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  • Writer's pictureGian Sharma

Flawed Speed: The Flash Struggles to Ignite

The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Christina Hodson, falls short of its ambitions to rejuvenate the DC Extended Universe and propel its lead actor into stardom. While it indulges in multiverse mania, nostalgia, and imaginative flights, the film neglects the exploration of genuine human emotions and delivers a lackluster experience.

One of the film's major setbacks lies in its flat characters, who fail to resonate with the audience. The battles they engage in feel forced and uninspiring, while the computer-generated imagery lacks the necessary authenticity, leaving it feeling artificial and detached. The film fails to capture the essence of speed and electricity that defines the DC superhero, The Flash.

Despite featuring two versions of Barry Allen, including an 18-year-old alternate timeline superhero, this narrative choice does little to elevate the overarching story that revolves around time travel, reality crossing, and the imminent battle to save the world from annihilation.

The Flash immerses Barry Allen into a universe where he desperately seeks support, as renowned heroes such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman are nowhere to be found. Batman has retired from crime-fighting, Superman has vanished, and the absence of other Justice League members undermines the weight of the conflict.

Determined to alter his past and prevent the murder of his mother Nora and the imprisonment of his father Henry, Barry embarks on a plan to change history, even after being cautioned about the potential consequences. However, he finds himself locked out of the timeline he had traveled from, facing his younger self, a less experienced version of The Flash. Barry turns to Bruce Wayne/Batman for assistance, portrayed by Michael Keaton, reprising his role for the first time since Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns.

It is worth noting that the journey to develop a Flash film began in the late 1980s during Burton's Batman era. However, the extensive and troubled development process, coupled with the lead actor's personal controversies, do not have an immediate impact on the film's visual style, tone, or fate.

Regrettably, The Flash lacks the necessary spark to ignite excitement. The film attempts to conceal this lack of genuine passion behind levity, primarily stemming from Barry's nerdy and disgruntled persona. As a sharp forensic scientist, Barry yearns for a more prominent role in the superhero realm.

Barry is thrust into action after Batman and Wonder Woman foil a bank robbery that leads to chaos in a maternity home. He saves newborn babies plummeting to the ground as the hospital crumbles, but his heroism goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

In the past, Barry temporarily loses his powers in an effort to help his younger self obtain them. Batman reluctantly emerges from retirement to assist Barry in his desperation. Together with the present-day Barry, they search for Superman and encounter Kara/Supergirl, portrayed by Sasha Calle. Unfortunately, Calle's portrayal fails to capture the excitement that the DC character once inspired in audiences.

Aesthetically and tonally inconsistent, The Flash struggles to overcome the limitations of its predictable and worn-out storytelling devices. While Ezra Miller's performance is passable, it lacks the energy required to truly captivate viewers. Kiersey Clemons, cast as the journalist seeking answers about Barry's mother's death, is underutilized. The standout performance comes from Michael Keaton, whose charismatic presence validates the notion that genuine superhero prowess extends beyond CGI and metahuman abilities.

Unfortunately, The Flash fails to harness the Speed Force, sputtering along a directionless path that leads nowhere.

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