PG Score: 7.75/10
The Flash was released in theaters on 6/16/23
Time is a fickle mistress. Regret and loss can weigh heavy on a soul, but what would you do if you could change something in your past? The Flash runs with that concept and brings us along for the ride down the multiversal rabbit hole.
Visually, the movie was a mixed bag. There were some amazing action sequences, especially when our heroes team up and have the epic climactic battle. But then there are several scenes spread throughout the film that just look bad. Shot purposefully, the unique look into the Speed Force just didn't work for me. I understand the concept of Barry Allen moving so fast and having an enhanced perspective that us mere mortals don't have, but it was CGI-heavy. While I enjoyed the story of the scene, I was bummed out by the subpar visuals.
Another issue with the CGI is when Ezra Miller's (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) Barry Allen meets himself in the past. We have seen it done effectively in other franchises, but the ball was dropped here. When said characters are standing next to each other it is very clear that someone has a digitized face. Visiting the Speed Force was cool, but I'm not quite sure they pulled it off to its best capability. It wasn't always clear what was going on and it is something James Gunn and company can work on in the future.
Story wise, The Flash was a lot of fun. Its 144-minute run goes by in the blink of an eye (flash, it was right there, I should have used "in a flash!"). We had already met Barry Allen in the multiple versions of Justice League, but never truly got to know the character. He is driven by his tragic past, as most superheroes are, but he has the one thing that other heroes don't: the ability to use his powers to go back in time.
That is a strong question throughout the film. Does he have the moral right to go back in time to fix something, knowing it could damage the future? The plot is straight to the point and that's a good thing.
The soundtrack to the film has some high notes. Some enjoyable songs from different eras help the bigger action scenes of the films, making them a lot of fun and had me tapping my foot along with it. The film also gave us our 3rd perspective on the events in Man of Steel (2013) when Metropolis was almost destroyed. That event had a huge impact on Ben Affleck’s (Air) Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and it’s come full circle this time around.
The Flash Performances
The highly anticipated return of Michael Keaton (Birdman) was everything you wanted. Older, wiser, and just as deadly, Keaton as Bruce Wayne is funny and the hero you remember from 1989. Personally, I think Keaton is involved in all the highlights of the film and makes The Flash worth seeing.
Ezra Miller, despite all the personal noise, is a tremendous actor. Pulling more than double duty, he gives each variation of his character their own nuances and ticks. The dual role is a credit to Miller and the contrast in characters easily separates the performances. He's funny and charming and the weight of his mother's death in his childhood carries across multiple realities.
The Boston-born (go Patriots!) Sasha Calle shines bright in the sun in her limited screen time. With the opposite upbringing to her cousin Clark Kent, she has a vulnerability and anger that comes off the screen, while still possessing a heart that has her teaming up with the good guys in the pseudo-Justice League that battles the Kryptonian baddies of her home world.
An Admirable Job
To borrow from Iron Man in another time-traveling movie, "you mess with time, it tends to mess back." With numerous cameos along the way, DC's first dive in the multiverse was a fun, but flawed ride. The Flash does a lot of things well, but it’s far from a perfect film. Andy Muschietti (It) had a lot to deal with directing this film, from the studio's change in leadership, to characters being let go, to the reboot of the entire DC franchise, to the star of the film having major personal issues. Despite all that, he delivered a fun film that I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to in the future. Will this end up being a flash in the pan? I hope not, but I guess time and money will tell.