Andy Muschietti (It Chapters 1 & 2) directs The Flash, hoping to save the faltering DC Universe of superheroes. The solid script by Christina Hodson (Bumblebee) and Joby Harold (Army of the Dead) goes a long way towards doing so, with the support of actors dedicated to making the film rocket to the top at lightning speed.
Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) struggles to come to terms with everything in his life. The loss of his mother to violent crime still cripples him in adulthood, and the fact that he can’t save his innocent father from being punished for the crime eats away at him. Barry’s social awkwardness and constant feelings of being more of a mascot than a member of the Justice League both add to his misery. But when he realizes his ability will allow him to travel into the past, Barry thinks he’s found the answer to everything. Determined to make a change that will save his mother’s life, yet so minor that nothing can go wrong, he does just that. But Barry soon discovers that small ripples can make great waves, and the only way to right things is to team up with himself and try to create a Justice League that doesn’t exist in this new timeline.
Multiverse films can get confusing fast and are prone to story issues. But Hodson, Harold, and Muschietti keep a firm grip on the story with an excellent explanation of how this multiverse works while maintaining a tale with only minor issues. In doing so, they turn a character that has lived in the shadow of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman – not only in the films but also in the comic books – and make him a genuine A-list hero. In addition to the fine script, Miller delivers a stellar performance as both versions of Barry – the competent yet introverted hero and the confident, bumbling slacker. By the time the tale reaches its final act, the audience understands and sympathizes with both as much as they understand and sympathize with each other. Michael Keaton’s return to the cape and cowl is fantastic fan fodder. Best, his portrayal is not just lip service but a fine revisit of the original role. Perhaps the biggest surprise is Sasha Calle as Supergirl. Her part is disappointingly small, but she commands the screen as the Kryptonian hero, leaving the audience wanting more of her.
Any multiverse traversing film will have a lot of CGI, and getting lost in the myriad of images would be easy. That is the case with this movie, too, but instead of being confusing and hard to follow, it is overwhelming in a way that works. Everyone, from the concept artists to the final editors, deserves credit for something that shouldn’t work but does. They pull out most of the stops when it comes to respecting what’s transpired or was supposed to happen, before with the DC universe, and all the way back to the earliest series. Unfortunately, there are some obvious misses. However, this might not be the production’s fault, so it is forgivable. The music department does an exceptional job of combining the old with the new, providing even more cohesiveness to the time-and-universe blending theme. Best, the dramatic score blends with the action seamlessly throughout.
The Flash has fewer fans than the three iconic characters of the DC Universe. This film is likely to change that. Many viewers who have skipped The Flash and Supergirl on television will now be binging the shows, trying to catch up at lightning speed. Not only is Barry Allen the fastest hero, he’s also likely to have the quickest turnaround in fandom of any DC movie to date.