The Flash (2023) Movie Spoiler Review: Too Fast For His Own Good?

The story of the Flashpoint Paradox is a storyline that spans generations. First introduced in 2011, it was the story of the Flash going back in time to save his mother from dying and in the process completely changed history. He would come back to a world without heroes, torn apart by war. The Flashpoint paradox is a nostalgic story for many, myself included, who had grown up with these DC characters and was a big fan of them. It also served as a method to showcase the usually comedic member of the Justice League in a more serious light, demonstrating to fans that he too, had a darker side to him.

This movie more or less follows the same storyline. However, this movie introduces a different aspect of storyline, though not one fans are completely unfamiliar with. In a shocking turn of events, the Flash meets his younger self and must now clean up a mess that he has made by altering history.  In the process, Barry Allen learns that there are some things that he cannot prevent and some which he can and comes to accept this. 

According to critics, this movie received mixed reviews, with many critics praising Miller for his stellar performance but criticizing the movie’s main storyline; lacking the heartfelt sorrow and regret that the Flash felt for not being able to save his mother and demonstrating the true love and bond between mother and son.

In terms of the special effects, there has also been mixed reviews with it either being hit-or-miss or it being some of the best FX work yet to be seen. Indeed, some of the FX work on scenes often felt rushed and other times it was near seamless. When Barry Allen entered the Speed Force and saw versions of himself and his past, some shots showed pretty good rendering but other times they looked a little too cartoonish. 

One critic added that the fanservice for this movie was very strong, and I simply have to agree with that. In a fight scene between Zod and Supergirl, many of the movements and actions mimicked the fight between Superman and Supergirl in the Injustice 2 Series, something which does not upset me in the slightest as they were action-packed and each scene was worked to its fullest.

However, I do claim that the FX work could definitely be better in this case, as Injustice 2 used 3D modeling to create accurate characters, and in action, they looked realistic and theatrical, albeit the animation being visibly present. This was excusable in Injustice 2 as it was indeed animation. In The Flash, it is less so as DC was using real life actors to do these fight scenes.

As such, there should never be moments where the CGI overpowers the live-likedness of these characters and sadly, this happened many times in the movie. The result was an almost completely CGI fight scene which made the characters unrealistic and overall frustrating to watch. 

Ezra Miller’s performance in this film alongside that of Sasha Calle (Supergirl) was fantastic. The actor’s ability to simultaneously balance between Barry Allen’s comedic as well as tragic side comes into full play as he works towards mentoring his younger self while trying to fix the timeline in the process. Though at times, Miller’s performance seemed to be a little bit forced, specifically when portraying his younger, more obnoxious self.

Besides Miller, the breakout performance in this movie for me was that of Sasha Calle as Supergirl. Calle portrays the inner turmoil of Superman’s cousin who had come to protect him very well. Even having her watch the confrontation between Zod and the army showed many emotions flash across her face as she debated the circumstances between handing herself up and leaving the world to burn — and this was all while she was stoic. Being that this was the actress’ first appearance in a major motion picture, Calle has shown her talent and her ability to handle a film of this scale all in her limited amount of screentime.  

To speak on some negative points, I would like to remind the readers that Flashpoint was meant to be a semi-comedic and dark toned story, something which DC has excelled at creating in the past with their DC animated universe. In this case, taking out an entire major plotline of the war between the Atlanteans and Amazonians was a major blow to a fan of the original comics.

While I do understand that doing the plotline would involve big costumes and hiring Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa back into their roles for a lot longer, I still wished that DC had considered doing so instead of reverting back to the Zod plot which seems lazy and overall an attempt to recycle material that should never have been recycled. As it was, a plot that involved war between the various worlds of DC would have further served the severity of the situation and pushed Barry to further realize the consequences of his actions. 

Not to mention that while Michael Keaton returning as Batman was an amazing sight to watch, I would have preferred him to portray an older, Thomas Wayne as it seemed to make the most sense in the timeline. To note, changing the timeline does not mean that a character’s age would change, just their past, and Keaton in this case did not make sense.

I’m sad to say that this is coming from a fan who can reminisce on watching the 1989 Batman movie and running around in a cape and tights saying “I’m Batman” over and over again. But in this case, the character just did not seem to add up. Barry Allen was the same age that he would be, whereas Batman suddenly aged so much that it wouldn’t make sense for him to be an average 30 year old man.

As ironic as it sounds, I really wished that the tone taken for this story had been darker and I don’t fully believe it serves justice to Flash as a character. Yes, he has always been the comedic relief of the Justice League but Flashpoint had always been a storyline which was meant to show that he was similar to the Justice League in many ways and that having Batman as a mentor proved how much the justice system had failed him as much as it failed Batman.

Personally, I just feel like that was not fully emphasized enough in the storyline and emotionally. Despite fixing the timeline, Flash just never fully developed by the end of the movie, having changed history again by placing the can of tomatoes on the top so that he could prove his fathers innocence. It is true that one of the character’s fatal flaws is that he never learns from his mistakes, but for the sake of this movie and further storylines going forward, I would have at least wanted Barry Allen to attempt to fix the timeline in a proper way, not messing it up again. 

To give an overall review, it just wasn’t satisfying. And while the comics and animated universe had initially left me with an excitement at what was to come, I’m sad to say that this movie really didn’t give me that same feeling. With the DC Cinematic Universe having now begun another revamp into recasting major characters such as Superman, Batman and many other famous superheroes, I wish I could say that I was more excited about future films and while I am still excited to see how Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom would factor into this major revamp, I can’t say anything further on future films. In this case, I would sadly say that this outcome in our timeline was probably inevitable. 

Final Score: 3/10

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