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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Criticism: ‘The Flash’

Art Critic Zurina Wright says “The Flash” has somewhat cliché time travel and lighthearted quips.
Photo courtesy of IMDb

Art Critic Zurina Wright says “The Flash” has somewhat cliché time travel and lighthearted quips.

Rating: 6/10

Bolting into box offices on June 16, “The Flash” features Ezra Miller’s version of the notorious speedster, Bartholomew Henry “Barry” Allen. The film reprises the origin story of the Flash as he scuffles with his traumatic past.

Spoilers ahead for “The Flash” (2023)

The brutal murder of Barry’s mother and unjust imprisonment of his father leads to his own determination to study forensic analysis and correct the justice system. Turned into the fastest man alive by a lightning strike and chemical spillage accident, Barry is able to dash anywhere in an instant — including the past, with time travel at the focal point of this film.

After the events and formation of the team in the previous movie “Justice League,” Barry finds himself working both a forensic and superhero gig. Already feeling the stress from both professions, the upcoming emotional retrial of his father further increases pressure, pushing Barry to exceed his previous speeds. As Barry’s momentum increases, the Speed Force, a cosmic energy field that is considered to be time itself, propels the Flash into a strange pocket of time.

Discovering these new time travel abilities, the sands of time tempt Barry. One slight change, and Barry can save his parents. Messing with time lands Barry into an alternate reality, with some overlaps and a doppelgänger of his younger alternate self. These disordered realties prompt both Flashes to search for a solution, while releasing the tension through humorous hijinks. As their attempts heighten, growing more desperate to save everyone, the alternate reality Flash’s  mind loses sanity and becomes corrupt. 

“The Flash” offers advice on how to deal with past mistakes and unfortunate events, suggesting, “Not every problem has a solution, sometimes we just have to let go,” as Barry’s mom would say. This is the resolution Barry comes to as he recalls his mother’s mantra. To solve the multiverses clashing, Barry undoes his tampering. A bittersweet ending, as his mother remains dead, but Barry is able to obtain evidence his father was not the one who murdered her, vindicating him from prison in the future.

Unfortunately, some critics concur that this movie is not projected to gain significant growth in the box office. One major theory is that lead actor Ezra Miller has too many controversies, including accusations of assault, grooming, burglary, and with confirmation that they have been charged for possession of marijuana, second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and harassment. Miller also posted threatening abstruse messages directed to the Ku Klux Klan on instagram, and housed a mother of three and her children, lying to the police as to assist in the mother evading an emergency care order.

Despite Miller’s quirky performance as a neurodivergent Flash, some may find it difficult to fully immerse into the storyline knowing their scandals. Another contributing factor may be  dwindling interest in superhero movies, as recent Marvel movies such as“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” are not yielding as high ticket sales either.

Worthy of rewinding? “The Flash” delivers laughs and entertainment, but it fails to convey an extraordinary mind-boggling experience leaving its viewer to dissect various aspects. The animation appears janky at times, precisely toward the end where alternate universes’ heroes are presented through appalling CGI. Plotwise, time travel is messy, often leaving travelers forced to change their decisions when consequences run up on them, and it is not a new concept. Comic book and DC fans might enjoy this film despite predicting the ending.

Warner Bros. may wish to alter the timeline and backstep from current representations of DC Justice League heroes. A relaunch of the dying DC universe seems to be in the making. “The Flash” storyline opened up the reality gates to more universes and variations of heroes, as seen with Michael Keaton starring as the batman of the alternative universe in this production.

Recent interviews describe the future of the DC Universe. James Gunn and Peter Safran have been appointed co-CEOS of the relaunch, and announced the plans for upcoming installments. The first phase of these new wave projects have been titled “Gods & Monsters” with further exploration into classic heroes such as Superman in “Superman: Legacy,” Batman and Robin in “The Brave and the Bold” and Supergirl with “Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow.” 
While these well-known heroes will return, there will also be more unique approaches to the DC Universe with movies based on antiheroes Swamp Thing and the Authority team. Similarly, there will be new approaches in the form of DC television series. Whether these films and shows will successfully revamp the decaying cinematic universe remains unknown, but DC fans may look forward to the future projects and releases.

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