DC Comics Batman The Flash

Spoiler Alert: Comparing “The Flash” to “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for the movie studios to release their most expensive and hyped movies of the year. “The Flash” was one of those highly anticipated comic book movies from the DC universe. Ezra Miller was cast as The Flash all the way back in 2014, the movie was greenlit in October 2015, and the original release date was March 23, 2018. After a steady stream of setbacks due to script changes, creative differences, COVID, and some PR disasters to clean up from Ezra’s streak of off-screen incidents, the final movie release date was pushed all the way to June 2023. Typically promotion for a giant movie like “The Flash” would be a massive part of the process to get people hyped to see it, but they had to move forward with a toned-down press tour that kept Ezra away from the public eye as much as possible. This likely impacted the success of the opening weekend even though the promotion budget for the film was speculated to be about $65 million.

I am starting to venture into the DC universe now that James Gunn will be in the driver’s seat starting in 2025, which is a blessing for the mess of movies and bad casting up that DC has gone through. Although he didn’t have much to do with “The Flash”, this movie was seen as the reset to a better future for DC. I had the benefit of not knowing anything about “The Flash” or the actor who played him (more on that later), and the only thing I knew was that there were going to be a few Batman cameos.  The observations here will probably be obvious to those of you who are familiar with The Flash, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

I couldn’t help but compare this movie to Marvel franchises, so this article will be comparing “The Flash” from the DC Cinematic Universe with “Spiderman: No Way Home” from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Young Superhero Complex

The movie did a good job introducing The Flash (also known as Barry Allen) and the dynamics of his existence within the first 5-10 minutes of the film. Not bad considering the movie run time is 2 hours and 24 minutes. The movie opens in a familiar superhero fashion, with an action-packed rescue scene that usually would be too big of a task for rookie superheroes. The movie starts in Gotham City, where Batman still reigns supreme and The Flash is the kid who has something to prove.

“The Flash” vs. “Spiderman: No Way Home” storylines

If you zoom all the way out, “The Flash” has some notable similarities to “Spiderman: No Way Home”. Both live in a world where superheroes are part of life, and they have fans that either love or hate them. The Flash and Spider-Man (also known as Peter Parker) were warned of the dangers of the multiverse if they pursue their respective missions but they decided to do it anyway.

The Flash travels to the past

The Flash (Barry) is still a little clumsy with his powers, so Batman is still the one to count on to save the day in this Gotham City. Still traumatized by the death of his mother and the wrongful incarceration of his father, Barry wanted to turn back time to save them both. The wiser Batman warned against the mission, but Barry did it anyway.

The Flash DC Movie Batman
Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics.

Spider-Man brings the past to the present day

Spider-Man’s mentor-type figure in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is fellow Avenger, Dr. Strange. His best friends were not accepted into college due to their affiliation with Spider-Man, so Peter felt that the only way to fix the situation was to go to Dr. Strange for a memory-erasing spell. The spell did not go as planned, and instead of traveling back in time, Spider-Man opened a portal to the multiverse, where the timelines ran parallel.

The OG Michael Keaton Batman had his OG gear, and it was awesome

The Michael Keaton Batman brought back the classic yellow and black insignia on his armor and dusted off the old Batmobile to fight alongside The Flash on his mission. The classic theme song from the early “Batman” movies was weaved into the scenes at particular moments that felt organic and nostalgic.

Batman The Flash
Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics

The cameos

Some of the former Batmen from earlier films make cameos in “The Flash” that longtime DC fans were excited for. While Batman’s part in “The Flash” movie was emphasized in the trailers and promo for the movie, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” took a different approach to bring back former Spider-Men. Although speculation and leaks were hinting that cameos might be in order, it was the where, when, and how the Spider-Men teamed up that took audiences by surprise.

spider man no way home maguire garfield holland Spoiler Alert: Comparing "The Flash" to "Spider-Man: No Way Home"
Marvel Comics and Sony Pictures

Final thoughts

For one of the first DC movies that I’ve taken an active interest in with higher expectations, “The Flash” did meet those expectations for me and I think Ezra Miller did a great job. I waited a week to start digging into Ezra Miller’s past because unfortunately, it did negatively affect my perspective on the actor. I’m not sure if I could watch another movie of his without thinking about the chaotic life of alleged assault, burglary, and odd behavior. I wish him well and hope he learns from his mistakes and works on his mental health so he can come back to the iconic character in the DC franchise.

I give “The Flash” an overall rating of B. With all the other twists and turns throughout the movie, it was fun to watch even with limited knowledge of the DC universe.

