The Flash – A Brilliant Journey Through Time

MOVIE REVIEW – Andy Muschietti’s latest directorial effort, “The Flash”, is a time traveler from the moment it opens. The long-awaited DC blockbuster explores the concept of time, a remarkable theme given the film’s winding path to the big screen. What sacrifices would one make if endowed with the ability to outrun the light itself and reverse the flow of time? The film seeks to answer this question in a light-hearted yet powerful way.



It’s ironic that a film that took so many years to make it to the big screen finally makes the passing of time one of the main themes of the finished film. The film’s main motif is: if you could run faster than the speed of light and physically turn back time, what sacrifices would you be willing to make for those you care about?

In the film’s first frames, the Warner Bros. and DC logos cycle across the screen in various historical versions, indicating that this film is interested in interrogating both the past and the present. Those hoping that this film will be an ultra-serious remnant of the Snyderverse will be disappointed, because The Flash is first and foremost a comedy that draws inspiration not only from comic books, but also from things that are clearly not, such as Back to the Future and the marvelous Doctor Strange franchise to tell its own multiversal story of what happens when Barry Allen (Ezra Miller, whose personal problems have in many ways overshadowed the making of the film) disrupts the space-time continuum. The result is clearly one of the best DC films of recent times, and an obviously necessary reminder that a single solid script is more important than any ten-year plan a studio promises, or the constant back-and-forth retcon that is the real cancer on both Marvel and DC’s cinematic universe.

The Flash has its problems, to be sure, but it is also undeniably entertaining, even despite Ezra Miller’s scandals, which have undoubtedly overshadowed the production, and it is hard to ignore that completely. In the film’s praise, Ezra Miller does his best to make you forget all that by delivering the biggest crowd-pleasing performance of his career.



Trustee of the Justice League


Barry begins the film as the self-proclaimed “janitor” of the Justice League, cleaning up the “bat*sh*t” when Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) calls on him for help. The film opens with a spectacular scene in which Barry is called in to save innocent civilians in a collapsing Gotham hospital; while Batman chases the bad guys on his Batbike in his usual (slightly clichéd) action sequence, a nurse and several babies race out the window as the hospital collapses (not clichéd to say the least).

Barry jokingly calls it a “baby shower” and it’s up to the Flash to save them and avoid disaster. The scene is very funny, slowed down and through Barry’s ultra-fast movements we see him breaking into a vending machine to boost his calorie count and give him enough energy to save the babies, who are all in an unrealistically dramatic (and therefore funny) level of danger. One is about to be stabbed in mid-air with shards of glass, another is nearly impaled with a knife, and a third sees a bottle full of acid hurtling through space, heading straight for her. The film has thus entered entirely into cartoon territory, and the creative solution to this seemingly impossible dilemma seems to be the only scene in which Muschietti’s twisted sense of humour is on full display. In my opinion, this is the best slow-motion superhero scene of all time, far surpassing the admittedly impressive Quicksilver scenes in the later “X-Men” films.

Despite his heroics, Barry is not content with his current life situation, and soon discovers that he can run so fast that he can burst into a timeless underworld, where he finds himself in the middle of a stunning “Chrono Bowl”, a sunken amphitheatre containing a visual representation of all his memories. Of course, he can’t help but mess with the past, though Wayne, who knows a thing or two about loss, warns Barry not to let his own tragedy define him. Unfortunately for the world (and himself), Barry doesn’t immediately take this advice to heart.


MOZI HÍREK - Lehetséges, hogy egyesek megszellőztették, ki lesz a The Flash főgonosza...


Clearly defined motivations


There’s a good reason he’s messing with the past (or at least an understandable one): Barry desperately wants to go back in time to save his parents. His mother (Maribel Verdú) was murdered in her childhood home when he was a boy, and his father (Ron Livingston) was declared a murderer and put behind bars, even though Barry knows his father is innocent. Livingston makes the most of the very little screen time he has, imbuing his character with empathy and kindness, even when his situation seems utterly hopeless. Verdú, as Barry’s mother in the flashbacks, also makes much of what little she has, adding an emotional charge to a film that has a serious feature time where storytelling is already important.

