SYNOPSIS: Worlds collide in THE FLASH when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the events of the past. But when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, Barry becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned, threatening annihilation, and there are no Super Heroes to turn to. That is unless Barry can coax a very different Batman out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian… albeit not the one he’s looking for. Ultimately, to save the world that he is in and return to the future that he knows, Barry’s only hope is to race for his life. But will making the ultimate sacrifice be enough to reset the universe?
Well, I finally believe it.
If you’re a longtime follower of this website, you know that yours truly was very skeptical that a big-budget, live-action movie based on The Flash would ever come to fruition. “I’ll believe a Flash film gets made when the day I see it up on the big screen,” I said many times. Like, for how long — and with numerous writers and filmmakers — has Warner Bros. tried to get one off the ground? Seems like decades…because it has been!
But now I can say that a Flash film was actually made and exists because I have seen it and it’s…GOOD!
I’m not going to waste your time rehashing the plot in depth because I know that most of you reading this know the gist of it. But here it is in a nutshell…
It’s a riff off of the FLASHPOINT comic book story where Barry Allen goes back in time and prevents his mother’s death…which of course f***ks everything up. Things get really complicated when General Zod (Michael Shannon) shows up ala MAN OF STEEL, yet Superman is nowhere to be found (and maybe doesn’t exist). The Barrys (Ezra Miller playing two versions of Barry Allen) then head to Gotham City to find the one person/superhero who can help them: The Batman. However, this Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) isn’t the Batman (Ben Affleck) that Barry knows. He’s old and a recluse. In fact, he hasn’t been Batman in a LONG time since Gotham is now one of the safest cities in the country. How in the hell is he going to be able to help?
But of course, he does…because he’s BATMAN!
They discover that there is a Kryptonian (Clark Kent?) being held captive in Russia. Batman tells the Barrys that he’ll help them find “this Superman” they’re looking for, and then they’re on their own.
Batman and the Barrys ultimately find the Kryptonian that they were looking for, but it’s not Clark Kent. It’s Kara Zor-El (Sasha Calle), Kal El’s Kryptonian cousin, who has been imprisoned for years. Supergirl has joined the team, but where is Superman? I’ll leave that for you to find out, but it’s up to this ragtag Justice League to defeat Zod and his Kryptonian army.
But can they?
Regardless of the ability to time travel, are some things just destined to be no matter what? And with time travel, once you mess with and alter the past, can things really ever be “fixed” and set exactly as before? Hey, I’ve seen enough time-travel movies and TV shows to know that’s exactly how it works!
Star Ezra Miller is great as the Barrys and The Flashes. They are the emotional center of THE FLASH and bring a lot of warmth, heart, and humor to the film.
Michael Keaton’s return as Batman is as fun and fantastic as expected and it was great to find out what happened to this Batman after the events of BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS. However, as with all time travel/alternate universe stories, the question begs if Keaton’s Batman in THE FLASH is really the same Bruce Wayne from those two aforementioned films. Regardless, if this is the last we see of Michael Keaton’s Batman, it is wonderful to know that our last glimpse of him is as a hero. He has a wonderful, emotional story arc.
I didn’t know what to expect from Sasha Calle’s Supergirl, but she did a good job with what was given to her. Based on the film’s marketing, I thought she would have been in it more than she actually was. Honestly, you really don’t get to know her all that well despite the fact that Supergirl is an important part of the final third of the film.
Michael Shannon’s name is way up there in the cast credits, but his return as General Zod is actually nothing more than an extended cameo. He’s great as usual, but to be honest, he’s simply repeating what he did in MAN OF STEEL. That’s not a knock on his character as that’s the role Zod is supposed to play in THE FLASH.
Speaking of cameos, Ben Affleck did indeed get his “cool way to segue out of the role” of Batman. Affleck said that he finally figured out how to play Batman and his turn as the character in THE FLASH was the best stuff he’s done as the character…and it is. It was great to see Affleck get great scenes in the film as both Bruce Wayne and Batman…even in that terrible-looking Batsuit!
THE FLASH is a Flash movie first and foremost — make no mistake about it. But it’s also a homage to DC on film (and in a couple of cases, TV) as well as it honors what has come before. I certainly won’t spoil the “cameos,” but I will say I really got a kick out of ’em! Would I have liked to see more than what we got? Absolutely. But I’m happy they were included and I took it as an acknowledgment that ALL versions of these DC characters are valid and exist out there…somewhere…forever.
As far as the CGI/special effects and musical score, I found the former just fine and typical of any big spectacle of a film that relies heavily on CGI. The score? A bit underwhelming — though the “Batman Theme” by Danny Elfman that is used to accompany Keaton’s Batman on the big screen was awesome to hear.
I saw the final version of the film so the “surprise ending” you’ve heard about was not blurred-out or hidden. All I’ll say about it is that it was indeed a surprise…but one that sorta complicates things a tad and doesn’t tie all things up in a bow. But as I said, once you mess with and alter the past, things really are never “fixed” and set exactly as before. (And that goes for movies, like BACK TO THE FUTURE too!)
End credits scene? Yes, there is one. Again, I won’t spoil it for you, but I found it unnecessary and pointless. If you want to sit through all those credits to check it out, go right ahead. But if you skip it, you’re not going to be missing anything.
I liked THE FLASH a lot. Was the nostalgia of seeing Michael Keaton as Batman once again a factor for me? Sure, 100%. Nonetheless, director Andy Muschietti should be commended for his effort because he made one fine DC comic book/superhero film — and props to Christina Hodson for a smart, excellent script. Is it great or “one of the best comic book films ever?” It is not…and that’s OK! It is a fun, funny, heartfelt good ‘ol time spectacle of a movie with a high rewatchability factor. Best “fun time” I’ve had with a DC movie in a while. I’m looking forward to seeing it again. – Bill “Jett” Ramey