The off-screen drama surrounding Ezra Miller has darkened a cloud over this hugely anticipated DC superhero epic. Art vs the artist… there’s of course a much bigger conversation to be had about that at a later date, but for now – and looking at the art as it is – ‘The Flash’ does deliver a truly amazing multiverse adventure. It features a heady mix of retro fan-service, time travel and a compelling and heartfelt story full of emotion.
Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) is trying to rectify past mistakes to save the DC Universe. When going back in time to try and save his mother Nora (Maribel Verdú) – and despite being warned of the ramifications of his actions by Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) – he inadvertently disrupts the timelines and changes things that could lead to an even greater threat… namely General Zod (Michael Shannon) destroying the planet (events that were first detailed in ‘Man of Steel’).
With worlds colliding and everything up for grabs, enlisted to help The Flash fight Zod is Supergirl (Sasha Calle), Batman (Michael Keaton) and, well… Barry Allen. With Barry seeking the help of this timeline’s younger Barry, they look to return the balance of order to the universe, but that might be a harder task than originally thought.
‘The Flash’ really works as a movie thanks to Ezra Miller’s amazing performance. Miller is, essentially, playing double role and gives both Barry Allen’s a distinct and differing personality that works very well onscreen. Their odd-couple dynamic is the heart of this film, and its success does primarily stem from one of the best leading performances this iteration of the DCEU has ever seen. Miller plays each role to a perfect beat, and alongside screenwriters Christina Hodson and Joby Harold’s affecting story, they have crafted a very satisfying and emotional story that completely captivates the viewer.
Elsewhere, the ensemble includes Sasha Calle, who does a very good job as Supergirl. Michael Shannon is always watchable as Zod, the double-act of Ron Livingston and Maribel Verdú easily sells the idyllic dynamic of the Allen household, and Ben Affleck once again reminds us that we were all robbed of a standalone Affleck Batman film. His role is small but pivotal in ‘The Flash’, and he has one of the best action sequences in the film.
‘The Flash’ is also full of amazing cameos from the world of DC including Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. It’s a real shame that this might be her last performance as the character now that James Gunn’s new DC universe is taking shape. Her scene with Miller and Affleck is short but brilliantly played out. Given that this film is a multiverse film, there’s a hell of a lot of cool things that come up onscreen. To reveal any would be a disservice to director Andy Muschietti’s vision, but rest assured that you will love all of the excellent cameos that feature in the movie, including some major historical milestones from the DC archives. The final scene of the film also has a sensational cameo that gained roars of approval in the theatre, which is worth the admission price alone.
The biggest selling point of ‘The Flash’ is definitely the return of Michael Keaton as Batman. For many, including myself, he was the definitive iteration of the character. The summer of 1989 is widely believed to be the birth of the modern summer blockbuster. It was an unprecedented, exciting time for movie fans with Michael Keaton’s Batman and Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones leading the box-office, and every passing week welcomed yet another massive new film release. Now here we are some 34 years later, welcoming Michael Keaton’s Batman and Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones back to once again spearhead another summer of blockbusters. Keaton is in the film much more than I expected, which is a very welcome sight. He effortlessly slips back into the cape and cowl and is magnetic onscreen. I’d pay good money to see him return to do more Batman films. ‘The Flash’ also marks the long-awaited return to the silver screen of one of the greatest movie cars ever created – the 1989 Batmobile! Coupled with breathtakingly accurate recreations of the Batcave and Wayne Manor, the inclusion of the 1989 Batman is the crowning glory of ‘The Flash’.
‘The Flash’ is a very enjoyable summer blockbuster that manages to capture the essence of the character and marries that to some wonderful homages to the legacy of DC Comics. You could say it’s just fan-service, but I think they did a remarkable job in integrating cool retro moments into a narrative that has genuine purpose and heart. There are some CGI moments which aren’t up to par (including some graphics that look like they were taken straight out of ‘The Scorpion King’), but for every dip, there’s a high (like the attention to detail that’s gone into the 1989 Wayne Manor and Batcave). With superb action, lots of humour and Michael Keaton stealing every single scene he’s in, this is a very entertaining DC superhero movie and one that potentially marks the end of an era. If that’s the case. ‘The Flash’ can hold its head up high as easily one of the best superhero movies this wave has ever delivered.
Cast: Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, Ron Livingston, Maribel Verdú, Gal Gadot, Kiersey Clemons, Jeremy Irons, Ian Loh Director: Andy Muschietti Writer: Christina Hodson, Joby Harold Certificate: 12A Duration: 144 mins Released by: Warner Bros Release date: 14th June 2023