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It has it's standout moments, mixed in with some poor CGI and underserved characters, it still has a sense of dark humor about it. Enough works about it to make it recommended viewing, just don't expect to be dwelling on it for too long after you've left the theater.
2 hours 25 minutes. There is one post credits scene at the very very end.
With “The Flash,” Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics managed to deliver an enjoyable entry into their much-maligned canon. To be fair, they have already pulled off a relative miracle in keeping their titular lead actor, Ezra Miller, from earning yet more bad press in recent months. So they already had run through most of their luck. Yet with Director Andy Muschietti, they HAVE wound up with a generally fun film, though it falls flat in a few glaring instances.
Throughout the film, there are instances of CGI so stunningly bad that the looked like they were generated by an early-2022 AI; a scene with a particular set of babies comes most to mind. Beyond that, the first reel of the film has some moments in the first set piece that would embarrass even the early CW writers’ rooms. DC’s mythos has never been famed for it’s internal logic, and “The Flash” does little to change that on the whole.
That said, the film does provide a fun ride, and a lot of fan service gracenotes that help scratch the nostalgia itch. However as opposed to an end result akin to “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which managed to not only improve on the impact of earlier films, but even redeeming actors who had less than stellar outings. Here many of the appearances from other areas of the multiverse (or alternate Earths), are used, but without any particular impact (many just appearing in glimpses). Most of the elements shown in the film’s trailers showcase the bulk of the main story arc, so the rest of the films’ nearly two and a half-hour running time include some fun times in the Batcave, and alternate-timeline Barry (Miller) flailing around with his Flash powers, and then an encounter with Zod (Michael Shannon). The rest of the film’s runtime is largely random trivia bits and easter egg moments.
Those moments, sadly, will likely be the ones most spoken about on the way back to the parking lot after leaving the theater. Without the real emotional impact of connecting with any of the other “guest appearances” beyond getting to see them in a glimpse, the effect doesn’t hold onto the viewer for long. It’s why I invoked the concept of empty calories in the title of this review, they are tasty enough, but the sugar rush only lasts for a moment and then comes the inevitable crash and the empty feeling of, “that’s it?”
Fans eagerly awaiting the film will already be aware of some of the key other characters (and their actors) who appear. While it’s entirely wonderful to see Michael Keaton donning the Caped Crusader’s cowl once again, we already knew he was going to knock it out of the park. His two Batman films and his portrayal of both Bruce Wayne as well as Batman continue to be a benchmark.
But its Sasha Calle in the role of Kara Zor-El / Supergirl that nearly runs clear away with the film. She has a level of believable gravitas in the suit that would make Christopher Reeve proud.
Watchers will likely notice a rather stark absence in this film that will no doubt be the topic of many a Twitter thread in the coming weeks. And while I noticed it during the watching of the film, I continue to become more annoyed as time goes on.
But yes, this is one of those films that deserves to be seen communally, with other fans, on the biggest screen possible. Some things do perfectly fine streamed to your home theater, but others, like this one, deserve to be seen writ large. ESPECIALLY when you get to see a glimpse of…a friend.
“The Flash” hits theaters June 16th. It has a run time of 2 hours 25 minutes, and has one credit scene at the very, very end.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.