The Flash Review

A Guy Who Talks About Movies
5 min readJun 21, 2023

Let’s talk about The Flash.

Is development hell worth coming out of? For those who aren’t aware, development hell is what movies which are stuck in production for some reason, usually because of lack of funding or creative problems. Eventually, many of these movies do get released but let’s be honest, how many times is it worth it? The Dark Tower was one of the worst Stephen King adaptations ever, the Hellraiser remake was absolutely pointless and lacked any edge and Sin City: A Dame To Die For probably ruined the reputation of the original. There are exceptions of course, Deadpool and Mad Max: Fury Road were worth the wait, but most of the time they end up being quite poor. So The Flash has a lot to overcome. This was meant to be out in 2018 and here we are in 2023 finally getting to watch it. I could do a whole feature on the problems it, and the wider DC Universe it habits, has faced since it’s inception but let’s just get on and review the movie.

Barry Allen, also known as speedster superhero The Flash, is still looking to get justice for his father who was falsely imprisoned for killing his mother. When he discovers he can run so fast he can go back in time, he does so to save his mother from dying. However this drastically changes the timeline and might doom all universes.

First impressions count. Your opening scene really does count because if you do it badly, you can put your audience in a really bad mood. Therefore, it’s pretty bad news that The Flash opens with the worst superhero scene I’ve scene. It’s worse than anything in Catwoman, Green Lantern or the newer Fantastic Four movie. There’s a sinkhole below a hospital and as Batman is busy chasing down terrorists, The Flash is drafted in. He runs to the scene in something that looks like The Lawnmower man, which is embarrassing to watch. Seriously, we had a TV show of The Flash which had a 50p episode and the running looked so much better in that. Then he has to save a lot of babies who have fallen out of the window and this is horrific. The babies are awful CGI and the segment is a mixture of terrible effects and just baffling creative decisions, like the Flash putting a baby in the microwave while eating a burrito he has previously made in the same microwave. It’s an attempt to do the Quicksilver scene from Days of Future Past but it’s simply pathetic to watch.

Then you have Ezra Miller as Barry Allen. I understand that Barry is mean to be a bit nervous and not the most sociable person in the world. But Miller takes it a bit too far and for the longest time, makes his version of the superhero pretty unlikable. In the few times we’ve seen him before, Allen has seemed to at least enjoy being The Flash and has some odd charisma to him. In this movie, that has all been drained and all that’s left is this oddball who feels like he’s going to end up being the villain than the hero. He is better as the younger Flash he meets following the timeline shenanigans, but even that character is more irritating than he is likable. Some really poor choices have been made regarding the characterisation of The Flash and it’s really frustrating.

Of course, we do eventually get the timelines mixed up and this is where the nostalgia bait comes in. The two Flashes go to Wayne Manor as Barry Allen tries to reform the Justice League to solve the invasion of General Zod as no Superman seems to be around in this alternate timeline. But instead of Ben Affleck’s Batman like we saw in the introduction, it’s Michael Keaton, bringing someone back to the role for the first time in 30 years. This is just bait to try and get people interested in a movie that always looked to be a high speed car crash. But damn it if it’s not juicy bait that’s really enjoyable despite the very painful hook that ends up in your cheek. Keaton is still great in the role and he’s the main reason to watch this film. And the fun is that the action scenes with Batman are great too. It feels like it’s come out of the Arkham Asylum game but in a good way. This is probably the only positive comparison to a PS3 game this movie will actually get.

And then the movie just starts to fall apart and rely on cameos. It has Supergirl, with a very decent performance from Sasha Calle, and they only use her for about ten minutes before moving on. But they spend a long time dishing out cameo after cameo because this is a desperate movie looking to get any praise it can get. I won’t spoil the cameos, but they are all different flavours of awful. You have ones which feel right out of the 1960s Scooby Doo show, you have ones with terrible CGI that feel offensive to the dead and then you have ones so inexplicable and can only be understood if you happen to have listened to a podcast on cancelled movies. There is a nice conclusion rooted in emotion and grief which is quite good, but it’s preceded by this mess of cameos which do hurt the attempt at building up the tension.

The Flash has it’s moments. Every so often there is a cool little scene, there’s Michael Keaton as Batman and the odd theme which resonates and suggests that maybe somewhere along development hell, there was a better movie. But it all fall parts elsewhere. The CGI is so bad that you will forgive anytime The Flash TV show looked a bit shonky. It makes some of the scenes look like an embarrassment and considering the amount of other speedsters we’ve seen in other films, the fact it couldn’t be done well here shows how poor this really is. Considering the DC Universe is set to be killed off soon, this film represents well the absolute disaster bringing some of the most beloved superhero films to the big screen has become.

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A Guy Who Talks About Movies

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.