“The Flash” finally makes its way into the super hero realm with its own story starring Ezra Miller as Barry aka The Flash. It’s an origin story and save-the-world story all wrapped into one dizzying, fast-paced affair. With special effects we all expect from this genre, “The Flash” adds a little more zip to the story to make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
We meet Barry, twitching, eyes darting, as he attempts to order his high-calorie breakfast sandwich which allows him to propel himself at the speed of light to save Gotham from its next deadly disaster. Barry is a bit of a twit; always late for work as a forensic technician and awkward in all social settings. His sad story of losing his mom and his dad innocently behind bars, accused of her death sets into motion the events that lie ahead. Barry realizes he can time travel and with this perhaps he can save not only his mom but his dad. Of course, as Batman (Ben Affleck) points out, it’s our pain and experiences that make us who we are. Change that, and we change not only our past but our futures. Nothing could be more accurate as we watch Barry change his world.
The first third of the movie entertainingly sets up the foundation for the craziness ahead. Barry travels back to change his mother’s destiny then interjects himself at a pivotal point in his life; the day he got his powers. And this is when the fun begins…Barry meets himself and must convince his younger version that they must work together to keep their lives safe. It’s an hilarious romp through the past as the details of all the important and insignificant things have slightly changed. Of course, there’s still “Back to the Future,” a reference made frequently both overtly and subtly, but the star is no longer Michael J. Fox. How could Barry’s influence have had that much of a ripple? The conversation and arguments over these little details continually sprinkled into the storyline create constant levity throughout the first two acts.
And then “The Flash” succumbs to what every other super hero movies falls prey to…it takes itself too seriously. However, even with the final fight scene that does go on too long, it also takes breaks to interject content so that your system doesn’t go on overload and you become desensitized to the action. Well done, director Andy Muschietti and writers Christina Hodson and Joby Harold! The writers also give us so many surprises throughout the film, all created by the spaghetti mess of timelines, that we are waiting with bated breath for the next gem to occur.
Finding novel ways to tell yet another super hero story is no easy feat, but somehow this one feels fresh. Miller creates two personas with ease and we believe we see two different people on the screen. I don’t want to give any spoilers away but just know that Batman is the highlight of the movie. Of course, the special effects are incredible, but it’s these effects in the first act that are most striking and unique. As Barry begins to understand time travel, he goes a little too fast and what happens makes you visually awestruck. Attention to this detail early on in the film allows you to easily immerse yourself into this world of make-believe.
“The Flash” will make you laugh and keep you engaged for most of the film, although, again, the writers fall victim to every other super hero movie in not knowing when to make it stop. At a running time of 2 hours and 24 minutes, it could have used a little more editing in that final act. If you’re a fan of DC (or is it Marvel?) Comics, stick around after the credits roll. And if you’re not, that final, final, final scene isn’t going to matter.