The Flash Review
There was a good long while when I wondered if The Flash would ever see the light of day. The film suffered numerous delays for a plethora of reasons, including the troubling actions of its star. It seemed inevitable the film would be canned, yet studio heads persisted in insisting that not only would it be released, but it would also be one of the greatest comic book movies of all time. Sure enough, the early buzz from advanced screenings was glowing and it seemed DC was sure to have a hit on their hands.
The Flash catches up with Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) sometime after the events of Justice League (or Zack Snyder's Justice League, depending on your own personal headcanon,) living an everyday life as a superhero, doing his best to save those in need. He's also hard at work looking for evidence to overturn his father's conviction in his mother's murder case with the help of his good friend Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). When it seems he's finally come to a dead end, he can't help but wonder, what if he ran so far and so fast that he could turn back time and prevent his mother's death? Bruce warns him not to tempt fate, but Barry yearns for his father's freedom and to have his mother back alive and well. He plans to just go back and change one thing to keep her alive, but before he knows it, he's stranded in another timeline, without powers and now face to face with a younger version of himself who just gained his own powers. When he goes find his Justice League friends to help, he realizes more than just his parents' fates have changed. Bruce (Michael Keaton) looks very different here and a looming threat must be faced immediately or mankind will be doomed.
Here's the thing. If you spend months hyping up a movie til Kingdom come as one of the best superhero movies of all time, you darn well better have the movie to back that kind of claim up. The Flash is not that movie. While its core story is good, it is so bloated and bogged down by inexplicable choices. Most distractingly, it's a very ugly movie. For some reason, the CGI is purposefully crude, looking like it came from a movie twenty years ago. Why Anthony Muschietti, or whoever above him ordered it wanted the movie to look so hideous I cannot possibly understand. It's the type of effects that really take you out of the movie and break the suspension of disbelief you're willing to allow.
Ezra Miller pulls double duty playing two versions of Barry. One of those performances is pretty good. Unfortunately, the other happens to be incredibly obnoxious. It doesn't make for the most pleasant viewing experience. Meanwhile, Michael Keaton is a fun addition reprising one of his biggest roles, though it admittedly feels like it amounts to about as much as a celebrity repeating their old famous movie character catchphrases for a Superbowl TV spot.
The Flash hopes to distract with its flashy cameos but is best served when it actually focuses on Barry's story. The heart of what the movie is about--letting go of the past and accepting that the hard parts of life are what make us who we are, are themes that are worth focusing on in greater depth. The movie is better off when it does, but too often gets distracted with what toys it can be playing with inside the DC sandbox.