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The Flash Review

A couple of years after the events of Justice League, Barry Allen is starting to master his powers as The Flash. Unfortunately, not much else is going well for him. He feels like a fourth-rate member of the superhero team, he is not respected at his job as a forensic scientist, and his love life is going nowhere.

Barry has also been unable to find the evidence to exonerate his father in the murder of his mother. With his personal life and private life running in place, Barry finds himself reflecting on the untimely death of his mother.

The Flash Review

While reminiscing about his late mother, Barry makes an extraordinary discovery – his powers allow him to go back in time. Barry quickly realizes he can travel into the past and save his mother.

He consults with Bruce Wayne who advises him against it, but Barry does so anyway. Unfortunately, his actions have unexpected consequences.

The Flash Review

After saving his mother, Barry returns to the present to discover himself in an entirely new timeline where everything is different. The Justice League not only doesn’t exist, but the very heroes who have saved the world on so many occasions were never created.

To make matters worse, General Zod arrives on Earth to terraform the planet and there is no one to stop him. In a desperate effort to save the one world where his mother is alive, Barry teams with his younger self to search for this new world’s Batman and Superman. However, they aren’t exactly what he was expecting.

It’s amazing to me that Warner Brothers and DC have finally found the tone they were looking for with The Flash just as they’re about to tear their cinematic world down and start over. By taking the action of the Zack Snyder movies and combining it with a little of the humor from Shazam, they end up with a crowd-pleasing superhero film that puts them on par with the Marvel movies. And while it is clearly fan service, it’s enjoyable fan service.

Fans of the DC movies from the ’80s walk away happy. Fans of the Snyder films will be happy. And The Flash introduces fun new characters and worlds that keep audiences engaged. When you throw in elements that will entertain young fans as well as adults, the result is a summer film that will undoubtedly entertain everyone.

Ezra Miller returns as Flash and recreates the magic from Justice League. Ezra is funny, frantic, and emotional. You inevitably gravitate towards the character. But that role is enhanced by adding 18-year-old Barry into the mix.

Miller plays these two contrasting versions of the character perfectly where we see how the presence of Barry’s mother affected his personality and outlook on life differently. It’s an interesting character study played out against the backdrop of a superhero drama.

The real treat for me was seeing Michael Keaton back in action as Batman. With him in the costume and the Danny Elfman theme playing, I couldn’t help but be taken back to 1989. It made me really want to see a reteaming of Burton and Keaton for one last crack at The Dark Knight.

But we get a new look at an aging Bruce Wayne who is an eccentric recluse. Keaton has a lot of fun getting “nuts,” so it’s interesting to see that new aspect of the character. Keaton is such a strong presence in the film that when you factor in Ben Affleck as Batman as well, this almost becomes a Batman movie rather than a Flash movie. And that’s okay.

Sasha Calle is a new addition to the DC movies as Supergirl. Calle is engaging every moment she’s on the screen. She’s tough, angry, and broken. She’s an interesting contrast to Barry and it’s remarkable that she makes Bruce Wayne look like the well-adjusted member of the team. I felt like her character was somewhat shortchanged by the end of the movie, but hopefully the door is open for her to return for some more adventures later.

There are a lot of fun action sequences in The Flash, but one of the most memorable is the opening scene where Barry must save a number of characters falling from a building with his fuel tank running on empty. The scene is hilarious and immediately sets the tone for the rest of the film. As I watched it I thought, “I can’t believe they’re doing this,” then it took things to another level of ridiculousness that was perfect (and revisited in the end credits).

All that being said, the action highlight ends up being Batman and Co. raiding a secret Russian base. Seeing Keaton, his stunt double, and CGI double in full combat is one of the highlights of the year.

The Flash has a lot of Easter Eggs and cameos that I won’t spoil here, but they are the thing that this film will mostly be remembered for. What Andy Muschietti was able to pull together was extraordinary. I’m hoping that momentum can be continued under James Gunn‘s reign. And note there is an end credits scene, but it’s kind of a letdown compared to all the other cameos in the film.

Let’s address the elephant in the room – Ezra Miller. Ezra is clearly mentally ill and has done a lot of terrible things which have all been played out in the press. It’s not an easy thing to set aside and forget while watching The Flash. It makes you wonder why these studios aren’t doing more background checks on the actors they are building tentpole films around.

I hope Ezra gets help and gets back on track, but Miller’s behavior is a shadow that hangs over the whole movie. I hope the success of this film doesn’t become an excuse to further enable Miller’s destructive behavior.

As fun as The Flash is, there’s almost nothing new about it. The whole film has been done before. We’ve seen the super-speed antics done in X-Men: Days of Future Past with Quicksilver. We’ve seen the return of characters from previous films in Spider-Man: No Way Home. We’ve seen the multi-verse and the perils of time travel the week before in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. We’ve seen General Zod in action in Man of Steel and Batman in action in the 1989 Batman. So realistically, The Flash is simply repackaging stuff you already like and re-selling it to you, but it’s fun and you really don’t realize it till you’ve long left the theater.

The Flash is also extremely heavy on CGI of varying quality. It feels like it’s 90% a video game, especially in the finale. You almost never feel like you’re seeing a real actor do action. But again, it’s so much fun it’s forgivable.

The Flash is a lot of fun and well worth seeing on the big screen, especially before all the surprises are spoiled for you. See it in a theater with a lot of DC fans for the best viewing experience.


Warner Bros. Pictures will release The Flash in theaters on June 16, 2023. The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some strong language and partial nudity.

The Flash Review