Here are the full trailers for “The Flash” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, and let me know if you agree with the comparisons!

Check out my review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Spoiler Alert: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review

Spoiler Alert: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review

The Guardians came together for one last time on a mission, leading up to major decisions that would change their respective worlds, and no one amongst these ride-or-die best friends told each other yet.

This Time It Is Personal

It has been confirmed everywhere that this would be the final Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. For Volume 3, their mission was not to defend and save a world that needed help. If there were ever questions about how Rocket became the walking, talking, fighting, and intelligent member of the Guardians, Volume 3 is where the answers can be found.

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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

The movie opens with a bit of a somber look into a regular day of the crew (minus Gamora). Star-Lord is still dealing with Gamora’s death by getting blackout drunk and having to be carried to his bed to sleep it off. No one was expecting any kind of attack, but a villain from Vol. 2, the gold, flying mama’s boy Adam Warlock came in seeking revenge by orders of his mother, Ayesha. Adam Warlock was created to be the perfect Sovereign, one of the strongest in the Marvel Universe. His destruction of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s town was one thing, but the team was immediately activated by passion, urgency, and fear when the attack on Rocket was so severe that he only had 48 hours to live. As he fought for his life, the rest set out to retrieve the code that will disarm the kill switch that was built into his body when he was a young raccoon used as one of hundreds of animals tested by High Evolutionary to make a perfect being for society.

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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3
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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

Adorable Animals and Innocent Children Were Still The Test Subjects After Rocket Escaped

This was Rocket’s movie. If you love animals, bring tissues. I cried at least four times when Rocket would have flashbacks while sedated waiting for his friends to come back with the cure. The flashbacks had everything from the scientists operating on him, throwing him in jail, and making friends with three other animals that experienced the same thing – torture for the purpose of experimentation to find the right formula for a perfect being. They were told that they were going to be released. The four failed experiments formed a strong friendship until Rocket finds out the truth about their fate and tries to do something to save his other animal test subject friends. He was unsuccessful, and his friends were killed at the hands of the High Evolutionary.

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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

All Hands on Deck

The Guardians of the Galaxy were on their most passionate mission yet and determined to do anything and everything to do it. I was a little confused about the return of Gamora, but I was too focused on trying to follow their paths around the galaxy to different planets and what each planet had that was needed to keep Rocket alive. Obstacles were plenty, but the determination to save a best friend is a different kind of mission that the Guardians of the Galaxy could not lose.

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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

And then the first ever F-bomb in the MCU was dropped, and Chris Pratt was the chosen one to do it. I think it was said in the safest scene for the F-bomb to be dropped. It wasn’t during an action scene, it wasn’t directed at any particular person. I think it is safe to say that the word was placed in the dialog where tensions and frustrations are high, making it very mild and pretty harmless to young fans.

Marvel, MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3
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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

The actual bad guy High Evolutionary was becoming more obsessed by the day, with finding Rocket to use for more experimentation by taking his brain to continue researching. The Guardians barely made it, but it was touch and go at the very moment they were trying to save him. I was sobbing at this point. Luckily it was the 3D version so no one could really me crying with the dark 3D glasses.

Love and Purpose

I was satisfied with how everything was wrapped up. The Guardians of the Galaxy disbanded on their own accord, the soundtrack was amazing and the little jokes were still sprinkled in.  Maybe a little too many considering that they were on an extremely tight timeline for a really important purpose. But when you add innocent animals, caged children, and each of the Guardians discovering each other’s true purpose, it was a sad, meaningful, heartwarming, tale fitting for the last volume of one of the best franchises in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I’ll leave the rest of the storyline out so that this whole article isn’t a spoiler. But seriously, bring tissues. Check out the trailer here!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Marvel, MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.
Thor Love Thunder Marvel Movie

Thor: Love and Thunder Review

After much anticipation, I went to see Thor: Love and Thunder on opening day in 3D.   Once I heard Guns N’ Roses play during the two-minute trailer, the expectations for Thor: Love and Thunder were high.  At this point, it was clear that the movie would be less action and more about the journey. Plus, you cant use ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ if the movie is going to be terrible. Long story short – I definitely want to see it again, but from a different point of view.

Spoiler Alert

Not your Average Avengers Movie

The last three Thor movies were easier to follow if you had some context set up from the previous chapters, but Thor: Love and Thunder seems to be an easier one to jump into without watching any of the other Marvel movies. While the Avengers movies have a few comedic one-liners here and there this one is noticeably different, perhaps as an intentional part of his character development as the movie starts with Thor going from out of shape hot mess (obviously in a fat suit) to the god of Thunder who is worthy of carrying the name.  The most obvious giveaway that this Marvel movie was different is the title: Thor: LOVE and Thunder.

