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The Flash Review: A Comic Book Fan’s Dream Come True

For better or for worse, The Flash is the most comic book-y live-action superhero movie I’ve ever seen. Director Andy Muschietti has created a cinematic experience that captures the feeling of reading a Geoff Johns epic with jaw-dropping splash pages illustrated by Andy Kubert. 

Years ago, a lightning bolt struck forensic scientist Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), dousing him with chemicals and transforming him into the fastest man alive – the Flash. But superspeed isn’t all that defines this hero. Barry dedicated his life to fighting crime and defending the innocent long before gaining superpowers. 

When Barry was a child, someone broke into his house and murdered his mother, Nora (Maribel Verdú). The police pinned the crime on his father, Henry (Ron Livingston), who remained in prison ever since. 

When the film begins, Barry has turned to fellow Justice League member Batman (Ben Affleck) to investigate his father’s case. But even the world’s greatest detective can’t uncover evidence that exonerates Henry.  

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In an act of desperation, Barry takes matters into his own hands. He taps into the speed force and blasts through the timestream to go back to the day his mother died.  

This well-intentioned action has dire consequences. By saving Nora’s life, Barry disrupts the natural flow of time, which sends shockwaves throughout the multiverse.  

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Suddenly Barry finds himself without his superpowers and trapped in a world under siege by an alien invader. And making matters worse, the Justice League doesn’t exist in this new reality. To save the planet and find a way home, Barry recruits an unlikely team made up of a rookie Flash (Ezra Miller), an elderly Batman (Michael Keaton), and an angry Kryptonian (Sasha Calle). 

I can’t stress enough how much The Flash feels like a comic book come alive. The only live-action film that comes this close to capturing the essence of its comic book source material is Edgar Wright’s 2010 masterpiece, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. 

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Even though comic book movies have dominated the box office for years, the studios producing them struggle to find the right balance to stay true to the pulpy source material. They often mess with classic origin stories, ditch iconic costumes, and meddle with canonical storylines. 

Not here though. The Flash wholeheartedly embraces its comic book roots. 

Unlike many of its ilk, this film makes no attempt to tone down its characters’ colourful costumes or ground its story in a realistic world. It isn’t concerned with exploring weighty themes akin to Man of Steel or Captain America: Civil War. Its primary goal is to have you grinning from ear to ear as you leave the theatre, and for the most part, it succeeds. 

The film’s screenwriters Christina Hodson and Joby Harold don’t provide the most cohesive or thought-provoking superhero story, but do they ever keep the plot zipping along. The story moves ahead at the blistering speed of Barry Allen on a meth-fueled frenzy. 

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The Flash is jam-packed with exhilarating action sequences, shocking reveals, and impactful emotional moments. Like the Flash’s best comic book runs, the film maintains an irreverent tone that transitions between sombre and wistful as the stakes rise. Muschietti has an impeccable sense of when to slow down for poignant emotional beats. 

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However, that same degree of effort didn’t translate to the film’s special effects, which are all over the map. They range from how the hell did they do that to how the hell did this shot make it into a blockbuster film? The visuals dazzle whenever Barry enters the speed force, immersing viewers in a psychedelic dreamscape where time fractures into infinite possibilities. 

Unfortunately, the heavy reliance on digital effects diminishes the impact of the biggest action sequences, transforming them into animated showcases reminiscent of video game cut scenes. Watching a pixelated blur race around the screen is never as compelling as staring at an actual human face. 

Miller delivers a seamless performance in both versions of Barry, to the point where you forget you’re watching a single performer playing dual roles. Naturally, Keaton’s Batman steals the spotlight whenever he appears on screen, but the relationship between the two Barrys remains the film’s emotional heartbeat. 

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The Flash offers everything 10-year-old me ever wanted from a comic book movie. In many ways, it delivers the type of story I never dreamed of seeing in live-action. It thoroughly captures the magic of flipping through a classic multi-issue Justice League crossover event. 

Strong performances, thrilling action, and some of the most insane cameos ever make The Flash one of this summer’s can’t-miss films. It’s as preposterous, imaginative, and bombastic as a superhero movie could ever hope to be.   

But at the end of the day, I’m still of two minds about this movie.  

I love that it’s a 144-minute gift to superhero fans that demands you accept it on its own outlandish terms. But how long can the industry survive by luring viewers into theatres with unapologetic nostalgia bait? 

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If studios keep producing the films fans always wanted, who’s left to create the movies fans didn’t know they needed? 



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