I feel it’s not an overstatement to say the DCEU is useless — and that The Flash killed it. To be truthful, the DCEU was all the time meant to die, and The Flash was all the time meant to kill it. Nonetheless, Andy Muschietti’s long-awaited, troubled, now-infamous movie might need additionally killed the DC model as a complete, which was decidedly not within the plans. That’s as a result of The Flash is horrible, the kind of movie disadvantaged of any ounce of inventive integrity, one which’s meant to be consumed reasonably than loved, witnessed reasonably than appreciated.
The Flash is a Frankenstein’s monster of a film that went via so many arms and has so many alternative concepts that it doesn’t even have an id. In a sea of franchises and IP movies, The Flash is essentially the most unoriginal, uninspired, vapid, and primary effort. It recycles the simplest joke from Justice League, rips off essentially the most well-known sequence from X-Males: Days of Future Previous, and fails to offer a refreshing tackle the Multiverse to distinguish itself from the MCU and even The CW. The Flash is an affordable and determined try at nostalgia and the ultimate nail within the DC coffin that not even Tom Cruise, Stephen King, and James Gunn may save. However The Flash was by no means going to be saved as a result of it was by no means made to showcase its central character. It was all the time a device meant to course-correct a dying franchise.
As a result of, if we’re being trustworthy, The Flash was destined to fail, and what we’re witnessing is future fulfilled.
The true Multiverse of insanity
The Multiverse has taken over comic-based franchises as a pure development of their bigger-is-better ideology. The spectacular success of Spider-Man: Far From Home convinced studios that the Multiverse was where the money and fandom were, to the point where Marvel built its entire second saga around it. And because the live-action DC is apparently incapable of any original thought, it also chased the Multiverse mania by using the long-gestating Flash project to adapt one of the comic book giant’s most famous stories: Flashpoint.
But even Marvel suffered the consequences of its hubris, realizing halfway through that the Multiverse was a stupid, needlessly complicated idea that mainstream audiences wouldn’t understand. And while the once-mighty MCU took a step back to reconsider its approach, especially amid the turmoil surrounding the centerpiece of its Multiversal saga, DC went full velocity forward with its troubled plans, to the purpose the place it stood behind its controversial centerpiece. And whereas DC had no situation axing the finished Batgirl film and firing Henry Cavill in a painfully public method, it firmly supported The Flash and referred to as it “one of the best superhero film ever.”
But, all its efforts — the fan screenings, A-list endorsers, and whatnot — reeked of desperation; the once-powerful studio was on its knees, scrambling to promote a broken-down Chevy as a 2023 Tesla. The six-year improvement journey, a number of administrators and writers, troubling star at its middle, questionable plot, quite a few delays, and three totally different endings all pointed to at least one plain reality: The Flash was useless on arrival.
On a elementary stage, The Flash was doomed from the get-go. Not like different Multiversal films, the place the Multiverse is a enjoyable, look-who-they-brought-back addition to the story, The Flash existed solely to make use of the Multiverse to appropriate DC’s quite a few errors. It was by no means a showcase for the Scarlet Speedster — a vital Justice League member common sufficient to justify a solo film. Had there been a Multiversal story with Aquaman because the star, I wager DC would have pivoted to that and coldly buried the Flash film with out batting a watch, because it had a number of different would-be tasks.
You may really feel this aimlessness within the completed mission. Sitting via The Flash is like watching a number of colourful merchandise passing via a conveyer belt. There’s this character! Now there’s that character! I feel I do know who that one is! And what the hell is he doing right here? The Flash is like strolling into an enormous Funko Pop retailer: the characters are acquainted, however they’re plastic, purposeless figures meant to be toyed with. The movie is what Scorsese meant when he mentioned superhero diversifications have been “theme park movies.”
Gained’t somebody consider the actors?
The Flash bought itself not as the primary solo mission for the Scarlet Speedster, however because the film the place Michael Keaton’s Batman returned. I don’t blame DC for that: Michael Keaton is the best Batman actor by a considerable margin, and he is, indeed, the film’s saving grace. Keaton is game as both Bruce and Batman, delivering a committed and compelling performance that stands out like a sore thumb in a film where everyone else is hilariously out of sync. However, Keaton is great not because of what The Flash does for him, which is a big, insulting nothing, but because of what he and Tim Burton achieved with Batman and Batman Returns.
Everyone else in The Flash is good, but far from great. Maribel Verdú and Ron Livingston try their best, but even they can’t inject real emotion into a story that feels half-cooked at best. Kiersey Clemons gets nothing to do, as does Ben Affleck, who looks as tired on screen as he does in real life. Then there’s newcomer Sasha Calle, who steals the spotlight as Supergirl in a film that severely underutilizes her. It’s funny to me that every trait fans and critics hated about Henry Cavill’s Superman — the stoicism, the brutal approach, the overall lack of wholesomeness — is abundantly present in Calle’s Supergirl, yet the reception couldn’t have been more different. True, Calle is playing a unique version of Supergirl, deprived of any form of human connection, and Supergirl has never been as virtuous as Superman. However, the fact remains that this is very much a Snyderverse version of Supergirl who would fit perfectly alongside Cavill’s Man of Steel.
