What is the plot of ‘The Flash?’
In ‘The Flash,’ Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) travels back in time to prevent his mother’s death, which traps him in an alternate reality without metahumans. Barry enlists the help of his younger self (also Miller), an older Batman (Michael Keaton) and the Kryptonian castaway Supergirl (Sasha Calle) in order to save this world from the restored General Zod (Michael Shannon) and return to his universe.
Who is in the cast of ‘The Flash’?
‘The Flash’ stars Ezra Miller (‘Justice League’) as Barry Allen/The Flash, Michael Keaton (‘Batman Returns’) as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Ben Affleck (‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’) as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Sasha Calle (‘The Young and the Restless’) as Supergirl, Michael Shannon (‘Man of Steel’) as General Zod, Antje Traue (‘Man of Steel’) as Faora-UI, Kiersey Clemons (‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’) as Iris West, Ron Livingston (‘Office Space’) as Henry Allen, and Maribel Verdu (‘Raymond & Ray’) as Nora Allen.
Believe the hype! ‘The Flash’ is one of the best comic book adapted films ever made. Director Andy Muschietti reinvents the DC universe by brilliantly adapting the ‘Flashpoint‘ storyline from the comics, and fusing it with Michael Keaton’s ‘Batman’ and other nods to DC’s cinematic past. The movie is an exciting, action-packed, and humorous celebration of the DC Comics characters, with a brilliant dual performance from Ezra Miller, and of course, Keaton’s triumphant return.
Story and Direction
For those not familiar, ‘Flashpoint’ was a 2011 DC Comics storyline that involved the Flash going back in time to save his mother’s life. When he returns, his world is not the same, he no longer has his powers, Thomas Wayne is Batman instead of Bruce, a weakened Superman is secretly being kept prisoner by the government, and Atlantis and Themyscira are at war. ‘The Flash’ follows a similar storyline with Barry losing his powers and needing to regain them, but instead of Thomas Wayne being Batman, its Michael Keaton from Tim Burton’s ‘Batman.’ It’s also a weakened Supergirl they break-out of captivity instead of Superman, and Earth is in danger from an attack by General Zod and the Kryptonians not a war between Atlantis and the Amazons.
None of these changes affect the power of the story, and the lesson Barry learns about excepting your past and living in the present. But they do allow general audiences to understand the story a little easier, as they are likely more familiar with Michael Keaton’s Batman than the sudden appearance of Thomas Wayne. In the comics, the ‘Flashpoint’ storyline was used to usher in a new continuity, and in that sense, ‘The Flash’ comes at the perfect time for DC Studios, as the film officially marks the end of the DCEU and the beginning of the new DCU. The movie honors the DCEU, as well as other cinematic DC projects from the past, while setting up an exciting future for these characters.
Director Andy Muschietti clearly loves these characters and retells the ‘Flashpoint’ story well, streamlining it into a tight, fast-paced, and dramatic movie. He also injects the film with a good amount of humor, but it never feels cheesy or forced and aligns with the characters. The filmmaker also handles the time-traveling aspects of the movie very well and in a coherent way, something Marvel struggled to do in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ Muschietti does a great job with the effects, especially Barry’s powers and the Speed Force. Super-speed has never looked like this before, and Muschietti and his VFX team take a completely new approach to it, which is much different than the slow-motion effects Zack Snyder used.
Ezra Miller’s Dual Performance
A lot has been written about Ezra Miller over the last few years concerning their brushes with the law and whether this movie should be released at all given their illegal activities. I’m not going to get into any of that, and just judge them on their performance in this film, which was nothing short of extraordinary. Miller plays two roles, the Barry Allen we all know and have seen mature through appearances in ‘Batman v. Superman’ and ‘Justice League.’ But Miller also plays a younger Barry Allen, who has not yet become the Flash and lives in this new alternate reality. Most of Miller’s scenes are with themself, and you truly believe they are two different people.
Our Barry is a bit older and wiser, and not as impulsive as when we first met them, but the new Barry is young and immature, and it’s fun watching the two of them interact. As both characters, Miller has great chemistry with Keaton and Sasha Calle, as well as a few strong scenes with Kiersey Clemons’ Iris West. In some ways, Miller plays a third role in the movie as well, but to say too much would be a spoiler, so I’ll just say that they are equally impressive and believable in that role too. Whether Miller will ever return to play Barry Allen again is yet to be seen, but if they do not return, it certainly won’t be because their performance in this film was lacking.
