Published on June 15th, 2023 | by Branden Zavaleta
The Flash Review (2023) – A Shocking Surprise, Stupendous and Stupid @TheFlash
Summary: Stupid, Stunning, and Super Fun
On the surface, The Flash has all the makings of another forgettable flick— troubled production, extended length, a curious cast— but instead it’s a shocking surprise. The Flash is stupendous– stupid and tremendously fun. It packs in charm, gloriously silly fun, exciting ideas & twists, and an unexpected heart.
The story doesn’t look like much on paper, it’s another mess in the multiverse. It hits the same beats as in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-man: No Way Home, or the Spider-Verse flicks– It’s a veritable subgenre at this point: trouble-with-the-timelines. But despite this surplus of similar situations, The Flash shines among the best with a handful of standout moments, like the opening set piece.
It begins tepidly with Barry (Ezra Miller) anxiously ordering breakfast, but skipping it to help with a collapsing office building. But don’t be fooled by the dull Zack Snyder colours and standard setup– They’re just easing you into DC’s new direction. In fact, this time it’s not office workers at risk— that’d be too tame— it’s babies falling from the sky, and now acid, knives, and fire are falling too! As time slows, and ruin approaches, Barry fuels up on snacks, catches the acid with a bedpan, flings a burrito at the knives, and locks a baby in a microwave (to stop the fire). It’s stunningly stupid, completely entertaining, and it sets the tone going forward.
But it’s not flawless either. And it’s also with these babies that a (partially) unpleasant surprise rears its head: some of the CGI work looks like PS3 graphics. It’s laughably bad, but since it’s introduced with babies amid knives, acid, and fire, it’s also hard to want more convincing graphics. Thankfully, these moments of low-resolution rendering are rare, and limited to the less important moments– a mandala of multiverses, and a not-so rubber suit, and a couple questionable faces. Otherwise, the rockets, lightning, and spaceships look fine, and sometimes awesome.
Despite these dips into silliness, the comedy-adventure balances holds together. The main story of Barry fighting to save his parents plays the right notes, and the friendships feel solid. When our parent-less Barry trips into the ideal world of younger, airhead Barry, a charming sibling dynamic develops– If Ezra Miller as Barry in Justice League was an obnoxious puff of hot air, you’ll be surprised by how well he performs as both Barrys– and the new additions (Michael Keaton as Batman, and Sasha Calle as Supergirl) both enjoy clean character arcs while adding star power and charm on top. So, if you’ve seen the ads, and thought The Flash is surely a flash in the pan (or a crash-and-burn), give it a try and you’ll be surprised by how amped it’ll leave you. There are a couple big shocks, a couple big laughs, (and a couple big cameos).
The next DC film is one to look forward to.