NO SPOILERS REVIEW
Last night I went to a screening of The Flash about a month before the actual release. This was an invitation extended by DC to local comic shops in the area to promote the film(I imagine). I went into the movie with the attitude, “at least I’m not paying to support the project and the lead actor.” I’d been struggling with whether to see the movie in the theater and experience Michael Keaton as Batman on the big screen or to stay strong in support of the whole fiasco and the actor playing The Flash. This screening was the answer to the problem. I still went in with low expectations as I’ve been disappointed by quite a few DC films over the last 8 years(and actually vowed at one point to stop paying to go to the theater to support and be disappointed by them).
There was quite a crowd to see the movie, lots of die-hard comic and movie fans and comic book slingers. There was a sense of excitement in the air, but not overwhelmingly. I imagine, like me, many were hesitant about the project and situation in general due to all its setbacks and troubles but were still curious. The theater was small to midsize and was entirely filled by film start. There were a few cosplayers, but mostly just superhero shirts. Of course, I donned a Batman shirt as his appearance in the movie was the real reason for me to see it. Before the movie started, a message from DC stated, “this was not the final version of the film,” which felt odd. To confirm this notion, no end credits were shown, and therefore no end credit scenes were shown.
First Things First
Multiple trailers out for this film give a lot of its contents and characters away, so all of that is fair game and should be general knowledge. As evident from the trailer, Michael Keaton’s Batman is in this film, as is Ben Affleck’s Batman in a new-looking suit. There is a (we’ll call her) “Supergirl” to avoid any sense of spoilers also evident in the trailer as well as two Barry Allens. Lastly, Michael Shannon’s Zod appears as teased in the trailer. Aside from this info and the plot details provided in the trailers, I won’t give anything else away story or character-wise.
The Flash is a buddy comedy with the two Barry’s being the buddies. Sorry if that doesn’t sound good to you, but hold out for the Batman stuff. I had no idea it would be a comedy or that I would laugh even a few times. I would say this movie contrasts with the Snyderverse, which is interesting as it should be a part of it. Perhaps it was an attempt at transitioning out of the dark style of the Snyder movies, but that’s a comment for later.
The basic plot proposed in the trailer is that Barry, who has lived without his parents, wants to go back in time to change that. The problem is that when Barry makes the change, it affects many other things resulting in the return of Zod, Keaton’s Batman, and more chaos.
I liked seeing Flash run. No, not the slowed time stuff or the appearing in an instant here and there. I didn’t like any version of Justice League, and I especially didn’t enjoy any of Flash’s scenes. I don’t know how well the slowed-time lightning movement/run works for this character in general, but that’s what I’m referring to. This movie has another fun and long overdue style of showing Flash run that works well that we haven’t really seen before, in addition to the others. This immediately shows how cool The Flash’s power is and how neat he can be as a character.
Of course, I liked the Batman stuff. I will say, though, that I liked Affleck’s Batman more in this film than any previous one. Maybe it was the new suit or just a more conservative appearance from the character. The Keaton Batman scenes, suit, dialogue, etc were all delightful, and his return( since Batman Returns) was handled very well as far as this Batman fan is concerned. It’s too bad we missed out on more of him in the scrapped Batgirl movie. I’d say there’s about a 50/50 chance of him returning again somewhere soon just because of how fans will take to him coming back and how well he pulls it off.
The movie is full of action sequences of varying styles, and it keeps the film feeling fresh and fun. It doesn’t matter who the focus of the action is; all the characters deliver intense and thrilling action sequences. They all also seem to get equal attention when it comes to fights, so there’s diverse action as well. It only makes sense that the movie about “The Fastest Man Alive” has a lot of fast-paced action. This movie needed to be fun to watch, and it is.
The movie I saw is not the final version. But we’re only a month out, so how different could the CGI be? On top of that, why would DC want to show crowds an unfinished movie a month ahead of the opening? There’s a lot of CG in the film, so be prepared. At times it looks great, but there are certainly quite a few moments where I thought it did not.
Plot/ Plot Holes
I obviously can’t say much here, but when the movie is all said and done, how it is handled seems odd. Sometimes you wonder why they do a thing, and sometimes you never get an answer.
I was pleasantly surprised by the movie being a comedy and having a lot of comedic moments and lines. There are definitely some one-liners that will be remembered and repeated. Unfortunately, the humor often goes a little far, and it’s a little too ridiculous. It feels less like The Flash is a light-hearted character and more like The Flash is an idiot and an annoying one at that. Comedy is subjective, but I can say while I did laugh at some moments, which I don’t always do, I sighed a number of others.
Whose movie is it anyway?
The fact that the poster for The Flash’s first live-action movie has Batman and a Supergirl on it is discouraging and puzzling. It shows a lack of faith in Flash and its material. It is fantastic that we get to see these other characters, but did we need to exploit them just to get people in the seats? Maybe the metrics said yes, which again is discouraging but understandable with the lead actor’s current reputation.
When it comes down to it, I just didn’t enjoy watching two Ezra Miller Barry Allens for two hours. It may be because of the stories outside the movie, but it’s not entirely that. Many actors could have filled this role, and while I like the somewhat unique casting, it didn’t work out this time. TV’s Flash is an excellent example of proper casting. I’ll say this was Miller’s best outing as Barry, but not something I’m craving more of.
The worst part about this movie is that I liked it, and it has a lot of potential for future films. This should be a good thing, but this movie stops here because of the Snyderverse/The Rock/Ezra Miller/DC bad decisions. I don’t believe anything connected to this movie will come out in the future. This movie is a dead end which in some ways helps with the reset and the chance for a DC Rebirth(to steal a title from the comics). There will be plenty of what-ifs and some should-have-been. Still, in the end, it is likely a standalone Flash movie with actors and character iterations from a universe gasping its last breaths.
Despite the negatives, I enjoyed The Flash. I’m glad Batman was there, regardless of the reason. Sadly, the movie would be missing its driving force if Batman wasn’t there. I went in expecting nothing and got quite a few things for free. I would not have regretted paying for this movie, and I imagine plenty will pay to see it more than once. There are also some surprises we didn’t know we needed to see that add icing to an enjoyable cake. I give The Flash 3 out of 5 Batman references.