‘The Flash:’ Breaking down on the final run

5 mins read

As the DCEU comes to an end, “The Flash” offers its own adaptation of the “Flashpoint Paradox,” attempting to stay faithful to the original story while also serving as a farewell to the now sad said universe.

Spoiler warning!

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

Perplexing performances

“The Flash” secured actors that are both well rooted in the world of entertainment, and perhaps new to households across the world. Each brought something to the movie, but the story pulled from what could’ve been more and more as the movie played on.

Ezra Miller delivered a great performance as The Flash, successfully embodying both Zack Snyder’s and the DCEU’s versions of the character, and, although I wasn’t initially a fan of the younger Barry, Miller portrays the role exceptionally well.  

Michael Keaton shines as Batman, again providing an enjoyable performance. I was very impressed by how much he shines throughout the film. 

Sasha Calle’s portrayal of Supergirl is cool, but her character lacks substantial material to work with, and, due to film’s plot, we might not be able to see her as Supergirl again—which is quite saddening.

Unfortunately, Michael Shannon’s Zod is poorly written and executed. It feels as if the film makers ran out of storage to record a few more takes and most importantly, give Shannon some material (average, at the least) to work with.

I can’t really say anything about Kiersey Clemons’ Iris West because she wasn’t an emotional investment in this film at all, which is unfortunate.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

Diluted technical aspects

The cinematography of “The Flash” felt more suited for a low-budget TV show, lacking the visual grandeur expected in a film of a Flashpoint scale. However, the music and soundtrack effectively capture the desired emotions.  

The action sequences are impressive, with both Keaton and Ben Affleck (Batman from “Batman vs Superman,” “Suicide Squad” and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”) delivering commendable performances as Batman. Though, even as a “Batfleck” fan, I’d say Keaton ruled the show for me in this one. I now understand why the film’s director Andy Muschietti would be a good choice for a Batman movie, it would be a fun flick. It wouldn’t be something as dark as Matt Reeves’ Batman, or Snyder’s Batfleck, or Nolan’s Dark Knight for that matter, but something like Burton’s Gotham Guardian.  

I was amazed by the set designs. The batcave, apartment and every other set looked great.

The comedy is good. I usually hate unnecessary comedy in films as they take away Important emotional moments of a character and, despite it, the comedy was good. However, the story—not so much. Maybe Christina Hodson wasn’t the best choice for the film script. 

The costume design was okay at best. It was nothing very intriguing for a reaction. 

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

A mixed plot and convoluted character development

The film introduces multiple elements, including an exploration of Barry’s character and origins. The portrayal of Barry’s ADHD is particularly commendable. The adherence to the canon established by the original Snyder films is a noteworthy aspect, given recent inconsistencies in the DC Universe. Barry’s journey as the Scarlet Speedster is captivating, showcasing his growth and experiences. The scene featuring his presence during the Black Zero event from “Man of Steel” is especially memorable. The rescue mission at the hospital is also well-executed. However, some of the scenes involving Batfleck in this bat-bike feel strangely shot and lack impact. But the shots of him after the explosion were amazing! And most importantly, Barry’s new suit is better than Batfleck’s in this film. 

The phasing element was amazingly done. Loved every second of those close ups where the atoms of Barry phase in with the atoms of the doors. The present version of Barry is a realized character and that makes him fun to watch.

There are a lot of moments that tell us why Barry has his rules, which were also established in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” and they perfectly make sense. I really loved the attention to maturity as old Barry is explaining to young Barry about the rules when he gets his powers. 

Although, the film’s premise mainly works on a not-so-thought-through move when Old Barry enters the speedforce without thinking through the consequences, despite having a conversation about the same with Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, reminds me of Abhimanyu from Mahabharat who entered the Chakravyuh without knowing how to get out of it.  

Dark Flash didn’t really have any impact because he barely had any importance to the story. this bugged me a lot because, firstly, there wasn’t a real villain in the film, nor a moral implication that pushes heroes to their extremes and secondly because, despite having Dark Flash, the lack of presence and The CW’s season one like ending for the character makes the climax feel lazy.

The post credits scene featuring Aquaman was simply embarrassing. Fun is not a bad thing but don’t treat your characters like a joke! I feel that after over ten years of silly comic book movies, maybe its time we treat these icons with some respect.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

Forgotten motivations and a perplexing pace

While the film centers on Barry’s quest to prove his father’s innocence, it fails to explore this satisfactorily. The rushed pacing adversely affects not only Barry’s motivations but also those of other characters. Shannon’s Zod is poorly executed, making it difficult to distinguish him from other Kryptonian goons, resulting in a diminished sense of horror as from the original. Sasha’s character, although promising, lacks proper exploration, feeling incomplete. The film doesn’t really focus on what or who caused the murder of Nora Allen and just tries to undo events in itself. There’s no real villain to exist in the film. 

The film’s focus on Barry’s father being proven innocent abruptly shifts to “who’s the new Batman,” rather than delving into Barry’s personal journey, which I feel ruins the film for me because the moment where his dad was found innocent is not in the spotlight for even a second. The scene directly shifts to the new Bruce Wayne, which I find very insulting to the story.  

There was a moment where Iris talks with Barry that really made me think, “that’s it! Just like every other hero has their purpose, Barry’s could be changing the system, legally.” He spent his whole life proving that his father was innocent and, hence, he understands what it means to be wrongly accused. There’s a lot of legal factors that could’ve been at play and I believe that the first Flash film could’ve been about Barry’s personal journey more than the multiverse. It would’ve made more than one film if DC had played their cards right.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

Compared to the source material, this loses the race 

“The Flashpoint Paradox” is simply the most well-known Flash story and there have been several adaptations of it. If DC had played their cards right, this film would’ve been more about personal losses and would’ve had strong motivations for every character’s arc. This makes me realize how successfully they have managed to ruin the epic storyline with half-baked ideas with horrible screenplays and stories. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

“The Flash” excels in its emotional elements, particularly in the first half of the film. However, the overall execution falls flat in the long run. To fully expand on the characters, their motivations, and the plot, the film would have benefitted from an additional hour of runtime. Despite its shortcomings, “The Flash” offers glimpses of greatness and serves as a bittersweet farewell to the DCEU. 

For what it’s worth, I’d rate this film somewhere around 2.5 out of 5 stars without being too harsh on it. 

Jainam Turakhia

Jainam Turakhia has been a fan of DC for as long as he can remember, but what really tickles his inner creativity is Zack Snyder's vision for the DC Universe. From there Turakhia has traveled to a lot of destinations exploring works of other artists who make movies or write books/comics. Zack Snyder however, is always his hometown. He loves watching, and analyzing, anything and everything. Still a student from India studying Chartered Accountancy, Turakhia's passion for stories doesn't seem to end.

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