Alternate Take Review: THE FLASH One Of The Better Comic Book Films If You Can Get Past Its Star

The Flash
Image via Warner Brothers

With the release of The Flash on physical home media version of The Flash hitting store shelves tomorrow, FilmBuffOnline Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes offers up a few thoughts on the latest DC Studios superhero film.

A very wise man named James Merolla once engaged me in discussion on Facebook of all places about going into films with preconceived notions about a film. He thought that you should go into a movie with an open mind and form your opinion from what you see on the screen.

I took this advice to heart, not just because James is my cousin, but because I believe that we should judge films by what the creators intended. However, The Flash tested my resolve in the matter. Because the film might be one of the best comic book films of all time, yet the baggage it had behind its name cut into my enjoyment of the film.

If you have read Rich Drees’ review of the film, you already know the plot. If you haven’t, it is an adaptation of the seminal Flash storyline Flashpoint. Barry Allen/Flash (Ezra Miller) goes back in time to save the life of his murdered mother, Nora (Maribel Verdú).  He succeeds, but in the process changes history to such an amount that he creates a dystopian future, one where superheroes are in short supply and the Kryptonian invasion from Man of Steel goes unchallenged. It is up to Barry to find a way to fight the forces of Zod (Michael Shannon). He finds help in an older Batman (Michael Keaton) and another Kryptonian visitor (Sasha Calle).

If part of that scenario sounds familiar, you might have seen the times it was adapted before. It was made into an animated movie and in a storyline in Season Three of the CW The Flash TV series. So, yes, this is the third time the story has made its way into another medium.

Image via Warner Brothers

This is the first qualm I had with the film. Back in 2018, I expressed my concerns about greenlighting a Flash film while the  CW show was still on the air. Through delays due to the pandemic and other reasons, the film, barely, arrived after the series ended. But giving us a higher budget version of a story, we already recently saw didn’t seem to make much sense to me. Yes, it is a story packed with power and emotion. It is the most famous Flash story from the comics (although it is more a DC Universe story than a Flash story, a fact that plagues the film as well). But it has already been done. And while the story is told well here, it was rehashing one we saw a little over a decade ago.

But it going back to the Flashpoint well again is the smaller of two problems I had with the film. The second one was Ezra Miller. And their being cast was a major problem for me. In real life, they has a laundry list of legal problems, ranging from choking a woman to allegedly grooming an underage girl. Knowing this going in, I had a hard time watching Ezra Miller as the adorkable Barry Allen. We are obviously supposed to root for Barry as he tries to set the universe back the way it was, but watching the film I couldn’t separate the actor from the role.  Rooting for Barry for me was rooting for the person who allegedly made advances at a girl younger than my own daughter. Miller is a talented actor, and when I was able to briefly forget the alleged scumbag Miller was in real life, I found value in their performance. However, it removed me enough from the film’s narrative that I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have.

And that is a shame because I thought the film, other than Miller, was one of the better comic book films ever made. Within the first half hour, the film corrects one of my complaints about shared universe comic book films. Andy Muschietti directs the film with a flourish and great artistry. He stages the film better than the cookie cutter way most comic film directors do and keeps the narrative moving and emotions high. And it was an absolute blast to watch Machael Keaton playing Batman again.

Perhaps if you can separate Miller from their alleged crimes and didn’t mind seeing the same story for the third time, you might have enjoyed the film more than I did. But the baggage was too much to ignore for me.

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About William Gatevackes 1999 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken, and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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