Michael Keaton’s Return
I was just a kid when ‘Batman’ was released, so for me … Michael Keaton will always be Batman, and his return in this movie is a very welcomed one. While I really liked Ben Affleck’s Batman, and the actor does a great job in this movie in his limited role, the film really kicks into high gear when Keaton is on screen. He reprises his particular version of Bruce Wayne and Batman effortlessly, and while he has some funny moments, brings a lot of emotion and heart to the role. Keaton is also great in the action scenes, including an early fight scene between him and Miller. Muschietti perfectly matches Wayne Maynor, the Batmobile, the Batwing, and the costumes to the look and aesthetic Tim Burton originally created.
Supergirl and General Zod
Sasha Calle breathes fresh air into the role of Supergirl, which is a much different and darker depiction than we’ve seen before. The actress is strong and believable in the part, and also plays the role in a mysterious way as to never really know her true intentions and keep the audience guessing. Calle has a few fun scenes opposite Miller and Keaton, but most of her work is in the action sequences and that’s where she really excels in the role. It’s also fun to see Michael Shannon return as General Zod, and he’s just as menacing now as he was in ‘Man of Steel,’ but other than the big fight sequence, he doesn’t have a whole lot to do. The Kryptonians are a real threat to our heroes, and that certainly adds to the drama and suspense.
The Multiverse, DC Easter Eggs and Cameos
DC fans have seen the multiverse approached on both the Arrowverse’s ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ crossover event, and more recently on ‘Titans,’ but visually, Muschietti depicts it in a way that is much more cinematic than we’ve seen on TV. The multiverse also makes sense in this movie and you can actually follow along with what’s happening, which wasn’t always the case with Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.’ Because of the multiverse angle, Muschietti was able to sprinkle in a lot of cameos, most of which I won’t discuss here. I’ll just say that archival DC footage was used well, and those cameos are nice nods to what has come before.
There are a few cameos that I will mention since it is already public knowledge they are in the film. As previously mentioned, Ben Affleck returns as Batman, and as seen in the recent trailer, Jeremy Irons is also back as Alfred. Affleck recently let it slip on a podcast that a certain cast member from ‘Justice League’ would be returning for the film as well. I won’t say who incase you don’t know yet, but it is awesome seeing them interact with Affleck and Miller as members of the Justice League early in the film.
The other cameo I will mention, and only because director Andy Muschietti spoiled it a few weeks ago, is that an actor long rumored to play Superman finally gets the opportunity with a cameo in ‘The Flash’ as an alternate universe version of the Man of Steel. Beyond it being something fans have literally wanted to see for decades, the actor in question is magnificent in his brief role, and fans familiar with the canceled Superman project, will truly get a laugh from watching the scene.
The New DCU
There is actually one other major cameo that I will absolutely not spoil, but I will just say that it is a true shocker of an ending, and something people will be talking about all summer long. It also sets the stage for the new DCU, and completely changes the status quo. Whether that actor or actress will continue to play that specific DC character moving forward, is still anybody’s guess. While the film has a very satisfying conclusion, much like the ‘Flashpoint’ comic, it definitely cleans the slate and sets the stage perfectly for James Gunn’s new DCU, whether that was Muschietti original intent or not.
Are There Any End-Credit Scenes in ‘The Flash’?
Yes. There is a mid-credit scene, which takes a look at an earlier scene in the movie from a different point of view, and is mostly played for laughs. But there is also an end-credit scene and I will just say that it helps to explain how the upcoming ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ takes place in the new DCU.
The really pulled it off! ‘The Flash’ is the most entertaining and satisfying DC movie in decades. Andy Muschietti masterfully adapts the source material and fills it with as many Easter eggs, callbacks and cameos as any fan could desire. While still delivering a coherent, fun, action-packed and emotional movie, that features a mesmerizing dual performance from Miller, and the return of the one and only Michael Keaton as Batman. This is one movie DC Comics fans will not want to miss!
‘The Flash’ receives 10 out of 10 stars.
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Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Double Dream/a Disco Factory production of an Andy Muschietti film, ‘The Flash.’ It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and is set to open in theaters in North America on June 16, 2023 and internationally beginning 14 June 2023.