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Review: "The Flash" Opens the Door For '90s Kids to Rejoice

"You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts."

There's a lot of fun to be had with a comic book movie, even if it's just entertaining on a surface level. We've been inundated with comic book movies for decades, ever since Michael Keaton first put on a batsuit, and kids everywhere marveled at the Tim Burton gothic surroundings. Since then, comic book movies have trended either in the direction of pure camp or psychological dramas contending for Academy Award nominations.

Warner Bros. and DC's recent slate, including those featuring members of The Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash), have pretty much been subpar. Entertaining, yes, but not groundbreaking in their delivery. While Superman (Henry Cavill) and Batman (Ben Affleck) have had their disagreements in the past, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) have seen their characters evolve with solo projects highlighting their infinite strengths. Now, it is time for The Flash (Ezra Miller) to have their time in the sun with the aptly named "The Flash," directed by Andy Muschietti.

Say what you'd like about controversial actor Ezra Miller, and there's plenty to say, but Miller knows how to get the job done on screen. The execution of Barry Allen, aka The Flash, in previous films has been flawless, and Miller's task in "The Flash" is two-fold, literally. The actor plays two versions of Barry, one in the past and one trying to right some wrongs.

You see, "The Flash" is about family, much to the surprise of moviegoers who have come to know many of their favorite superheroes for being solo adventurers simply looking for truth and justice in an ever-increasing unjust universe. Barry Allen, now officially known as a member of The Justice League, finds himself in a predicament when his father (Ron Livingston) is set to stand trial to appeal his conviction for murdering Barry's mother (Maribel Verdú) when Barry was a small child. Barry believes his father to be innocent and discusses the possibility of going back in time to stop his mother's murder with Bruce Wayne (Affleck).

Despite Bruce Wayne's objections about the butterfly effect and what minor change Barry might accomplish in the past harming future generations, the fastest man in the world doesn't heed the warning of his elder and goes along with time travel anyway. Any moviegoer with knowledge of "Back to the Future" or really anything that Marvel has done with the multiverse angles in recent films could have told Barry this is a big mistake. Nevertheless, he's a jittery superhero who messes up the space-time continuum anyway.

Even though it's called "The Flash," this newest installment of DC's comic book movies is as much a Batman film as it is Barry Allen's. This isn't a spoiler, as the trailer unveiled him in all his glory, but Michael Keaton returns as the Caped Crusader. Multiverse, remember? Giving off '90s-era bravado quirkiness as only Keaton can, his Bruce Wayne is a much older, wiser, and more experienced recluse than previous iterations. Though much of the banter between the younger powerless Barry and his contemporary superhero self is fun initially, the scenes between Keaton and Miller advance the film in a more positive direction.

Things continue to sputter out of control with the return of General Zod (Michael Shannon) and an introduction to Supergirl (Sasha Calle). Quite frankly, these sections of the film don't live up to the hype nor add anything to the overall theme of family reunion that director Muschietti and screenwriter Christina Hodson were undoubtedly hoping for. But the pieces that work, at least for this former '90s kid, have everything to do with Keaton's Batman. He's the movie's star, even if it is supposed to be Miller's for the taking.

The issues in "The Flash" come down to the fact that anyone under a certain age might not understand or care about all of the '90s sentimentality at the center of the story. Surprises abound, some in poor taste. This movie is ultimately a multiverse story, so there's a lot of Barry to go around. Too much at times. It's as though the film itself doesn't know what it's pretending to be. It's not just a nod to a long line of DC characters. It pays homage to the forgotten fabrics of "what could have beens" in pop culture history.

It comes down to this recent trend of comic book movies where the entire premise pinpoints a selfish mistake perpetrated by the main character. Had they listened to their elders and not made this mistake, literally nothing would've gone wrong. There would be no movie. This concept has worked in similar films of the genre, but here, it feels like copying a plot to appeal to an older generation of millennials. Entertaining but sometimes disrespectful to the larger audience.

"The Flash" is inflated with DC comic book film and television nostalgia that almost becomes self-aggrandizing as it progresses. Batman's gadgets are more visually enticing than the CGI effects The Flash throws around. The cameos and gestures to comic book movie lore (expect hilarity) are wonderful. Still, it's as if the movie is made for those over the age of 33 with no concentration on how any of it pertains to Barry Allen's character in the long run. Cameos and semi-insulting archive footage do not a 2-hour and 20-minute movie make.

If this is the last time audiences see Barry Allen, it's a sad state of affairs for a character worthy of their own film.

Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟1/2

תגובה אחת

Kris R.
Kris R.
29 ביולי 2023

I think it's brilliant that the movie gave a nod to the past Supermen and Batmen. It served two purposes. It was to pay homage to the actors who have gone on ahead of us and (probably) to make some of the younger generation be a bit curious about the other stories/movies and probably pick up a comic or two (as they do also need to sell these things, you know, for business). Especially the Nick Cage one. I really liked that a lot. Maybe some kids won't understand and wouldn't even care for it. But that's okay, too. I just like how it was a bit focused and centered on Barry. It's the Flash movie so I don't min…

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