Thor Marvel Movie Hemsworth
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The story was a bit rushed, cramming in all the pieces rather haphazardly but left plenty of room for laughs. Natalie Portman described the director Taika Waititi’s interesting approach on how they utilized the script, basically changing a ton of things in the script last minute all throughout filming. Thor: Love and Thunder is simple enough to stand on its own which is great for the box office for regular moviegoers. Kids might find the bad guy’s appearance and the kidnapping part a bit unsettling since they are taken from their homes at bedtime, but overall it seems to be a milder than Avengers action movie and heavier on the silly.  Also, keep an eye out for cameos from Matt Damon and Melissa McCarthy.

Money Stats

As of July, Thor: Love and Thunder had the third biggest opening weekend of 2022 right behind Jurassic Park: Dominion and Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with domestic sales of $143 Million.  Globally, the movie brought in a little over $300 Million, which means they have surpassed the $250 Million that it took to actually make the movie. Adding in another $100 Million to promote it, the movie will certainly surpass that $300 Million mark. Its insane how much money and how little time it takes to make the movie only for all of it to be recouped in ticket sales in opening weekend. With Marvel and Disney stamped on the project and their deep pockets to make the movie, their gigantic spend is worth the money and brand equity.

Family on Set

Taika Waititi Thor Marvel
Instagram @taikawaititi

Behind the scenes, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and the director Taika Waititi brought their children into the mix and made them official cast members.  Hemsworth’s 10 -year-old daughter India gets her own spotlight as Love (the name of the girl who is the catalyst that sets the movie on its track forward), with her death being the breaking point that turned her father into the bad guy, Gorr the God Butcher.  She also plays Thor’s daughter (I’m going to leave this one alone as it will make sense when you see the movie).

The Plot  – Really Quick Version

I’m leaving out a ton of stuff but this should help with the storyline.

After a quick cameo of the Guardians of the Galaxy crew (including Chris Pratt) getting ready to take off on their ship, Thor to begin his journey of finding his purpose in life.  Once the montage of Thor working out and getting back in shape gets rolling, a narrator creates a baseline for the audience bringing everyone up to speed on what they need to know.  Jane was given a minute of backstory but seemed to be just enough to illustrate her evolution from scientist to superhero.

The origin story of Gorr the God Butcher (played by Christian Bale) is packed into the first 10 minutes of the film in a very predictable but satisfying way establishing the most important plot points to keep in mind.  Gorr’s daughter died because of the God he worshiped.  His God didn’t care.  A sword called Necrosword appeared from the ground and Gorr used it to kill his God.  It was at this point that Gorr became the God Butcher on a mission to kill all the Gods in existence to avenge his daughter’s death, inevitably going after Thor.  Instead of fighting on Thor’s “turf” he scoops up all the children from the village and takes them to his home turf to lure Thor into battle.  Jane (Thor’s ex girlfriend introduced in the first Thor) has cancer and sought out Thor’s hammer hoping that it can help cure her.  She soon reunites with Thor who was not at all expecting to see her, this time with Thor super powers.  Her cancer and newly acquired Thor powers are working against each other, so she is struggling to choose between keeping her own strength or using the power to fight off bad guys.  The two set off on a journey to find the children while tackling side battles and trying to navigate their complicated relationship.  The final fight sends the children back home, leaving Thor and Jane to destroy the Necrosword that the God Butcher yields.

jane and valkyrie Thor: Love and Thunder Review
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

God of Thunder to Lovestruck Hero

In contrast to a vast majority of superhero movies, the last interactions between Thor and the God Butcher was the validation of the entire movie.  Thor finds himself through loving Jane, and as he held her in his arms weak and dying, he and the God Butcher – now void of the influence of the sword – find common ground with the notion of love being a stronger force than anger or revenge.  With the Necrosword destroyed, Gorr returned to a more rational state of mind, using his last wish to bring his daughter back to life – but only if Thor agrees to take care of her.  If I could pinpoint why I feel a connection to this storyline its likely because of the involvement of children who are the same age as my own. That may be where my bias might come from, but I also feel that any movie with kidnapping or harm to children is difficult for me to watch these days with all of the school shootings going on. Either way the inclusion of children in this movie was a sweet reminder of how precious they are and how much they look up to adults around them and how their innocence should be preserved as long as possible before the reality of the world becomes a part of them. 

