The Flash film reviewed

Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) in 'The Flash'. Images: Warner Bros

WARNER Bros. and DC have released their latest picture, The Flash in theatres. Our resident film buffs Tom Parry and Stefan Bradley went to check it out.

TP: Well Stefan, it’s good to have you back, reviewing yet another superhero movie dealing with multiverses.

SB: That’s right, and there was a lot of hype surrounding this one. I think this latest picture comes close to being great; it doesn’t stick the landing, but the first two-thirds of this movie I thought was quite good.

TP: The plot sees Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) – also known as superhero The Flash, who can run faster than the speed of light – travel back in time to save his parents from a tragic event. Trouble is, in doing so he creates an alternate universe where superheroes, or “meta-humans” don’t exist, with one or two exceptions.

SB: For instance, in this new universe we have a Batman, but instead of being played by Ben Affleck, he’s played by Michael Keaton – reprising his role from the Tim Burton movies. Also, we have Sasha Calle playing Supergirl in this movie. I thought she had excellent presence in each scene she was in, where you could not only admire her superpowers, but also her emotional range. I was left wanting more, because she has second billing on this movie, but her role was relatively minor. I think they would have been better off just having Henry Cavill as Superman, which is what the fans would have wanted, and allowed Calle to star in her own movie as Supergirl.

TP: I feel much the same way; but given how many big names and famous faces appear, I can understand why she had a lesser role. Obviously, we won’t spoil every cameo that appears in The Flash, but I will say I was amazed at how much DC and film history they were able to cram into one movie. As for the overall movie, I thought it was okay, close to good. One of the major problems is it didn’t do enough to keep me emotionally invested. I wasn’t particularly interested in Barry’s conflict, and the film doesn’t do a particularly good job of establishing his backstory or character.

SB: I think the basic premise of Barry going back in time to save his mother Nora (Maribel Verdú) is a compelling hook, but it felt like they abandoned that arc until the very end.

TP: It’s almost a red herring or a MacGuffin, in a way that propels the plot forward to establish the real conflict, which explores what happens when you mess with history. And the best thing about The Flash is that it puts a different spin on time-travel that we haven’t seen in any other movie – in recent times, at least.

Michael Keaton makes his long-awaited return as Batman in ‘The Flash’.
Image: Warner Bros. / DC

SB: What did you think of the visual effects?

TP: The slow-motion sequences where Barry is running are somewhat impressive, but most other special effects are unconvincing – you can tell that the visuals were brought to life via computer and on a tight budget, particularly when they attempt to de-age characters or use a digital likeness of certain actors.

SB: The time sphere scenes looked a bit over-the-top with its CGI; but I enjoyed all of the slow-motion sequences, especially in the beginning.

TP: Most of the action sequences are decent. I will also give credit to composer Benjamin Wallfisch for incorporating elements of Danny Elfman’s score from Batman and Batman Returns into the soundtrack, if only because I enjoy his work so much.

SB: And on the subject of Batman, what did you make of Michael Keaton’s return as Bruce Wayne?

TP: It was such a pleasure to see him in the role again, and he really leans into the character – it’s almost as though he never stopped being Batman.

SB: Ben Affleck as the other Batman was also a highlight – this may be the best version of ‘Batfleck’ we’ve seen. Most of the other cameos were fairly disappointing in my view.

TP: Honestly, for me the cameos were the most enjoyable part, and they’re probably the biggest drawcard – particularly if you’ve been a lifelong DC fan that has consumed all of their movies. They even offer very obscure references that only the most tragic of fans would recognise.

SB: There’s been some mediocre superhero movies lately, but that run was broken by two other terrific superhero films released in the past two months – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which are far superior to The Flash. But in saying that, I would re-watch it over Black Adam, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania or the Shazam! sequel. In fact, I’d see it again in a heartbeat over watching Morbius for the first time.

TP: It’s certainly one of the better DC films in recent times. I don’t know whether it’s better than, say, Aquaman or Wonder Woman, and it’s definitely not as good as The Batman, but at least I cracked a smile more than once.

The Flash is rated M for Science fiction themes, violence and coarse language, and is currently screening at Sale Cinema.