You know, I’m not really into superhero movies. I still haven’t watched Avengers: Endgame or the Justice League movie, but ever since I saw an early gif of Flash putting a baby inside a microwave, I knew I had to watch this movie.
I honestly don’t know what happened, and I hope that in the future we get some insight into this movie’s production. The CGI is not as terrible as I thought it would be, but every once in a while we get a shot straight out of the video clip for Brockhampton’s Buzzcut.
So let’s dissect The Flash together, and maybe help me recover some of the sanity I lost to Ezra Miller’s terrible acting.
The Flash (2023)
Producer: Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Studios
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Andy Muschietti
Release Date: June 12th, 2023
Ezra Miller’s performance in The Flash is so bad you can’t look away. This specific portrayal of the character tries to come off as awkward but ends up jittery and annoying, almost feeling like a parody of neurodivergent people.
Barry Allen is a symbol for Central City, a larger-than-life person who inspires confidence in everyone. This portrayal of the character feels far from that; he’s always stumbling through his dialogue, and everyone sort of refuses to engage in his quips. It’s like a socially awkward Spider-Man; every time he’s talking, you just want it to stop.
Ben Affleck’s Batman is also terrible; the voice is some of the worst we have ever gotten for the character, and I’m not a huge fan of his modern pudgy-looking costume either. His current movie costumes look really unflattering and give the character a wide look that almost makes him look out of shape.
Batman’s dialogue in this movie generally feels like a parody of the character; the script brings him down to the movie’s comedic level instead of making him a source of comedy by keeping him serious in the lighthearted scenes.
Not that it matters, though, since Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot only show up for about 30 seconds because none of them want to stay in this dumpster fire of a movie. We only get to see the back of Henry Cavill’s Superman in a quick scene, since he bailed before things got too bad.
The dialogue also doesn’t do any favors to Ezra Miller’s acting; the writers are creatively bankrupt to say the least. Most of it consists of people stating the obvious, like Barry Allen just really can’t wrap his head around the fact that he’s The Flash and weird things happen to him because he’s a super hero.
So many conversations just don’t amount to anything. I hate to simplify things, but it’s Reddit dialogue. It’s full of epic™ “ermm, did that just happen?” pieces of dialogue that I’m sure the writers thought would be hilarious.
Something that I wasn’t aware of is that The Flash’s powers are now based on food consumption. I don’t know if this happens in the other movies, but it’s a weird choice in general. This does come up in the comics and cartoons, but it’s almost always written off because of the speed force.
It usually does come up, though, just not in a major way. In this movie, though, it’s a big drawback, which makes me wonder why Barry would rely on fast food or asking people in the street to throw candy at him, when he could just carry a bunch of chocolate in his backpack or something.
Before I get too carried away in my complaining, I have to talk about the plot, so let’s go over it real quick: The Flash managed to go back in time for a few seconds in a previous movie, so now he wants to go back in time and fix his origin story.
This plan does work, and he manages to avoid the incident that gets his mother killed and his father wrongfully imprisoned. The problem is that this also takes him to a different timeline, one where the Justice League doesn’t exist.
Believe it or not, this is the movie that DC chose to introduce the concept of the multiverse into their cinematic universe. Not a Batman or Superman movie, but Ezra Miller’s The Flash. Just let that sink in for a while.
Eventually, as he meets his past self, Barry Allen needs to recreate the accident that gave him his powers. After a low-quality Dumb and Dumber routine between him and his younger self, they successfully recreate it, but future Barry loses his powers.
The best part of this movie is seeing how frustrated future Barry Allen gets at his younger counterpart; it’s almost vindictive to the audience, who has had to deal with him for so long, to see him get some of his own medicine. Unfortunately for us, we now have to watch two Ezra Millers pretend they can act at the same time.
After realizing that General Zod is coming to earth but Superman is nowhere to be found, Barry and his past self try to search for Bruce Wayne. In this universe, Bruce Wayne is played by Michael Keaton, which is a light of hope in this miserable movie.
As cool as it is, it still feels disingenuous, like DC saw how well Spider-Man: No Way Home did and said, “Hey, we can have a movie with more than one Batman too, look!”, but they can’t even keep Ben Affleck on screen for more than a minute without him wanting to dig himself out of the movie set.
It’s still a fun bit of fanservice to see the older Batmobile, Batwing, and the superior older Batman costume, so I won’t complain about it too much. That said, there is a hilarious scene later on where Michael Keaton was obviously CGI’d into the costume, and you just see a foreign mouth that definitely doesn’t belong to the body actor inside of Batman’s cowl.
We also get a throwback to the Flashpoint Paradox, where future Barry tries to get his powers back by replicating the accident with Bruce Wayne’s help. For those who don’t know, this movie has been taking form since 2004, and at some point in 2020, it was intended to be a live-action adaptation of the Flashpoint Paradox storyline.
Another difference in this universe is that Superman switched places with Supergirl, and his space pod never crashed-landed on Earth. Sasha Calle does a good job as Supergirl, but the movie’s CG ruins most of her fight scenes.
The movie does pick up in pace about halfway through, but it’s only after we’ve suffered from about an hour of Ezra Miller’s presence. The remaining hour and a half (Yes, this movie lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes) is mostly decent, aside from some wacky CGI here and there.
Michael Shannon also reprise his role as General Zod and is apparently really confused by the movie. It seems he doesn’t care about the multiverse and seemingly doesn’t even fully grasp the premise, having spoken in interviews about not being able to get into General Zod’s skin again, which shows in his acting.
The climax of the movie has both past and future Barry repeatedly going back in time to avoid Batman and Supergirl’s deaths, which eventually catches up to them when Barry goes back in time so much that he becomes Black Flash.
This little pocket of the multiverse is a nice celebration of DC’s movies and live-action shows, featuring Adam West’s Batman and Christopher Reeve’s Superman, even sneaking in a what-if with a version of Superman played by Nicholas Cage.
I’ll stop here before spoiling the ending. If I was asked to describe The Flash, it would be like this: It’s a rough movie with really bad CGI, but it does pick up significantly after its halfway point. The first hour still feels like chewing on broken glass, though.
It still baffles me that DC’s movies are still wildly varying in quality, but I can’t say that Marvel is exempt from this since they have had some duds as of late too. Still, I don’t think you should watch The Flash.
You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. The Flash (2023) is available to buy or rent digitally on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Store, YouTube and more. You can also purchase the movie’s Blu-Ray on Amazon.