The Flash Delivers a High-Octane, Emotionally Resonating Story

Worlds collide in The Flash when Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) uses his superpowers to travel back in time to change the events of the past. But when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, Barry becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod (Michael Shanon) has returned, threatening annihilation, and there are no superheroes to turn to. That is, unless Barry can convince a very different Batman (Michael Keaton) out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian (Sasha Calle).

Against all odds, The Flash delivers an immensely satisfying superhero experience, complete with actual stakes, three-dimensional characters, and an emotionally resonating story. A loving homage to DC film history, The Flash uses multiversal storytelling to examine the question of whether a superhero can exist without their tragic origin story.  Directed by Andy Muschietti, the latest film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) a has lot to offer, and frequently showcases moments of ingenuity that set it above most of the entries in the DCEU filmography.

The Flash

Ezra Miller delivers a commendable performance as two different versions of the Scarlet Speedster and found a way to play them off each other with great on-screen chemistry. While The Flash was merely the annoying comic relief in 2017’s Justice League, here, Miller brings emotional weight in the depiction of the two Barry Allen(s). Both are interesting lead and supporting characters that are fundamentally important to the narrative of the film.  

Donning the cowl for the first time since 1992’s Batman Returns, Michael Keaton soars as the caped crusader. From the movie’s reintroduction of the Batmobile to the utilisation of Danny Elfman’s iconic score, Keaton’s highly anticipated return is pure nostalgia to the power of ten. In addition, Sasha Calle’s imposing debut as Supergirl/Kara Zor-El brings a much-needed intensity to the film, even though the character does not get quite enough screen time as you might’ve hoped for.

The Flash

While The Flash is certainly one of the better films in the DCEU, it also boasts some of the franchise’s worst looking visual effects. This is at its most jarring when Barry enters the “chronobowl”, a fantastical dimension which turns all the opportunities into realities that look like cutscenes from a PlayStation 2 game. Fortunately, The Flash’s compelling narrative, strong character development, and terrific performance are what make this an enjoyable and memorable watch.

As one of the final entries in the DCEU, The Flash succeeds by taking huge risks that pay off. Whenever the film gets too big with its scale, it brings things back to earth through the compelling characterisation of the two Barry(s) as well as his amazing friends. Against the backdrop of fun cameos, questionable visual effects, and time travel shenanigans, The Flash delivers an extraordinary story that’s masterfully grounded through the emotional core of a young man struggling to reconcile with the loss of his mother.