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.
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.
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.
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!