August 26, 2023


THE FLASH (Blu-ray)
2023 / 144 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😺

As one of the cappers to the so-called “Snyderverse,” The Flash is sort of a narrative mess. However, it’s a really fun narrative mess that didn’t deserve such a dismal box office fate. Tonally, this is the movie Ant-Man of the Wasp: Quantumania forgot to be: an irreverent, funny change-of-pace from the overall seriousness of the rest of its cinematic universe.

Setting aside his bizarre off-screen shenanigans, Ezra Miller is perfect as the title character. What makes him especially interesting in his own movie is that we get two distinctly different versions of the same guy, and Miller nails them both. The first is the Flash/Barry Allen who’s already been established in other films. Now becoming accustomed to his superhero status, he doesn’t always feel like a particularly appreciated member of the Justice League, exemplified in an amusing opening sequence where he’s saving babies (and a dog!) from a collapsing hospital while Batman & Wonder Woman do the crime fighting.

We meet the second Barry when the first one discovers that his “speed force” allows him to move through time. Ignoring Bruce Wayne’s warning about altering the past, Barry goes back to prevent his mother’s death, who was murdered when he was a child (for which his father was wrongly convicted). Barry manages to save her, but upon returning, ends up in the year 2013, meeting his 18-year-old self. This Barry is more socially outgoing, but impulsive, immature and never shuts up. Not only that, Barry #1 discovers he’s changed a lot more than Mom’s death, mostly for the worst. There’s no Justice League or Superman, which turns out to be catastrophic when General Zod (Michael Shannon) once again arrives to take over the world.

At the ATM, Barry suddenly forgets his pin number.
Batman still exists though, but not the one Barry knows. This one is much older and hasn’t donned the cowl in decades. In one of recent cinema’s worst kept secrets, Michael Keaton returns and provides most of the explanation for the way time works and just how badly Barry screwed things up. And in this timeline, Zod isn’t looking for Kal-El, but Kara (Sasha Calle), Supe’s cousin who’s imprisoned in a fortified Russian bunker. Barry, Barry, Batman and Kara eventually form sort-of a make-shift Justice League to try and defeat Zod.

Though it probably doesn’t bear a ton of scrutiny, the alternate timeline aspect of the story is kind of interesting, but it’s the dialogue and interaction between these characters (and no small amount of nostalgia) that make the film both engaging and surprisingly amusing, if not laugh-out-loud funny. The return of Keaton is, of course, a definite highlight, bringing back something that’s been missing Batman/Bruce Wayne for a long time: a sense of relatability. But he’s not the only surprise here. Both ingeniously and gratuitously, the alternate timeline concept allows the narrative to throw in almost every iteration of Batman/Superman to ever grace the big & small screen…as well as one that almost did.

The result could arguably be considered too much fan service, with so many cameos and shout-outs - especially during the typically overwhelming climax - that they become a distraction. And like so many other films of its ilk, The Flash often operates on the assumption that the audience is already familiar with the DC universe. But this time, that’s not really a deal breaker, because the film is fast-moving and funny, with an endearingly likable protagonist(s). It’s sad that we’ve probably seen the last of him.  


FEATURETTES - Making The Flash: Worlds Collide (a pretty extensive making-of doc); Let’s Get Nuts: Batman Returns Again! (cast & crew discuss Keaton’s return; unfortunately, Keaton himself isn’t interviewed); Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton (a nice recap of the characters history in comics, TV and film).

THE FLASH: ESCAPE THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS - A 90-minute audio podcast story. There’s also a trailer and very brief making-of featurette.

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