Barry has dedicated his adult life to freeing his father, sacrificing his own privacy and spending hours studying books to find possible loopholes. But the lack of evidence means his father’s options are rapidly running out, and Barry can’t bear the thought of losing both his parents. He briefly reconnects with Iris West (Kiersey Clemons), a journalist and old college friend with whom he has a crush, but this film focuses less on Barry’s potential love life and more on tracing what happens when he inevitably shatters the timeline by trying to save his parents.


MOZI HÍREK - Az HBO Max Batgirl című filmjének forgatásán készült fotókon megpillanthatjuk Michael Keaton visszatérését Batmanként, a klasszikus denevérruhában.


Micheal Keaton returns, fan service hills ticked off


Barry’s attempt to change his past has far-reaching consequences: he ends up in an alternate timeline past, where he must contact his 18-year-old self (played by the longer-haired Miller). Things go very wrong, and when Zod (Michael Shannon) appears to level the Earth, Barry realises that things will not turn out as we have seen in previous films because this universe is so different. In order to reunite the Justice League, he meets Bruce Wayne, played in this world by fan favourite Michael Keaton, who is clearly relishing the chance to reprise one of his most famous roles. Keaton can play multiple shades of this version of Batman: long-haired burnout, stoic straight man with two Barrys, reluctant saviour, action hero and inspirational leader. He bonds with Barry because of their similar traumas, and his action scenes are the real highlights of the film: his Batman takes out several soldiers in a way that will delight fans who have longed to see this Dark Knight in a modern fight scene.

There are plenty of nods to lines and moments from his two-movie run as Bat between ’89 and ’92, and while some fans will no doubt scream ecstatically while pointing at the screen (a la the DiCaprio meme) as he repeats memorable lines from those films, it doesn’t always make narrative sense to use this version of the character. “Fan service oblige”, right… Fortunately, these hints and quips don’t ruin the whole mood, as they do in other films.



Supergirl is super cruel


The other main character in the film is Supergirl (Sasha Calle) and Calle brings a ferocity to the character that we have never seen in a live-action performance. She has no faith in humanity, but knows that she and her new friends must confront Zod to save the planet. Their climactic confrontation, which is prominently featured in the trailer, takes place in the middle of an empty desert, suggesting that Muschietti has listened to audience complaints about the collateral damage to the city of Superman and Zod’s fight in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and the director is taking this opportunity to try and give an alternate version of events that might appeal more to those who care about such things when watching a superhero movie.

The director brings some imaginative visuals to the action, including an extended scene in which Barry speeds from his home in Central City to Gotham at the beginning of the film, the camera slowly spinning around Barry in the distance as he scoots through the streets, the world bending around him as he passes through the area. Although the third act is a bit drowned in overdone CGI effects, the visual inventiveness of Chrono Bowl and the creative direction of some of the slow-motion scenes go a long way to making the film an enjoyable experience. And the integration of the two Barrys seems seamless: the two versions of Miller interact with each other in such an impressively natural way that you almost forget how much work went into filming the scenes.



Full of easter eggs and cameos but still very fun


The Flash contains a lot of pop culture references, cameos and easter eggs that people will surely be talking about for a while, and which will be spoiled on the internet on the night of the premiere. It’s up to you how much these work for you (most audiences will surely be baffled by a certain cameo that only hardcore DC fans or regular movie news readers will understand), but the fact that the film is able to withstand all these distractions and still retain a strong emotional core is a testament to the power of the script written by Christina Hodson, John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein and Joby Harold.

Some of the jokes work better than others, but overall the film is quite successful in this respect. The film makers know that the interaction between the two Barrys might be a bit much for some viewers, given the socially awkward, perpetually moving in every sense of the word personality of this character, so they comment on this in the film itself to forestall this criticism. Although I rarely laughed out loud, I found many of the comic moments amusing, which is important when a film is tuned to this frequency for most of its running time.

While I have a few complaints, and there are some head-scratching loose ends, “The Flash” is still a funny, emotional, action-packed crowd-pleaser that ranks among the best DC movies ever made.


The Flash

Direction - 7.8
Actors - 8.4
Story - 7.8
Visuels/Action - 8.4
Ambience - 8.2



While I have a few complaints, and there are some head-scratching loose ends, "The Flash" is still a funny, emotional, action-packed crowd-pleaser that ranks among the best DC movies ever made.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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