It’s evident that Warner Bros. is facing challenges and skepticism surrounding the future of the DCEU. With the discontinuation of the Zack Snyderverse and the appointment of James Gunn as co-CEO of DC Studios, the studio is attempting to revitalize the superhero IP.
However, recent releases like Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods have received lukewarm responses both at the box office and from critics, contributing to the uncertainty surrounding the franchise’s trajectory.
The Flash, Warner Bros.’ latest hope for the summer season, seems to have fallen short of expectations. Initial reactions from CinemaCon were positive, but as more critics have seen the film, its reputation has dwindled. The subdued press tour, with star Ezra Miller being kept away from the media, has also affected the movie’s buzz. This lackluster reception and limited word-of-mouth may hinder The Flash’s success at the box office.
In a landscape where Marvel has successfully explored the multiverse with films like Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, The Flash appears to be arriving late to the game. It treads familiar ground that audiences have seen before, lacking the innovation and freshness demonstrated by recent Marvel projects like Everything Everywhere All At Once and Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse.
The plot of The Flash centers around Barry Allen, played by Ezra Miller, as he accidentally time travels and encounters an alternate timeline. The movie attempts to showcase connections to other DC films streaming on HBO Max, possibly serving as a way for Warner Bros. to promote their streaming content. However, the convoluted and poorly executed time travel plot, involving elements like tomato sauce and spaghetti noodles, leaves much to be desired.
Despite the presence of Michael Keaton’s Batman and other familiar characters, the film struggles to deliver engaging and interesting storytelling. The constant banter and bickering between the two versions of Barry Allen becomes tiresome, prolonging the already lengthy runtime of the movie. Director Andy Muschietti, known for his horror films, tries to infuse comedy into The Flash but struggles to find the right balance, resulting in sluggish pacing and missed comedic opportunities.
Furthermore, the action sequences, particularly Flash’s running and the slo-mo rescues, lack the spectacle and sense of fun that Marvel has achieved with similar abilities. The film’s attempt to be funny and push boundaries, such as throwing babies out of a skyscraper, feels forced and cynically nostalgic, highlighting the repetitive nature of superhero spectacle rather than delivering genuine entertainment.
Ultimately, The Flash seems to serve more as a marketing campaign to reinvigorate interest in upcoming DCEU titles and to remind audiences of past films in the franchise. This approach reinforces the notion that the DCEU is struggling to find its footing and relies heavily on nostalgia and familiarity rather than genuine innovation and captivating storytelling.
As The Flash endeavors to connect various threads within the DCEU, it becomes evident that the film’s overarching goal is to promote future projects rather than stand on its own merits. This sense of cynicism permeates throughout the narrative, further diminishing the film’s impact and leaving audiences with a feeling of repetitiveness.
The characterization of Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen is a far cry from his endearing portrayal in Justice League. In this solo outing, Barry comes across as a hyperactive and desperate individual seeking validation. His interactions with an alternate version of himself, while intended to provide growth and maturity, only serve to amplify the film’s already exhausting nature. The constant bickering and exposition dumps hinder the movie’s flow, making its 144-minute runtime feel even longer.
Director Andy Muschietti, known for his horror films, struggles to find his footing in the realm of comedy. While there are glimpses of his horror background in some visually striking sequences, the physical slapstick and comedic timing often fall flat. The use of excessive slow-motion effects not only disrupts the pacing but also fails to capture the exhilarating essence of The Flash’s speed.
The film’s attempts to inject nostalgia and references to previous DC movies feel contrived and manufactured, emphasizing the lack of originality and reliance on past successes. Rather than taking risks and offering something new, The Flash seems content with rehashing familiar elements and relying on audience familiarity to evoke a sense of excitement.
The underlying cynicism that permeates The Flash is not only evident in its narrative choices but also in its marketing strategy. By using the film as a vehicle to generate interest in upcoming DCEU titles, Warner Bros. appears to be more concerned with maintaining brand recognition than delivering a truly compelling and self-contained story. This approach does a disservice to both the film and the audience, who are left feeling disillusioned and unfulfilled.
In an era where superhero films have reached new heights of creativity and innovation, The Flash falls short of the mark. Its lackluster execution, convoluted plot, and reliance on tired tropes and nostalgia contribute to its failure to resonate with audiences. The film serves as a reminder that the DCEU is in dire need of a fresh and visionary approach to reignite the enthusiasm and captivate viewers once again.
As fans and critics continue to voice their disappointment with The Flash, it remains to be seen whether Warner Bros. will learn from this experience and make the necessary adjustments to steer the DCEU in a more promising direction. Only time will tell if the franchise can regain its former glory or if it will remain trapped in a cycle of missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential.