Wow, the summer of 2023 has been the ultimate comeback for superhero movies. After some hits and misses, DC and Marvel have returned to top form with films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and, now, The Flash. As someone who grew up collecting comics and cards, I was really ready to take a break from superhero movies, but after seeing these three films pretty much back to back, they have changed my tune. If we can get more movies like this, I will take a dozen more, please, and thank you. But let’s get into the review.
The Flash is one of the year’s most highly anticipated superhero films. Ezra Miller was cast as the Flash way back in 2014, so fans have been waiting almost an entire decade for this film to hit theaters. This was my most anticipated film of the year, and I was lucky enough to be at CinemaCon, where I was among the first audiences in the world to see the movie. When you go into a film with such high expectations, it’s incredibly rare not to be let down by the final product. So, I’m thrilled to say The Flash absolutely blew me away, and as a longtime fan and supporter of the DC Universe, through good times and bad, I got everything that I wanted from this film and a whole lot more.
This film is a love letter made by a DC fan for a DC fan. It is abundantly clear that Andrés Muschietti loves the comic label and wanted to make a film that celebrates the legacy of the DC franchise. There are so many surprises throughout this film that, at times, I wanted to stand up and cheer. As a filmmaker and storyteller, Muschietti had his own vision of what he wanted this film to be, and I believe he succeeded without a shadow of a doubt. What makes The Flash one of the greatest superhero films ever is that it feels like the perfect combination of all that has come before. There are hints of Tim Burton, Zack Snyder, Richard Donner, Patty Jenkins, James Gunn, Christopher Nolan, and various other filmmakers that have inspired Muschietti’s ultimate vision.
One would think seeing Michael Keaton in the trailers would ultimately impact the effectiveness of when he shows up on-screen for the first time, but it doesn’t. Seeing Keaton back in action is incredibly satisfying and proves why he has been and will always be the best Batman. He shines in every single scene he is in. Yes, some of the moments are fueled by nostalgia, but I am a child of the 80s, and seeing him back as a caped crusader gave me goosebumps. Still, ultimately it is his commitment to the story and the character that takes the performance to another level.
Sasha Calle as Supergirl is an absolute delight. While she doesn’t enter the film until midway, Calle shines bright in every frame she has on-screen. She is an actress who I hope comes back to reprise this role in the future, but she is also someone whose work I look forward to seeing more of in the near future. There are a lot of other superheroes who pop up throughout The Flash, including Ben Affleck. It is great to see all of them, but mentioning other characters would do a great disservice to fans, so I will keep it vague.
In terms of the story, I have to say I was shocked by how emotional this film is. The heart and soul of The Flash is the story of Barry Allen and his family. This story works in such a way that you can feel almost every emotion while watching this film. You will laugh and cry. It fires on all cylinders and delivers laughs, heart, and action. This is a multilayered story that takes the viewer on a journey that allows them to be entertained and emotionally invested in the characters and their motivations behind what is happening on-screen.
This brings me to Ezra Miller, the glue who holds this entire film together. Miller is tasked with playing two versions of Barry Allen, one that is childlike and funny, and the other who is serious and emotional. Ezra’s performance showcases just how talented of a performer they are. They bring such rich emotion and depth to each of the roles of Barry Allen. The film wouldn’t be nearly as successful if it weren’t for Ezra’s commitment to the material and their understanding of how to bring both these characters to life in such an honest and effective way.
The Flash is one of those films I know I will be venturing out to the theaters to see repeatedly. It is a movie that will undoubtedly take more than one viewing to truly appreciate its brilliance. The film delivers on everything fans of DC want and even goes so far as to throw in some surprises you never saw coming. I would strongly recommend that you avoid spoilers as much as possible. Trust me, you don’t want anyone to ruin the fun that this film has in store for you. Speed over to the theater and see it as soon as you can.