The Flash falls flat
Finally watching The Flash is a moment that feels misplaced in time. If the multiverse laden adventure of The Flash had been released just under a decade ago, it likely would have been revolutionary. Instead, with the explosion of multiverse-related cinema in the past few years, The Flash feels like too little too late, and the legal issues of of its lead, Ezra Miller, doesn’t help matters.
This is a shame considering the material in the film has incredible potential. The first half of The Flash gives you a bona fide superhero, using his amazing abilities in true blockbuster fashion, saving as many people as he can. Slowly, but surely, the film shifts gears, as the trauma of his father being wrongly accused of his mother’s murder weighs heavy on the Scarlet Speedster. With a tearful run faster than the speed of light, Barry realises he can use those amazing abilities to travel through time, and save his mother’s life.
It’s in the second half that the movie starts to come undone. As Barry navigates the repercussions of his actions, he starts to see the ripples of time unfold. Much of the movie is spent with Barry and his younger more obnoxious self. At one point, the film makes a commentary on his annoying nature, but its self-awareness only increases the irritation.
The story gets messier the more it goes on, with inconsistencies getting quickly swept away in favour of the next nonsensical plot development. Characters do and say certain things simply because the story couldn’t happen without it. It’s an exercise in manufactured spectacle through character beats that feel unearned.
Comparison might be the thief of joy, but even when aligned against mediocrity, The Flash comes up short. It has all of the elements that you’d hope a film of its type wouldn’t. The fan service cameos with uninterested actors cast only for the sake of nostalgia, the insistence on spectacle over plot, and ultimately the sense that nothing in the film is of any consequence. All of the things that were feared to be present in the multiverse films of the last few years come to pass in The Flash.
As if that wasn’t enough, the spectacle in The Flash doesn’t even thrill enough to look past the movie’s flaws. The moments that are meant to make you cheer have visual effects that would have felt dated in 2014, the year The Flash was announced. The moments that should evoke nostalgia, end up offending, with the most ghoulish and soul-less cameos that are too unnerving to be thrilling.
The Flash is by no means a complete misfire, with some decent performances, and a genuinely intriguing and eye-popping first half. As things go off course, and certainly by the film’s climax it becomes clear that The Flash was doomed from the start.
Rating: Catch it on Cable
Damian Levy is a film critic and podcaster for Damian Michael Movies.