As for Guns N’ Roses and the universally recognizable (maybe more known by elder millennials and older) song “Sweet Child of Mine”, it ends up being more than just a reason to make the movie look cool.  When the song plays at the end with Thor raising the little girl, the movie came full circle and facilitated a warmhearted ending.  He found love in the sweet child of his. The movie title comes full circle as well – Thor: Love (his daughter) and Thunder (God of Thunder).

Check out the Spotify playlist that I put together.

Why I’m Excited to See it Again

The next time I watch Thor: Love and Thunder, I’m going into the movie with expectations of a superhero movie that has as much action as there are laughs. Compared to the rest of the Avengers and what they fight when they are on their own, Thor seems to either be downplaying the danger he is facing or is just really good at his job. Thor on his day off from fighting the big fights for humanity with the Avengers and instead helping smaller subsets of people who definitely need saving, but don’t need the whole gang to back him up.  Take this movie at face value.  It will be way more fun this way.

As part of the MCU as it stands today, Thor: Love and Thunder doesn’t really fit the tone of the other movies in the franchise nor the other solo Avengers movies.  It could be lifted out of the MCU and the rest of the movies and character development would be unfazed.  But this one does what others have not yet or may ever do by digging into the emotional toll that comes with the territory and following the journey as he works through it.  Heroes might have super powers, but they still experience life, love and loss like the rest of us.

Marvel on Disney in what chronological order should we Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Good, The Bad and the Inconsistent

Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Good, The Bad and the Inconsistent

An Op-Ed by Mario Vargas

So as I listen to one of my favorite podcasts Newcomers, I end up doing the thing where I answer the questions that Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer ask their guests on their show. I am often running through my own history with the MCU, and since they ask the same question to every guest and I keep answering it, I decided to put my thoughts down on paper.

The MCU is pretty much the only thing that I go to the theater for, and I have for the past 7 years, basically since Age of Ultron. I have also been on Marvel Puzzle Quest and currently on day 2,678.

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Iron Man

Basically my history with the MCU: I saw Iron Man in theaters – thought it was pretty good. Next one I saw in theaters was Iron Man 2, and I thought it was fine. I didn’t keep up with it at all until I watched Winter Soldier, on a plane. I thought it was an awesome action movie, not just a Marvel superhero movie. It got me hooked. I finished the flight by watching Iron Man 3, then I went to see Ultron in theaters. It did lead to one of the few glaring flaws in the MCU’s idea of one long narrative, where Tony retires one movie but is immediately back the next.

It appears that I am not alone in some of the complaints and inconsistencies of quality both for the Marvel franchise as a whole and per movie. The most frequent negative comments I hear about the MCU are:

A) They are formulaic

B) They end on a CGI mushfest,

C) Nothing of consequence happens, and

D) They exist to make money/the integrity and quality now fall second to making money for the investors.

First, I’d like to share my tier designations consisting of both the MCU movies and the shows.

*Note: I don’t prefer origin stories.

S tier (Superior – The best of the best)

Captain America: Winter Soldier

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Avengers Infinity War

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness



Avengers Endgame

Guardians of the Galaxy

A tier (Excellent)

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Thor Ragnarok

Shang Chi

Spiderman No Way Home

What if

Black Widow

Black Panther

Captain America Civil War

Spiderman Far from Home


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B Tier (Great – I’d watch it again)

Spiderman Homecoming

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Iron Man


Captain America the First Avenger

Iron Man 3

Doctor Strange

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C Tier (Good, not great)

Falcon and the Winter Soldier


Avengers Age of Ultron


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D Tier (Eh, one time is good enough)

Captain Marvel


Thor the Dark World


Iron Man 2


It was interesting to do this. I noticed that I enjoy the movies the more they are connected and the more the universe is expanded. I feel that they really hit a groove and became their own thing after Ultron. Early on they are a little too generic, following common action movie beats and not embracing the comic bookiness that they now do. Maybe, but it mostly works so I can forgive it.

I think they have done a great job of making these actions scenes work to incorporate great character specific points and use it to enhance the story. In a vacuum I think Shang Chi’s ending works, but I was taken aback at first that it had another run at each other fight. It’s getting muddy with the multiverse allowing characters to revive as variants, but this isn’t a big deal to me. I’m not mad Don Cheadle is still walking.

But one thing that no one can deny is that feeling you get when you walk into a theater on opening weekend, surrounded by fellow super fans ready to experience the movie the way it was made to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if subconsciously the movie theater experience had a positive effect on my opinion of the movie. Regardless of how the timeline, comic books, cinematic universe, series and other digestible media evolve over the coming years, today I am satisfied and always looking forward to what is next for Marvel.

Mario Vargas

Click here to see the list of the Marvel movies in chronological order.

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