A Brief History
On June 16, 2023, Warner Brothers and DC Studios released yet another big budget superhero movie, in this case, The Flash. Obviously, part of the DC Extended Universe that includes notable superheroes such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, the $220 million budget film was expected to a blockbuster.
Alas, so far the box office has reaped a disappointing $268.5 million, not enough, at least yet, to make a profit let alone approach lofty expectations that Marvel and DC movies generate. Losses are expected to approach $200 million. So what went wrong?
Starting with the Covid pandemic, a series of production problems, including multiple post production changes, delayed the release, and Ezra Miller, the main star in the title role, became involved in an alleged sex scandal with a minor Native American girl. Of course, a single scandal is not necessarily enough, and Miller was involved in a string of unseemly, alleged incidents in recent years, including disorderly conduct in Pittsburgh and possessing marijuana in the same incident, choking a woman in Iceland, and a series of incidents in Hawaii, including theft, disorderly conduct, stalking, harassment, and assault.
After the 2022 relationship with the Native American girl became public, another allegation of misconduct with a minor girl surfaced including Miller allegedly showing up at the girl’s house in a bullet proof vest and brandishing a firearm!
As they say on TV commercials, “Wait! There’s more!” Miller also is accused of housing a woman with minor children in the presence of easily accessible firearms as well as marijuana cultivation and use in the presence of the kids. Finally, for now, in August of 2022, Miller was charged with burglary, a felony, in Vermont, later plea bargaining the charge down to trespass.
With the catastrophic conduct and alleged conduct by the film’s star, the public was somewhat turned off by the upcoming film. When the film was finally ready for review, critics were not especially kind, especially regarding the visual effects and the construction of the third act, although the ending was remade multiple times.
As with most of these comic book based superhero films, The Flash has mass quantities of action and flashy visual effects, although those effects often seem cartoonish. For example, in an early scene when The Flash is saving babies, the babies look suspiciously like dolls. Another criticism that we agree with is the younger version of Barry Allen, aka The Flash, is an annoying teen straight out of Bill and Ted or Valley Girl.
The movie plot uses a time traveling and alternate universe/multiverse theme which is trendy lately, which enables the filmmakers to feature Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, and George Clooney all in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Some other big stars make appearances, including Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Jeremy Irons (Alfred). Generally speaking, the casting and acting was pretty good, although perhaps at times kind of tongue in cheek.
The longish 144 minute running time does not seem too long, as the action is pretty persistent. The now familiar trope of the “Butterfly Effect” of time travel messing up the future instead of helping it is barely banal and seems to be fairly logical, as those things go. We even get a female version of Superman!
Rated PG-13, The Flash should not be offensive in either its visuals or its humor to parents bringing young children to the film. Overall, we have to rate the movie as at least pretty good, not an epic like Jaws or Raiders of the Lost Ark, but certainly good enough as far as Marvel/DC type movies go. We liked it and believe the criticism is a bit overstated, although we understand how the movie going public might be leery of Ezra Miller due to the many accusations and reports of misconduct. If you are able to suspend moral judgement for 144 minutes we think you will like the movie, too.
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For more information, please see…
Lotowycz, Randall. The Flash: The Official Visual Companion: The Scarlet Speedster from Page to Screen. Insight Editions, 2023.
Scott, Melanie. DC Comics Ultimate Character Guide, New Edition. DK, 2019.
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