Then there’s Michael Shannon, bless his soul, there to collect a paycheck and not even trying to look mildly interested in what is basically the live-action equivalent of a 10-year-old smashing Max Steels together. Finally, there’s Ezra Miller. I won’t go into details about their numerous legal troubles, and to be truthful, they do an excellent job within the movie. Nonetheless, they aren’t charming or distinctive sufficient within the position to make audiences neglect about their real-life conditions. Every little thing they do in The Flash, Grant Gustin already did within the CW present — and higher.
Word: In the event you haven’t watched The Flash, that is the purpose the place you need to cease studying as a result of I’m about to spoil the third act. You’ve been warned.
I may have forgiven many issues about The Flash. I’m a comic book guide fan who loves films; I often am very forgiving with my comedian guide diversifications. However The Flash misplaced me throughout the third act when Barry witnesses a mini Disaster on Infinite Earths contained in the Pace Drive. Quite a few Multiverses conflict in opposition to one another, revealing creepy, uncanny valley variations of the late Christopher Reeve alongside onetime Supergirl Helen Slater, Nicolas Cage as his never-fulfilled model of Superman, the late George Reeves because the Fifties Superman, and the late Adam West because the Sixties Batman.
I knew Cage can be within the movie — Muschietti spoiled his cameo a month earlier than The Flash got here out — and Reeve and Slater have been throughout Twitter a day earlier than I watched the film. However the sudden sight of a disturbingly faux George Reeves despatched chills down my backbone. Reeves infamously hated the role, supposedly burning his go well with on the finish of each Superman season; when he died, the trades reported he took his personal life as a result of he “felt doomed to play Superman.” And there he was, on the massive display, once more doomed to play Superman and delivered to “life” in a film that used his likeness to make the viewers go, “He’s the man from that previous factor!”
I perceive not bringing Cavill again as a result of, by now, it’s clear that Warner Bros. has some form of grudge in opposition to him. However what about Brandon Routh? Tom Welling? Tyler Hoechlin? Three fan-favorite, prepared actors whose presence in The Flash would have been extra impactful than a half-made, disturbing model of Christopher Reeve that made the abominations in Tom Hooper’s Cats appear like Na’vi from James Cameron’s Avatar.
After I thought issues couldn’t worsen, George Clooney confirmed up within the closing scene, proving Barry’s shenanigans messed with the timeline and erased Batffleck. By no means thoughts that Keaton’s presence in The Flash just about denies the existence of Val Kilmer and Clooney’s Batmen — who cares about that? George Clooney isn’t there as a result of it is sensible or as a result of his presence is satisfying. He’s there as a result of James Gunn wished to flex his muscle groups and show he may deliver essentially the most notoriously outspoken of the Batmen again for an additional spherical. “He’s the man from that terrible Batman film!” the viewers would yell. Good joke, proper?
That’s what The Flash is: a group of “He’s the dude from that one factor” cameos and “He mentioned the factor from that different factor” one-liners. The Flash mocks Reeve, West, and Reeves’ legacies and reduces them to pitiful cameos meant to impress jeers from audiences so used to this crap that nothing surprises them anymore. As a result of, in a world of IPs, even people are simply properties ripe for exploitation.
The Flash is monitoring to open to $60 million throughout the three-day weekend, coming in approach beneath expectations. Phrase of mouth is divisive, the critics’ rating is mediocre, and its box-office legs appear shorter than Johnny Bravo’s. Briefly: the movie is a licensed flop and a powerful “Sure” to the query, “Are audiences uninterested in DC?”
In a transfer that echoes Zachary Levi literally begging people to see Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Muschietti is claiming the Reverse Flash killed Barry’s mother and will probably be featured within the sequel, ought to there be one. However Reverse Flash ought to’ve been the villain for the first-ever Flash live-action movie, as anybody with a passing information of the character’s historical past would say. Alas, these folks by no means wished to make a Flash film, and it exhibits; not even an admittedly gifted filmmaker like Muschietti can change that.
However wasn’t this speculated to be the “best superhero film ever?” Didn’t David Zaslav and James Gunn go round city claiming this was a supposed masterpiece that needed to be seen on the massive display to be believed? Wasn’t this speculated to be DC’s grand return to the highest? They’d a lot confidence in Muschietti that they even employed him to direct the upcoming Batman film. By no means thoughts Miller’s controversies or Warner’s ruthless strategy to cost-cutting and tax write-offs that resulted within the cancellation of a completely completed movie and the disappearance of a number of exhibits from the now-defunct HBO Max: The Flash was supposedly DC’s new crowning jewel, and everybody would bow down within the altar of its greatness.
But, what we ended up with was a mean movie with a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, a B CinemaScore, and a pitiful $55 million home opening weekend. If that is one of the best DC can do, if that is the movie Zaslav and Gunn have been prepared to place their arms on the hearth for, what awaits us sooner or later? It’s a bleak time when one in every of DC’s best superheroes was higher portrayed on The CW with a small price range and a dream than in a $200 million tentpole. However it’s not all unhealthy. The Flash is a wake-up name for DC. Let the previous die; kill it if it’s important to. And please, for the love of god, let the useless relaxation in peace.
The Flash is taking part in in theaters nationwide. See it at your individual peril.