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Movie Review: The Flash (2023) *Spoiler Section at the end*

The Flash One Sheet
I've been looking forward to The Flash since it was first announced that Michael Keaton would be reprising his version of Batman. Through all the challenges the film has faced getting to the big screen, I was most concerned when Batgirl, also featuring Michael Keaton's Batman, not only got shelved but also was put into film jail as a 'never to be released' tax write off (rumor has it the film was virtually finished when it got shelved).

Thank fully The Flash finally made it to theaters with quite a bit of tweaking back and forth of the ending so it would fit with whoever ended up taking over DC Entertainment after all the #releasethesnydercut hashtag craziness that seemed to undercut almost everything DC except for Matt Reeves', The Batman.

Whatever James Gunn does with DC Entertainment moving forward I'm glad he decided to release The Flash. It's a very good bookend to the Snyderverse era since it directly calls back to the events of where it all began in Man of Steel.

In The Flash, Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) learns more about his ability to reverse time and comes to the realization that he could change the fate of his parents, specifically preventing his mother's murder. Unfortunately it's not as straight forward as he first thought and he finds himself stuck in an alternate timeline with a very different Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton), and some very familiar world ending foes.

I've always liked Ezra Miller's Barry Allen/Flash. Weird running aside (kudos to the production and Miller for sticking to their guns and never trying to course correct his running technique despite almost everyone saying it looked awful) Ezra has always brought a nervous kind of awkwardness to the character that made him interesting to watch. Yes he can also be irritating and annoying too - which is really played up in this movie to great effect.

Unfortunately Miller's personal life probably means, even if this movie did well, recasting is just the safer option. Which is a shame because I really enjoyed Ezra's performance here. Especially because they're playing both younger, obnoxious Barry, and older, more life/superhero experienced Barry. It really worked for me how they play off each other.

Michael Keaton's return as Batman does not disappoint but you'll definitely appreciate it more if he was your first big screen, 'serious', Batman (serious by 1989 standards at least). I am infinitely thankful that Michael got this opportunity to reprise his Batman and how it still fits in with a less Gothic, more modern styled world of contemporary superhero movies.

Michael's Batman gets to be every bit as bad ass as Ben Affleck's Batman (who also has a great action sequence at the start of the film for comparison) and isn't held back or feels like he couldn't hold his own despite him being long retired in the timeline of the film.

The Flash only adds to the legend of Michael Keaton as one of the best versions of Batman, and it'll cement in your mind just how cool his Batwing is, over any Bat plane that came after it. It's likely you'll remember this movie as one of his best, if not the best, appearances.

Sasha Calle's SuperGirl is really the only new character in the mix. While she doesn't get a lot of time to develop her character she definitely gets enough for me to hope she gets another shot in the role. This movie is kind of her origin story and we get enough bones for a Supergirl sequel outline that could be an interesting character arc. Namely she didn't get quite the same welcome on Earth as her cousin got all those years ago.

Early reviews haven't been too kind to the VFX in The Flash. To be honest, nothing stood out to me as being bad. Yes, the VFX are sometimes very obvious but every time Flash runs you know it's VFXs. I disagree that any of the VFX are so bad as to take you out of or spoil the film. I feel it's particularly obvious in the depiction of the multiverse and some of the call backs to different timelines but given no one actually knows what a multiverse looks like, it was perfectly fine with me. The VFX did the job just fine.

Of all the Snyderverse Era films this is one I will watch over and over again (and I own all the Snyderverse era films on DVD, including the Wheden Justice League, Snyder's four hour Justice League, and Wonder Woman 1984).

It has all the elements I like in a movie; Superheroes, my two favorite Batmen, a Barry Allen I actually like, Sci-fi, space ships, time travel, and humor. Which reminds me, this film really does the humor well. Jokes happen very naturally as part of the story rather than jokes that are clearly there to try and add humor in.

Finally though, it actually has a good story to tell that has heart and character arcs. While it is a version of Flashpoint from the comics (that I've never read mind you because I've never been a comic guy, but I did see the CW Flash version of it), it's not a carbon copy of that timeline. It's also not just your typical superhero story where the villain is defeated in the third act (though it has that too... otherwise it wouldn't be a superhero movie).

For me it was a good, fun movie and a great bookend to the Snyderverse. It gives all those movies and characters a bit more of an arc, and kind of makes you want to go back and rewatch them just so you get the full benefit of what The Flash movie brings to the table.

It's easily one of the high points in the Snyderverse cannon, and the most rewatchable. I'll be looking to add it to my DVD collection at the earliest possible time.


Spoiler Section 

(Mild spoilers - and at least one Easter Egg you won't want to know going in just for the nice surprise)

How this movie ends, James Gunn could have easily kept all the key Justice League actors and just started telling any story he wanted with them.

Unfortunately we know Ben Affleck is out for now on playing Batman (maybe he'll get his Michael Keaton comeback some day), Ezra is working through their challenges. Ray Fisher is not a WB fan at all, and the last Wonder Woman movie didn't perform as well as hoped (but I'd love to see Gal continue in the role and I'm sure she would love to as well). Aqua man 2 has yet to come out. Hopefully it'll do well and maybe Jason can continue in the role.

Ultimately though, it's probably best to reboot with all new actors but, thanks to The Flash, the door is open for any of these actors, and this universe, to continue if some studio head in DC Entertainment decided that was a viable option to move forward on.

For now I'm happy to leave the Snyderverse on a high, and props to Flash Director, Andy Muschietti, for giving us probably one of the deepest dive movie Easter eggs of all time with a brief glimpse into what a Nicolas Cave Superman movie may have looked liked. That one was definitely for the fans.


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