Thursday, June 15, 2023

The Flash - Review


The DC Extended Universe has had more than its fair share of issues since its inception almost a decade ago to the day, but no individual film features the number of behind the scenes issues that The Flash has had. Through numerous directors, a handful of writers, more than a couple of delays, and a star with a variety of crimes to their name, The Flash has finally arrived, and it’s precisely as bad as you’d think.

Worlds collide when the Flash (Ezra Miller) uses his superpowers to travel back in time to change the events of the past. However, when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, he becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod (Michael Shannon) has returned, threatening annihilation. With no other superheroes to turn to, the Flash looks to coax a very different Batman (Michael Keaton) out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian -- albeit not the one he's looking for.

As one can see from the rather long synopsis, The Flash is more than a little complicated in the story department. For the first big screen adaptation of the Scarlet Speedster, the creatives behind the camera have decided that adapting a big multiverse storyline was the clear way to go, narrative coherence be damned. And one sequence towards the end blatantly showcases why that choice was made when the garish CGI creations of DC heroes of the past takes center stage for a solid minute just to get audiences to cheer for what they know.

Of course, the real nostalgic bait is the inclusion of Michael Keaton’s Batman, which seemingly is the only draw for much of the audience making their way to see this on opening weekend. But the issue is, he’s just there for cheap joy. There’s no sense of character to his aging Batman, just the imagery and music of those first two Batman films to fool audiences into enjoying themselves. 

And none of this has even touched on the outright bland and ugly action set pieces. The Flash has a character has interesting abilities but if you don’t know how to use them creatively they become stale. Not to mention the film’s logic of moving normal people at super speed seems to change based on convenience. Throw in some gray backdrops and rubbery CGI and you are left wondering how any individual ever thought to praise this as some of the best comic action to date. 

The one saving grace, if you can call it that, is the presence of Sasha Calle, who even in a limited role of Kara Zor-El, outshines the main star with ease. Speaking of said star, their performances (yes, there are two versions of Barry Allen here) are just as wonky as Justice League and it’s puzzling how they got this role to begin with. But bad performance aside, it’s truthfully just as comforting to know that this version of Flash is going away in favor of a (hopefully) more coherent universe under the steady hand of ones James Gunn. Now let’s get Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom out and put the DCEU out of its misery for good. 

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