In a nutshell, the entire premise of The Flash is Barry Allen’s desire to save his mother in the past and inadvertently creating a new timeline in the process. The question is here is how does Ezra Miller’s character get to the point of desperation and does the impossible to save his family. Enter Ben Affleck’s Batman.
As seen in the trailers, Affleck’s version of the Dark Knight will appear in The Flash. And while it isn’t known what kind of part he’ll play or how he’ll work alongside Miller’s Barry Allen, the DC star will certainly influence the younger hero to save his mother, one way or another. This will kickstart the whole gist of the film and cause Barry to create an alternate timeline, one where there’s no Kal-El to fight Zod and his invading Kryptonian forces. It’s safe to say that the film’s first half will deal with this premise and explain the entire thing to its viewers.
It’s impressive that it still manages to get all of that across, because for a film called The Flash, there sure is a lot of Batman in it. Even though it indulges in unnecessarily long Batman action sequences and numerous overt references to the Tim Burton Batman films, they never overshadow Barry’s story. The two Batmans are contrasted to excellent effect to accent Barry’s plight, with Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight lamenting that scars shouldn’t be undone because they make us who we are, and Michael Keaton’s Caped Crusader admitting there is an allure to the idea of being able to undo all that pain. As men orphaned by violence as children they have a lot in common and thus provide Barry with juicy philosophical food for thought. For his part, Affleck seems more at home as Batman and Bruce Wayne than ever with a (very likely final) performance that’s all business and sadness with a perfectly measured dash of dry humor.
Unfortunately, the Supergirl we meet in this mashed-up world feels more like a plot device than a fully fleshed-out character, and it’s sad to watch as her part in the story veers into cringey cliche territory. That said, actor Sasha Calle shines as much as she can given the thin nature of the role, and manages to make an impression with her disillusioned Kara Zor-El, who holds an understandable grudge against humanity.
All of those characters play major roles, but this is the first time we’ve seen Barry in a movie centered around him, and Muschietti takes care to showcase the hero’s signature powers in true blockbuster fashion. Whereas Zack Snyder rendered super speed in slow motion, Muschietti makes you feel the Gs from the the first time Flash strikes his admittedly dorky sprinting pose and takes off.
Essentially, Miller would go from playing one twin to the other before and after lunch, the priority being which character was bearing the bulk of the drama in the scene. The Muschiettis worked with Miller over six months of prep and across 138 shooting days.
“Truly the commitment, the discipline, the humor, the fun, the excitement of doing this for them; for them it was an opportunity. For years, Ezra has been an obscure actor, because they were doing a lot of independent movies. This is a movie that portrays their full abilities as a performer,” Andy Muschietti adds.
We talk with the Muschiettis about landing Michael Keaton as Batman, Sasha Calle’s new Supergirl, newly installed DC Bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran’s notes on the film and the new It-prequel Max series, Welcome to Derry.
Muschietti has already said that he’s open to having Miller reprise Barry Allen in a Flash sequel. The current Rotten Tomatoes critical score for The Flash is 72% fresh from 86 reviews. Tracking has the domestic opening for The Flash at around $75M.
And if Warners can’t bank on the Flash himself to bring audiences in, it is hoping that Batman, one of the biggest superheroes in the world, can, as well as the nostalgia factor for a returning Michael Keaton. Both have been heavily profiled in the campaigns, and Keaton showed up for a fan event in London last weekend.
But it’s unclear if it’s resonating. Having both Keaton and Ben Affleck back as Batman has drawn comparisons to ground trod by the successful Spider-Man: No Way Home (unfairly, as Flash was to have originally arrived in theatres before that movie). And on the flip side, moviegoers can feel like they just recently saw a Batman movie, in the form of Robert Pattinson’s The Batman, released in 2022.
“They are not promoting Flash as a character because they can’t,” a rival studio executive says regarding not putting too much focus on Miller.
Normally, studios would also have a big movie’s stars blanket late night talk shows, but due to the writers strike, those shows have shut down. That has been a blow to movies, but in the case of Flash, it may prove advantageous. Miller isn’t conspicuously absent from the shows, and co-stars don’t have to field awkward questions about their troubled star.
In DC’s Flashpoint, the comic crossover event ended with Barry Allen resetting the universe and creating a new one after trying to save his mother. It’s safe to say that the DC cinematic universe’s upcoming hit will end in a similar manner.
There’s already word on the street that The Flash’s ending will erase major DCEU heroes from existence, which can possibly lead to a new cinematic universe becoming a reality. It makes sense too because with James Gunn and Peter Safran co-leading DC Studios, the Snyderverse is essentially dead and a new direction is going to replace it sooner than later. Thanks to The Flash, it’s only a matter of time before the new DC universe can come up with something new and refreshing for fans. Until then, better reserve your seats so you can see if these predictions will come true in The Flash.
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