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  • Writer's pictureOli Law

The Flash ★★★★

Andy Muschietti

Starring Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle, Ron Livingston, Maribel Verdú

What a pleasant surprise! The death of the DCEU is upon us, but not before Andrés Muschietti can deliver a heartfelt reboot/ ensemble/origin hybrid of a character doomed to development hell, that somehow serves every purpose it needs to in: The Flash.

Ezra Miller electrifies as Barry Allen/The Flash, an original member of DC’s Justice League, who discovers his speedy abilities can take him back in time to reverse the fateful death of his mother. Against the wishes of Batman (Ben Affleck) he races back forever altering the world around him, causing him to run into a powerless version of himself and a very different yet familiar Batman.

Straight out of the gate, I knew the controversy going into this movie. The franchise hanging by a thread on the verge of James Gunn’s reinvention, the nostalgic click-bait character cameos I awaited and lead actor Ezra Miller’s weekend in Hawaii all hang over this movie like the pivotal storm of the plot.

But Muschietti breaks through the noise with the absurd. The lack of seriousness that most DC entries thus far are known for, gives The Flash a fresh feeling. That ridiculous kookiness seems like the perfect match for unhinged lead Ezra Miller, who not only plays the experienced Flash we’ve seen before, but his past self who must learn to use his newfound powers taught by his older self (a clever spin on the traditional origin story).

Let’s talk Batman! The passing back of the torch from Affleck to Keaton (Michael) works on every level. It serves the plot and gives each character a moment in the sun, with Keaton’s role being just enough nostalgia without going overboard and proving his iteration can still fire on all cylinders, especially against kyrptonians.

Speaking of which Sasha Calle’s Supergirl is also a welcome multiversal change to the status quo, condensing the man of steel into a bitesize 30-minute recap and being equally as badass doing it. To be clear both Keaton and Calle deliver better Bat and Supes than the last few entries of the series.

But this is The Flash’s movie through and through. Having two versions of the character help to establish the origin of our hero without having a film set entirely in the past where we know the stakes. The ramifications of the situation are the true villain of the story and that’s what makes The Flash stand apart from most other superhero blockbusters.

That being said, like the universe around him, when the flash travels back in time the horrors begin to unfold - mainly the CGI. I’ve seen better polygons on the PlayStation 2, and these elements become so jarring that you wonder why they couldn’t just spend a little more time to polish it up. Some of it borders on nightmare fuel but luckily for me, the heart of the story finds a safe path through the computer generated sludge.

Ultimately, The Flash is a fresh, fun, family-friendly fantasy for fans of the DC Pantheon and serves its purpose as the bridge into DC’s future. It gives a subtle hint at some changes being made along the way and left me with a smile on my face, something DC hasn’t been able to achieve for a long time.

The Flash available in UK cinemas now

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