A rushed film in a dying franchise with production issues galore
As James Gunn gets to work on his upcoming reboot of the DC Universe, the existing DCEU limps towards the finish line with The Flash, one of the final stragglers in this soon-to-be-extinct franchise. With his super-speed powers, Barry Allen discovers that he can travel back in time and prevent the death of his mother, bringing about unprecedented consequences, including a world without superhumans, an alternate Barry, and a different Batman to the one he knew.
Fast-paced - or just rushed - The Flash is a messy film that often feels like it is making things up as it goes. The briefest of thought was put into its basic time travel plot and the CGI is some of the worst that has been seen in a modern comic book movie, and not just in the big action sequences but in small scenes like when Barry is having a conversation. That being said, the film is not without its fun. There is an ever-present silly sense of humour that, surprisingly, mostly works, and the showcases of Barry’s powers are a lot of fun, running camply in slow-mo as the rest of the world races past him, making us yearn for more super-speedster blockbusters.
A big draw for this film is Michael Keaton’s return as Batman, having played the caped crusader back in ‘89 and ‘92, and, after a so-so intro, he slips back into the role with ease. Looking as good as ever in the classic Batsuit and, with modern stunt work and special effects (this seemingly being where all the CGI budget went), Keaton is able to pull off more convincing Batman-ing than ever before.
Beyond Keaton, there is an abundance of winks and nods to the DC universe that are sure to please fans. Crazily enough, though, this does not take away from Barry’s story. While sometimes touching, Ezra Miller is jarring as the super-speedster, especially here where there are two versions of him from alternate timelines, one version being immensely more annoying than the other.
Ultimately, The Flash feels like what it is: a rushed film in a dying franchise with production issues galore that was only released to make way for a reboot. You can have fun with the super-speed scenes and the references, and you can laugh at the awkward CGI and Miller’s jarring performance. It is not a good film, but it is entertaining.