June 6th, 2023
MOVIE: THE FLASH
STARRING: EZRA MILLER, MICHAEL KEATON, SASHA CALLE, MICHAEL SHANNON
DIRECTED BY: ANDY MUSCHIETTI
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
There are varying outside issues that occurred with The Flash that it’s shocking to see that it’s mildly competent. What it attempts to salvage is commendable but the final result is something bigger than another superhero jaunt. What I do know is that this is a shining example of everything wrong with Hollywood movies today. The star of the film Ezra Miller has been arrested multiple times for disturbing actions, including burglary and violent behavior. Warner Brothers had ultimately sunk so much money into the production that it couldn’t just be canceled the way Bat Girl was scrapped. Then we had the first screenings out of CinemaCon in April, which had some critics claiming it to be “the greatest comic book movie of all time” or that it “brought them to tears”. Such declarations could be true but after seeing it for myself they seem ridiculously indefensible. I left the theater scratching my head, wondering why it fell flat, and looking for answers to the praise. For some viewers, it seems that we are moving on a different timeline of what constitutes a great movie because The Flash is sadly not one of them.
The Flash is the first solo movie for the superhero that runs at blazing speeds. When he’s not running faster than light, he is Barry Allen (Miller), a forensics analyst, who has spent his life trying to prove that his father (Ron Livingston) was innocent in the murder of his mother (Maribel Verdu). We catch up with The Flash helping Batman (Ben Affleck) stop a collapsing hospital. He gladly gets in on the heroics but what is looming is his father’s retrial, and Bruce shows him that the video footage doesn’t help his father’s alibi. In Barry’s anger, he runs as fast as he can, to the point where it looks like he’s in a hamster ball, which is actually a ball of timelines, until something pushes him out, landing in an alternate reality where his mom is alive, Dad is out of prison, and he confronts his own younger college self. It’s Back to the Future–Flash-style.
One major factor for viewers will be how much they can stand Miller. I must admit from the get-go that their performances are both incredibly annoying. The acting is equivalent to nails on a chalkboard. His alternate self is a whiny stoner, his original self is a bumbling idiot, and both never shut up. The story progresses to where the original Barry loses his powers and alternate Barry gains them, but what also isn’t around are metahumans. No Superman, no Wonder Woman, but they do catch up with Bruce Wayne, just not Barry’s Bruce (Michael Keaton reprising his role and undoubtedly the best part). The problem becomes that General Zod (Michael Shannon back in the role) has returned to destroy Earth and the two Barry’s, along with the old Bat, have to find Superman and save the day. What they find in this timeline is Supergirl (Sasha Calle) and with her help, they try to save humanity but the theme becomes about how some outcomes are just meant to be.
What I found incredibly disappointing about director Andy Muschietti’s The Flash was how all the cool revelations had been delivered in the first trailer. Why would they not hold a big moment such as Michael Keaton and Supergirl back for us to experience fresh? Because of that, everything on the screen is something we already saw in the spirit of fan service. They are moments for the viewers to say “Ohhh I remember that ” or giggle at lines Batman said in Tim Burton’s first Batman film (Seriously, who thinks “Let’s get nuts” is some great big line?). Outside of the fan-pleasing, Muschietti salvages the film with Barry’s arc being about regrets and responsibilities, but that becomes a bit redundant on the way to the climax. Even the visuals did nothing for me, the same way Fast X looked bland, it’s a lot of CGI gobbledygook. There may be a great film in here but I wasn’t seeing it.
The Flash is ultimately a great big disappointment. It’s a final product of the time, with various outside issues denting it before release, and then when I finally view it, what remains is a hollow shell. I don’t want my movies to be like this. I want tangible created sets. I don’t want lame green screen sequences of the flash zooming into oblivion. I want great stories of tragedy and heroics. I want marketing teams to not spoil the biggest parts of their films just to get more tickets sold. Maybe these movies are just not made for me anymore. It might be time to go back to a different timeline. Does anybody have a time machine?
THE FLASH IS PLAYING IN THEATERS WORLDWIDE FRIDAY JUNE 16TH, 2023.
Written by: Leo Brady