Barry Allen uses his super speed to change the past, but his attempt to save his family creates a world without super heroes, forcing him to race for his life in order to save the future.
So after many years of drama behind the scenes, The Flash movie is finally here. Excited to also say it was worth the wait. Director Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama) knew the assignment when he signed up to helm this project. While it’s not the best DCEU film it certainly is one of the best, and with that said it would be fantastic if Muschietti returned to direct more films for DC under the new reign led by Peter Safran and James Gunn. It’s a shame the titular star Ezra Miller has so much controversy running around him that it could taint the viewing experience for some moviegoers. However, Ezra being a menace to society will not affect this review in any shape or form.
DC comic book film adaptations aren’t well known for their comedy, but they still possess just enough sprinkled in to create a laugh or two periodically. Though with The Flash character, it leaves room for jokes while simultaneously taking surrounding events seriously. This was the first of many great tropes within this film that make it a triumph. Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), isn’t your typical stereotyped superhero with large muscles, confidence, and a death stare that will haunt you down from miles away. Barry is a soft, silly, non-confident, socially awkward man just trying to get a peanut and jelly sandwich before work. That last part is what grounds him, making him relatable. Also, the social awkwardness that comes across is hilarious. Even when Barry is trying to save the day from an impending doom he’s funny by just the way he carries himself. I found myself laughing hysterically during the first act of the movie, and couldn’t get enough of it. The reactions from the supporting cast added even more laughs and had my face hurting from smiling so much, and we haven’t even reached the thirty-minute mark of the film yet.
The visual representation of his lightning speed, whether he’s just running fast or tapping into the speed force, was a buffet of everything you’d want. The slow and fast motion of his movements and the camera was simply a delight. You’re in awe as you see him showing a full display of his powers and abilities, and it’s all worth your while. The creative team didn’t hold any punches when trying to illustrate what Barry could do with all of his strength. Other members of the Justice League held their weight as well as they should. This is a shared cinematic universe so any cameo was well warranted and helped elevate the film even more.
However, besides all of the superhero comic book stuff, it all means nothing if we don’t care about the character, and this time we do across the board. The relationship that Barry has with his mother and father will make some viewers cry. And if not cry you’ll definitely be able to sympathize with him. Barry is on the brink of destroying the universe which is all triggered by an emotional trigger he has with his mom. This is a popular story from the comic books, and if you’re not familiar with it the film will challenge you to keep your emotions together. Barry’s character is going through the unimaginable and you just want to hug the guy, letting him know everything will be ok. This trauma that Barry has to endure also strengthens the relationship that he has with Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck). It didn’t feel like these were just coworkers, but actual friends with them having so much in common from experiencing the loss of a parent. It was just as satisfying seeing them team up for therapy as it was seeing them duke it out together on the battlefield.
Though everything mentioned prior to this was mainly in the first act of the film. Once we hit the second act the entire motivation and enthusiasm of the film takes a dip. Ezra Miller is playing two different Barry Allen’s in this film. While one of them you love, the other is like an annoying bug, that won’t go away, and lands on your food every thirty seconds at the barbeque you’ve been looking forward to all week. The younger Barry is simply not likeable. This is addressed by other characters within the film, but he still felt like a nuisance. The entire second act also felt like a wasted plot. There was no point in the grand scheme of things and the story could’ve taken another direction that adapted the source material more faithfully. It is hard to discuss without spoiling it, but it was a huge missed opportunity.
Thank goodness Michael Keaton’s Batman shows up. Other than his horrible introduction that was cornier than a cornfield, his addition to the film was great. It’s Batman for crying out loud and one of the originals. His confidence alone was breathtaking and he kicked tons of butt. Both Batman in this film were spectacular, especially with the majority of all of their scenes taking place in the middle of the day. This was nearly a dream come to life for Batman films with their involvement being so satisfying.
There’s a large ton of great comic book lore all over and throughout this film. There are countless cameos, easter eggs, and moments that will make many fans cheer. The diehard fans will catch them all, and the casual viewers will be indifferent, but the main point is it’s fun. The heart of the film though lies with the characters, especially Barry, and the relationship that he has with his mother. Even if you can’t relate to his situation firsthand, you can still feel the weight of the decisions he has to make. It’s a hard one, but the universe itself is counting on it. If only a few missteps had been polished and this was a true adaptation of Flashpoint this had the potential of being one of the best superhero comic book movies of all time. It’s not, but still one that DC should be proud of and that will stand the test of time.