FILM REVIEW — Pros and cons of Ezra Miller’s “Flash”
Published 12:02 am Friday, June 16, 2023
Directed by Andy Muscietti
Starring Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, Ron Livingston and Maribel Verdú
2 ½ Stars
Ezra Miller is a very polarizing figure. So much so that the actor’s off-screen issues with the criminal justice system threatened to derail the release of “The Flash,” which finally makes its way to movie theaters this weekend.
I suspect that your enjoyment of this movie will depend on how you feel about Miller, especially since the film gives us two versions of The Flash, often having the actor play two versions of the character in the same scene. That’s fine for some actors, but a little bit of Miller’s quirky acting style goes a long way.
Still, it’s nice that “The Flash” character finally gets his own story, and it starts off with a bang. He’s grousing that he’s become a janitor, mostly being called in to clean up the mess made by his fellow members of The Justice League. Which is why we get a very enjoyable scene where he has to use his superspeed to save a collapsing hospital floor full of babies and panicking nurses. The sequence has a snarky tone, especially as he stops to grab snacks in between saving lives.
It’s a very enjoyable set piece; one that almost had me believing new DC Studios head James Gunn’s assertion that “The Flash is probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.”
For the record, it’s not, but neither is it a complete bomb like some of the other DC Comics fare.
The main story starts off well enough, with our hero using his superspeed to go back in time in an effort to save his mother from being murdered. It’s a noble impulse, but he gets stuck in the past and soon finds himself on a desperate search to find other superheroes as he just happens to arrive on the day the General Zod (Michael Shannon) shows up to destroy the planet.
The Flash is able to track down the OG Batman himself (Michael Keaton), although he’s retired and running around Wayne Manor in his bathrobe. There is some crowd-pleasing appeal watching Batman and Supergirl (Sasha Calle) agree to suit up and join in the fight.
Unfortunately, after the getting the team back together part of the story, the film runs out of creative steam and becomes just another superhero action flick, with generic action sequences and some iffy special effects. One of the inherent problems with The Flash is that we see him running in slow motion, which allows our eyes time to see that the computer graphics look a bit plastic.
The bigger sin for me is that in a movie about the world’s fastest superhero, the film feels a little sluggish, especially as expands to an unnecessary two-and-a-quarter hour run time.
Still, I did enjoy the film’s initial momentum, and while I found Miller’s performance to be both charming and annoying, it was great to see Keaton back in the Bat Suit. The film is also filled with a lot of fun cameo appearances, although I wish they’d spent some of that time on giving Supergirl and Zod better character backstories. I also wish they’d spent more time on better special effects.
All of which means that “The Flash” is a mixed bag of a movie, with Ezra Miller probably being the deciding reason why you will like or loathe this film. I think the performance is pretty good (although grating at times) but I also understand why some people won’t be able to divorce the intriguing performance from the actor’s scandalous off-screen behavior.
Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at email@example.com.