"The Flash is a speedy, fun but undeniably messy ride through DC’s multiverse."
BY JACK RANSOM JUNE 14, 2023
The 13th entry in the consistently inconsistent DC Extended Universe. The Flash sees Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) use his super speed to change the past, but his attempt to save his family creates a world without superheroes, forcing him to race for his life in order to save the future.
Well here we are. A film that was announced back in 2014 finally arrives 9 years later. Countless directors have come and gone from the project, the lead star has found themselves in a whirlwind of controversy, arrests and assaults, early reactions claiming it to be one of the greatest superhero films of all time (including a myriad of celebrity endorsements from Stephen King to Tom Cruise) and the film has the job of making a prominent stand of relevance prior to DC’s upcoming cinematic relaunch.
Quite frankly the fact that The Flash is as entertaining as it is, is a miracle in itself. Blitzing through its 144 minute runtime at a boundless pace, it still manages to balance bonkers, comic book shenanigans alongside a genuinely weighty emotional core. Time travel is a plot device/focus that has been the centre point of many a movie, and (ghoulish CGI aside), The Flash manages to present a genuinely inventive and outlandish take on the concept. It’s the third act that lets down the superb first and adventure romp of the second, with the eye-rolling and predictable decision to descend into cameo central (bar one grin inducing final sting) and a big video game punch up that certainly could have been trimmed.
The CGI has been the subject of ridicule and bewilderment since the first trailer dropped and not without reason. There is some genuinely wince-inducing CGI models and as previously mentioned the entire third act is essentially a video game cutscene. However, at its best the goofy cartoonish nature of it fits really well. The opening hospital save set piece is a riot, Batfleck gets his second best action sequence after the Batman vs Superman warehouse brawl and it is undeniably good fun seeing Keaton’s Batman defy the laws of age and physics.
Miller clearly loves this character and they give 110% in terms of enthusiasm (a little too much when it comes to young Barry, god that laugh). There is a genuine sense of emotion within the scenes of them interacting with Barry’s mum and the awkward motormouth angle to Barry’s character is nailed. Keaton effortlessly returns to the role of Bruce and is clearly relishing adding eccentricities to the Bat-sona, Sasha Calle is a strong and commanding presence as Supergirl, would really like to see her return in some capacity. In all honesty Michael Shannon looks like he would rather be anywhere else and Zod is substantially reduced in terms of threat and depth compared to Man of Steel. Affleck however does a genuinely great job in his short returning appearance as the Bat.
The Flash is a speedy, fun but undeniably messy ride through DC’s multiverse. The cast (bar Shannon) are clearly invested in the material, there are some spectacular action set pieces and some that look about 10-15 years out of date. However, there is a genuine sense of heart at the core of this even with the overdosing of fan service in the finale.