At this point, most people on the internet know about the controversy with this film. From the troubled production, revolving door of directors, script changes, and the main actor went a little out of control to cap everything off. The cards were stacked against The Flash before it ever saw the light of day. Hell, I took my sweet time seeing this film, procrastinating going to the cinema until the final weekend it was showing.
The question you might be asking yourself is, after all that’s happened, is the film at least good? While not ground-breaking in any sense of the word, you might find some enjoyment from The Flash, (if you can overlook all the crazy stuff Ezra Miller has done).
Let’s start with what I like about this film. I enjoyed most of the first 30 minutes and the initial set-up of the story. Granted, this could be because I’m a fan of the Snyder DC films, and it was cool to see Ben Affleck as the caped crusader one last time. This is also when one of the cooler scenes involving the Flash’s powers occurs. Seeing Barry Allen run through a collapsing building while saving babies (even if they look hideous, like that one from Twilight) was trippy to look at. I also enjoyed how the film handled Barry Allen during this opening. Everything from his interactions with Bruce, his banter with work colleagues, and his time with Iris West made me more invested in his character.
Besides the opening act, I also enjoyed everything to do with Supergirl. She shows up later in the story and, while she doesn’t have much screen time, steals every scene she’s in. Sasha Calle does an amazing job as the Kryptonian, and I hope we see more of her in the future. The soundtrack was also pretty decent, with licensed songs kept to a minimum and an impressive score that added to every scene. I also enjoyed some of the comedic moments between the two Barry’s. Yes, I said two Barry’s, which is confusing, unfortunately, that’s the least of the films problems.
So, overall, the plot of this film is messy. The Flash adapts the Flashpoint story from the comics, which has already been adapted into animation and television. The general overview of Flashpoint is that Barry Allen travels back in time to save his mother from being killed (another time-travel story, wooo). In this version, once Barry travels back to the present after saving his mother, he encounters another version of himself, and we’re off to the races. This already sounds convoluted, but then you add in Michael Keaton’s Batman, General Zod from Man of Steel, and the beforementioned Supergirl, and you have no idea what’s going on.
Besides the messy story, much of the film’s CGI is downright atrocious. Some faces look ripped from an early PS3 game. It’s a shame because some of the CGI is fairly decent, like Barry running around, but the vast majority is flat-out unacceptable. I also wasn’t a fan of the reliance on nostalgia seen throughout the film. While I did think it was neat that Michael Keaton had one last outing as Batman (which should’ve been a secret), he feels out of place. He serves as a decent way to move the plot along, but it felt more like pandering to old fans instead of trying something new.
I was also disappointed at the lack of any imposing villains. In the original story, the Reverse Flash is the antagonist that controls everything, but he’s not in this film. Instead, we get a returning Man of Steel villain in General Zod and a random speedster who shows up twice in the entire film. The lack of any meaningful villain makes everything that happens seem pointless.
The Flash has been no stranger to controversy either before or after its release. Before the film even had its first trailer, Ezra Miller (the main actor) was recorded starting fights in bars. Later, they even took a child and mother to a farm in the middle of nowhere. The actions of Ezra Miller turned many people away from seeing this film, which is fair enough. I couldn’t even find anyone to see the film with me. I ended up using points to see it by myself (I was brave). Being aware of all these things Ezra has done, it’s impossible not to think about them when watching this film.
Aside from the Ezra Miller stuff, the movie has also stirred up controversy. The main culprit is the cameos that happen near the end. With the Flash able to travel through time and space, it wasn’t surprising to see multiverse elements in the film. What I didn’t expect was seeing Christopher Reeves Superman show up because, you know, he’s dead. And it’s not just him; they used CGI to have Adam West as Batman and George Reeves as Superman as well. The latter is in extremely poor taste because his role as Superman is suspected to be a reason for his death.
I was confused and disappointed with these CGI cameos. With all of the other DC projects in film, television, and games, you’d think they wouldn’t have to resort to bringing dead actors back to life for a cheap surprise. They didn’t even have Grant Gustin from the CW The Flash series, which is a major missed opportunity. Also, I know it’s funny that Nic Cage, as Superman, fights a spider. And I know some people wanted to see it happen as well. But taking into account all the cameos in this film, this one felt the most out of place.
The Flash is a fun enough superhero ride. The film has some bright spots, with the opening act and Supergirl being the standouts. Ezra Miller does a good job as the titular character and his younger self, but it’s hard to fully enjoy the performance without all the real-life baggage weighing it down. The film is also bogged down by a messy plot, excessive fan service, lack of a real villain, and terrible CGI. The use of actors who have passed away is also not doing the film any favours. You might enjoy the film if you’re a fan of the recent DC films and the Flash as a character. But I don’t think I’ll be seeing it again anytime soon, outside of Supergirl clips that pop up now and then.
I still have a little hope that upcoming DC projects like Blue Beetle and the other James Gunn led films will be good. But I can’t take much more of this. I’ll give the next release a shot, but me and DC films are on some thin ice right now.
Have you seen The Flash? What did you think? Were you also confused by Nic Cage? Let us know in the comments below where we can talk about how Supergirl was the best part of The Flash.