Desperate to save his mum from dying, Barry Allen travels back in time to change the future. However this sets off a chain of events that cause untold damage!
The elephant in the room for this film is Ezra Miller, the actor who plays the Flash. For the sake of reviewing the film I shall put aside judgement and look at this as an entertainment product… but let’s just say he’s had quite the PR roller coaster ride the past couple of years. However… the character of the Flash has always been one of the most beloved DC characters and in the ‘Snyder-verse’ he was in my opinion underused… unless you watched the four hour epic that was ‘The Snyder Cut’.
‘The Flash’ (Directed by Andy Muschietti, who previously helmed 2017’s ‘IT’) we see a man struggling with trying to exonerate his father and save his mother. Barry (Ezra Miller) travels back in time to save his mum, against the advice of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck’s last appearance as the caped crusader). However he gets thrown into an alternate universe where his mum is still alive and subsequently bumps into a younger version of himself.
However, in this timeline, the Justice League doesn’t exist, just an old Bruce Wayne. Famously reprising the role is Michael Keaton… donning the cowl again after thirty years! However it’s like he never left, he’s a more grizzled Batman that has stopped fighting crime as he has succeeded in making Gotham safe again, but Keaton just does an amazing job. He reiterates the warnings of what Barry has done and now together they must stop General Zod (again played by Michael Shannon) who with no Superman around has come to finish what he started in back in 2013’s ‘Man of Steel’, along with his planet terraforming machine.
The film surprised me with how much heart and humour it has, it is in essence a story of a boy wanting to save his mum, but there are genuine laugh out loud moments, especially with the two Barry’s riffing off of each other. Miller does a good job at portraying both versions of Barry and showing the naivety he had as his character’s younger self.
We are also introduced to Supergirl portrayed by Sasha Calle, who is frustratingly given relatively little screen time for a character that is such a huge part of the DC lore. She makes the most of every scene she’s in and offers a more vengeful take on the character that Mellisa Benoist in the ‘Supergirl’ TV series never got a chance to dabble with. This Supergirl has been imprisoned for years, experimented on and tortured, and now has to be shown that not all humans are what she has experienced. However due to the nature of how this film messes with timelines and the multiverse I think it won’t be long hopefully before we see her again!
The overall look of the film is unique but familiar to the other DC films (probably most similar in tone to ‘Shazam!’), and we get our first proper look at the speed force and how Barry is able to travel back in time. We have gotten many time travel/multiverse films recently, however, ‘The Flash’ does offer a unique experience and even though it does get a bit messy in parts there is a consistency here. One highlight is the bat cave, this full size set of the late 80’s and early Batman films (including arguably the most iconic Batmobile there has ever been).
DC has had a fair few misses with films recently (and that’s putting it lightly, *cough* ‘Black Adam’ *cough*) which may come down to superhero film fatigue in general. However, even with being in development and pre-production hell for the past several years and being hindered by Covid, ‘The Flash’ does stand up for itself. It is a genuinely enjoyable movie with my only minor gripes being that is has a rather flashy and convoluted final act. Also, General Zod returning feels empty and doesn’t give the film a real antagonist (unless you count the end, but that would be spoiling things).
For a film that has taken many years to appear it has been worth the wait, and the addition of Keaton had certainly helped set it apart. The relationship between Batman and Flash transcends universes, with Keaton becoming a begrudging mentor at first, but eventually warming to Barry. He has been through similar experiences in loosing his parents and they have some heartfelt conversations about some things simply have to happen for a reason, because they make us who we are.
There are also some very surprising cameos toward the end of the film that go deep into the DC filmic lore. It is a fitting send off to the old DCEU (with only one film left to go with ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’) before James Gunn takes over to reshape it. So get your running shoes on and zip to your nearest multiplex to see it.
Author: Tom, Bath Store