Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The Flash


A bit disappointed about his current role in the Justice League and the state of his father’s trial, Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) is prompted by childhood memories to experiment with the Speed Force, an extension of his super speed ability that allows him to travel through time, which he willingly experiments with. He ends up right before his mother’s murder and meets his 18-year-old self who is yet to get his powers. He also discovers that he didn’t just land in an alternative timeline, but rather in another strand of the multiverse as well, given how this world’s Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) in no way resembles the Batman that he knows. He also finds out later on that Kal-El never made it to Earth alive to become Superman in this world, but was rather replaced by his cousin Kara Zor-El (Sasha Calle) who is being held captive. Would Barry choose to do what’s right and go back to his own timeline or would he opt to totally rewrite his reality for his mother's life?

I actually enjoyed this film, maybe because my stock knowledge of who Barry Allen is and how he came to be is quite limited to seeing him pop up out of nowhere in Justice League. Since this storyline deals with multiversal and time travel shenanigans anyway, the writer is able to not just insert The Flash’s backstory, but also use that very origin story as a plot device to literally move the plot forward. In the end, I learned a lot of trivia about the character and gained new appreciation of the extent his speedster powers could reach.

It is sad that the DCEU is not going anywhere anymore. However, The Flash is perhaps the best film that future world-building architects of the DCEU or DCU could refer to as far as “resetting” their universe is concerned. It’s lazy writing, I know, but useful nonetheless. Given how it’s now canon how this Barry Allen eventually ends up in George Clooney’s Batman’s world, future films need not explain anything anymore as to how their entire shared cinematic multiverse is so disjointed. This movie already does all the explaining for them.

The CGI is rather 50-50. That entire sequence where Barry saves the babies from a collapsing building is amazing. On the other hand, everything seems to go downhill once the other supers are introduced. It mostly has something to do with DC’s wonky fight scenes. More or less, that is what you get when you have too many superheroes sharing one frame. While The Flash’s superspeed scenes are rendered well enough for the suspension of disbelief, the same cannot be said for Supergirl and her fellow Kryptonians.

Of course you also have cameo appearances. This has been the norm in the superhero genre since the concept of a multiverse has been introduced. Again, it is lazy writing, but hey, the call for the capitalization of nostalgia is rife so why let it pass. Here we get the usual suspects like Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot while you also see George Clooney’s Batman in a cameo and Michael Keaton’s Batman even becoming a supporting character. Multiverse! I would’ve loved to see Tom Welling’s Clark Kent in the mix but I got a really weird CGI Superman of Nicolas Cage instead. Weird flex, DC.

Overall, the storyline is just a remix of your typical what-if-i-can-change-the-past formula and we all know how these types of stories end. Consider this as some sort of fan service from the WB. Unfortunately, I don’t think the nostalgia for Batmen and Supermen past would be enough to salvage this at the box office. Even then, I still see it as a fitting farewell for the DCEU, what it has been, is, and could’ve been. May James Gunn end up doing some wonders for the franchise, but I’m not keeping my fingers crossed.

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