Thursday 15 June 2023

REVIEW: The Flash (2023) - Starring Michael Keaton and Sasha Calle

Review by Jon Donnis
I found myself unsure if I should review The Flash due to the disgraceful crimes of its lead star, not to mention the fact that Warner Bros and DC seem incapable of making moral and ethical decisions regarding the actions of the star of its films. As such I will not mention the name of the Actor who plays The Flash during this review, and I will totally separate the actor who deserves to be in prison, from the beloved character, most famously played in the TV series by the excellent Grant Gustin, who really should have starred in this film. Anyway, with that out of the way, onto the film itself.

After aiding Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), also known as Batman, and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), also known as Wonder Woman, in foiling a botched bank robbery, Barry Allen, the speedster known as The Flash, decides to revisit his childhood home. There, he immerses himself in memories of his parents, Nora (Maribel VerdĂș) and Henry (Ron Livingston), whose lives were tragically disrupted when Henry was wrongly convicted for Nora's murder. Overwhelmed by his emotions, Barry unintentionally journeys back in time to earlier that day and shares this revelation with Bruce. Despite Bruce's cautionary words about the potential risks of time travel, Barry is determined to alter the past.

Returning to the present, Barry suddenly finds himself forcibly ejected from the Speed Force by another speedster and unexpectedly lands in an alternate version of 2013, where his mother is alive. Realizing that he has arrived on the very day he originally acquired his superhuman abilities, Barry locates his past self and comprehends the significance of this moment. Together, the two versions of Barry Allen proceed to the Central City Police Department, where Barry takes a bold step by ensuring that his 2013 counterpart is struck by lightning, granting him extraordinary powers at the cost of losing his own.

As Barry grapples with the challenges of mentoring his younger self in mastering his newfound abilities, the duo stumbles upon a broadcast delivered by General Zod (Michael Shannon), who ominously declares his intent to invade Earth.

The biggest "spoiler" of the film, which everyone knows, is that Michael Keaton returns to the role he made famous, as everyone's favourite Batman. And in many ways this film really is a Batman film paying tribute to the legendary actor and the role he made famous.

It is hard to talk about the film without mentioning the cameos, and towards the end of the film as the multiverse is collapsing, we get to see some great cameos, some very much beloved DC stars of the past, as well as one big one who never got to be. I will leave it at that.

I am curious as to how far we are away from having a totally CGI Superman actually star in a complete film, you will understand what I mean if you watch The Flash.

The film itself is ok, it is not great, don't get me wrong, I loved seeing Keaton as Batman, he was always my favourite, and seeing an older version of that character is a lot of fun, and proves if anything there is still some life left in that Batman.

You will know that Supergirl (Sasha Calle) appears in the film, and I actually quite like Sasha Calle's version, it is different without being woke, or completely rewritten. My only issue is we don't get to see that much of her until towards the end of the film, and she barely has any lines.

Another issue with stories that feature messing with time, is that often when everything is fixed, all that you just saw and had emotional investment in, suddenly means nothing, because it never happened.

The visual effects in The Flash are excellent as you would expect, the cameos especially towards the end are a lot of fun and are probably what you will take away most from the film.

The Flash character arc is very much retreading what you have already seen done in the TV series, and done over much longer period and with more detail, so I wasn't that interested in that part of the film.

The ending is ok, a bit of an anticlimax because of the time travel issues i mentioned earlier. There is a funny twist right at the very end, which probably is the only moment I raised a smile throughout.

A strong performance from Keaton, the cameos, and great visual effects save this film.

The Good
One last time to see Michael Keaton as Batman, what more could you possibly want? I liked Sasha Calle as Supergirl even if her part was limited.

The Bad
At 2 hours and 15 minutes the film felt very long. It is hard to separate the crimes of the actor and the character when watching, and you will constantly feel anger that they never recast The Flash, or refilmed "Thems" parts.

An enjoyable DC film, if a little pointless in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't set anything up, it doesn't end any arcs, its just a film with some nice cameos.

I score The Flash a fair 7/10

Out Now in Cinemas.