The Flash
The speeder’s solo outing features a fun return of Michael Keaton as Batman, but is marred by a weak story and terrible CGI.

The Flash

Release Date: June 16, 2023
Runtime: 02:24
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.

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The superfast superhero inadvertently disrupts the timeline in The Flash. Barry Allen () is a forensic investigator, who as The Flash is a member of the Justice League led by Batman (). Barry is distraught that he is missing a vital piece of evidence to exonerate his father Henry () for the murder of his mother Nora ().

Discovering that he can travel back in time after entering the speed force, Barry decides to go back in time and change a small event to prevent his mother's murder. However, after being attacked by a dark figure, Barry finds himself in an alternate 2013, where he encounters his 19-year-old self, who is only just receiving his super-speed powers. When General Zod () begins his invasion of Earth, Barry is shocked to discover that Superman is nowhere to be found, nor is the rest of the Justice League. However, Barry does track down an older Bruce Wayne (), who helps the two versions of The Flash save Supergirl Kara Zor-El () from the Russians, in an attempt to stop Zod.

The Flash Synopsis

The Flash is the solo adventure for the youngest member of the Justice League directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama, IT). The story is loosely based on the Flashpoint storyline from the comics, where The Flash finds himself in an alternate timeline. This allows for the film to be a reset of the DCEU, allowing for future films to go in a rebooted direction.

The Flash is notable for having Michael Keaton return to the role of Batman for the first time since Batman Returns more than three decades the go. The film also introduces The Young and the Restless alum Sasha Calle as a new version of Supergirl, the first time the character has appeared in a film since the Helen Slater starring film from 1984. Together, Batman and Supergirl join with two versions of The Flash in an attempt to stop General Zod from destroying Earth.

My Thoughts on The Flash

Before the rebooted DCU under the leadership of James Gunn and Peter Safran, The Flash is one of the remnants of the old DCEU, aka the “SnyderVerse,” which began a decade ago with Man of Steel in 2013. Retroactively, The Flash is being positioned as the reason for the upcoming reboot, as some things will change, while others stay the same.

I try to keep the personal lives of filmmakers and actors out of my opinions of films, but I would be amiss not to address the elephant in the room which is Ezra Miller. It was about a year ago that Miller got into a lot of legal hot water, which I am not going to get into too much detail about. However, it is quite apparent the damage these incidents caused to Ezra Miller's reputation has ended up hurting the film.

Putting aside what they do when the cameras are not rolling, Miller is still somewhat charming with their geeky performance as two different versions of Barry Allen. The time travel narrative allows for The Flash to act as an origin story for the character, despite already having been introduced previously in Justice League. The older Barry ends up losing his powers in the same accident that gives them to his younger self, so much of the film sees him mentoring himself.

Then there is Michael Keaton's much-hyped return as Batman. While it is indeed neat seeing the now 71-year-old actor return to the role that helped turn Keaton into a superstar, the appearance does come off as little more than fan service. At the very least, Keaton has a larger presence in the film than Sasha Calle as Supergirl, which is a shame, since she stood out in the role.

While it's fun seeing Keaton and several other cameos throughout the film, the story of The Flash is decidedly a weak one. While Michael Shannon as General Zod, replaying the events from Man of Steel, is technically the main antagonist of the film, he doesn't factor too much in the plot of the film. Instead, The Flash features a number of CGI-heavy action sequences, which features much uncanny valley nightmare fuel, such as raining babies during a hospital rescue.

While The Flash is hardly a terrible film, it is not a terribly great one either. While the fan service is enjoyable, the film is hurt by the way the CGI looks, whether it was intentional or not. Ultimately, The Flash ends the SnyderVerse with a whimper and we'll have to wait and see if James Gunn and Peter Safran can truly salvage the DCU.

Trailer for The Flash

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.