I liked THE FLASH. Gave it a very positive review here on BOF. Was pulling for it to do well for many reasons; namely, wanted DC (Batman excluded) on film to have a big hit and hoped that if that happened we’d get more of Michael Keaton’s Batman in solo ELSEWORLDS film (THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS/BATMAN BEYOND-esque movie).
And then THE FLASH proceeded to bomb in spectacularly.
I took zero joy in THE FLASH flopping (and those who DID, well, bless your hearts) because it wasn’t good for DC on film going forward. Except for THE BATMAN on the big screen and PEACEMAKER on what was then HBO Max, big-time overall success has avoided anything “DCEU” (or just DC in the case of Matt Reeves’ THE BATMAN) for a while now. Yes, THE FLASH was the end of the “DCEU”, but nonetheless, Warner Bros. needed a hit with the DC brand as it moves forward into the new DCU led by James Gunn and Peter Safran of the newly formed DC Studios.
There are various theories and reasons why THE FLASH performed as poorly as it did. But the number one reason is the nonsense over the last decade affected it more than anything else. From MAN OF STEEL in 2013 to THE FLASH in 2023, DC on film was pretty much a failure. Sure, there were some outliers like WONDER WOMAN and AQUAMAN (FYI: THE BATMAN wasn’t part of the “DCEU” and will not be connected to the new DCU, thank goodness! Plus, Batman on film was, is, and will continue to be Teflon.), but just about everything else underperformed (significantly) critically, the box office, or both.
While I never was a big fan of the DCEU overall, I thought THE FLASH would give it a chance to go out on a positive note that would ultimately benefit the new DCU. Frankly, I was surprised by its poor performance (FWIW, it did OK critically) and I was dead wrong in believing Michael Keaton’s return as Batman would have a big impact. The bottom line is that people simply did not care…about Keaton’s return, about THE FLASH, and definitely not about anything DCEU.
It’s what happens after a decade of mistakes, poor decisions, and bad creative choices. They say DC on film is a “dead brand” (other than Batman). If so, Mr. Gunn and Mr. Safran have their work cut out for them.
THE FLASH‘s legacy can be summed up in one word: Apathy.
Tragic irony or poetic justice? You tell me. – Bill “Jett” Ramey