The Flash Delivers On The Potential Of The DC Franchise At Long Last

Amidst numerous delays and offscreen speculations about the fate of the movie, Director Andy Muschietti has finally seen his big-screen adaptation of DC Comics “The Flash” arrive.

We first saw the film in late April at Cinemacon and now that we have seen the final cut with additional footage and a noticing credits, I can finally give you my impressions.

The movie opens with Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), called into action to help with an issue in Gotham City which offers a chance for an extended action scene as well as some cameo appearances that should delight fans.

Like most superheroes, Barry has to contend with work and personal issues and his time as the Flash often makes him late for work and even more of a social outcast than he already is. And the arrival of an old school friend reminds him that his father is scheduled to have a court appearance on appeal of his conviction for murdering his wife many years earlier. Barry is obsessed with proving his father’s innocence however there is little evidence that can support his appeal.

Despite warnings not to alter time, Barry travels to the past to make a slight adjustment which results in his mother living and growing up in a two-parent household for himself.

His euphoria becomes short-lived when Barry runs into a younger version of himself and realizes that if he does not enable his younger self with his powers, then he will never exist to create the alternate reality where his parents are safe and happy.

The younger Barry is extremely immature and annoying and when he becomes confused with powers while the other loses them, there are numerous opportunities for comic mayhem which the film briefly touches upon before returning to the more serious aspects of the story.

As he was warned, Barry has created fractions in reality, and the one that he finds himself in has several changes from the one that knows including a world free of superpowered beings. This becomes a serious problem when General Zod (Michael Shannon) arrives and there is no Superman or Justice League to save the day.

In an act of desperation, Barry seeks out Batman (Michael Keaton), and is shocked to discover that he is different than the one that he knows in his reality. Both Barrys and Batman hatch a plan of desperation that sees them desperately mounting a rescue and offensive to save humanity.

The film has some fantastic visual effects but like most hero films becomes heavily bogged down on them in a final act that in many ways seems at times anticlimactic to the potential that the story has been building to. Miller is solid as the two Barrys although the younger version of them becomes very annoying and at times and some segments drag on.

Keaton absolutely steals the film and brings a much-needed presence to the action as he seems to really be enjoying his return to the role and his segments are often the most compelling parts of the film as he provides a stabilizing and grounding presence to the Barrys.

There are numerous cameos throughout the film that I will not spoil but suffice it to say they should delight fans and do offer some intriguing questions.

The biggest issue now is the future of the character as Gunn and Saffron are busy building their DC universe while outside projects currently are in the works. It is not a secret that legal issues and outside distractions have been associated with Miller to the point where some question whether the film could be released despite its lavish budget.

The final box office numbers will be very interesting because I found the film quite enjoyable and a pleasant surprise in one of the better DC cinematic efforts notwithstanding the final act which became a bit formulaic and anticlimactic for my liking. While it doesn’t approach the level of several of the Marvel films, it does show that there is plenty of potential to make solid stories within the DC universe.

4 stars out of 5