The Flash truly marks the end of an era in the superhero world. The film is the final DC Extended Universe movie before James Gunn and Peter Safran turn the page on a new chapter for DC Comics on the big screen. Despite the many offscreen controversies, The Flash nearly makes you forget about all of that. Barry Allen’s grief over his mother’s death drives him to travel back in time to prevent it from ever happening.
His decision has world-changing consequences. He ends up back in 2013 as General Zod attempts to invade Earth. He meets a past version of himself, who comes along for the journey. Barry doesn’t realize the magnitude of his decision until he comes face-to-face with Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne/Batman and not Ben Affleck’s version.
For those of you — like myself — who never thought we’d see Michael Keaton don the Caped Crusader suit again, his return to the role is a delectable treat for Batman fans. Exactly 31 years after last playing Batman, Keaton proves he’s still got what it takes to play the Dark Knight. He continues to be the ultimate scene-stealer.
The multiverse comes into play in a major way in The Flash. The concept isn’t exactly foreign for fans of superhero films of the last 5 years. However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to fully explain the ins and outs of its multiverse in a way that’s easily understandable. The Flash breaks down the multiverse in a more concise way in 5 minutes than Marvel has done in several movies.
This journey through time also introduced the Barrys and Batman to Supergirl, played by Sasha Calle. The actress steps into the beloved role effortlessly, and this is a great introduction to the character. However, it’s clear from Sasha’s powerful but subtle performance that Supergirl deserves her time in the spotlight in a standalone film.
The Flash works best when it stays rooted to its emotional core: the relationship between Barry and his mother. The film gets a little out of control as the multiverse situation implodes and too much CGI action. The fan service is wearing out its welcome on the big screen, but I’ll make an exception for The Flash because of Keaton’s return. The Flash ultimately gets back on track and sets up a fascinating potential sequel.
You can’t talk about The Flash without talking about Ezra Miller. Focusing just on their performance in the film, they’re astounding. Barry (and the other version of him) are almost in every scene of the film. Ezra manages to create two entirely different Barrys seamlessly. It would be a tremendous feat for any actor in a film of this magnitude, and they knock it out of the park.
The future of The Flash remains uncertain for now. There are several elements to consider such as the success of the film, whether or not Ezra should return amid ongoing legal issues, and the future plans for the DC cinematic universe. The film does end on a cliffhanger of sorts, so it appears that Warner Bros. may want to continue The Flash’s story. Whether or not that includes Ezra is unclear. If this is all we get in terms of a standalone Flash film, then director Andy Muschietti and his entire team delivered a satisfying journey for the Scarlet Speedster.