every movie introducing a multiverse from scratch, but with The Flash it provides some interesting cameos and scenes.
In the process, it doesn’t feel as forced as it does in many other films. Among other things, this introduces the character of Michael Keaton, then I’m sure you can guess who it’s about. The caped crusader, which we also saw in the trailers, is one of the absolute highlights of the film. For that alone, it is actually worth visiting the film. The story itself is not entirely captivating, but it is great to see some familiar faces returning.
Lately there has been a big difference between movies in terms of CGI. For example, I recently watched Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3. Whereas the former did not live up to expectations, Guardians by James Gunn was, on the contrary, above expectations in terms of CGI. Overall, The Flash doesn’t even look very bad, but there are definitely some moments in the film that really can’t be in a superhero movie.
Then it’s mostly about the moments when The Flash himself exhibits his powers. When the Speedster runs over long distances it simply looks comical. You don’t get the idea that Allen can run fast, but rather is an above-average roller skater. The lightning that goes past him at times like that doesn’t look too good either, leading us to the conclusion that more time really could have been put into this.
Graphically, the film has its weaknesses, so be sure to take the film with a grain of salt when you do decide to go. After all, in terms of story, it is not always deep either. There is a nice twist toward the end, but the film has to rely mostly on the comedic aspect. The Flash is a fairly light-hearted film that certainly does not take itself too seriously. With that, we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit, but a possible sequel – as previously suggested – is really not necessary from us.
The Flash unfortunately does not live up to high expectations. Ezra Miller as Barry Allen is not perfect and the humor feels awkward at times. This is corrected later in the film with some lighthearted clips, making it quite a comical film at times. The film contains a lot of action, but becomes chaotic toward the end. The story revolves around the origins of The Flash and introduces a multiverse with interesting cameos. Graphically, there are weak moments, especially in the depiction of The Flash’s powers. Despite these shortcomings, the return of Michael Keaton as Batman is a highlight. Overall, The Flash is entertaining, but not particularly profound.