The Flash Parent Guide
This is a completely mediocre film, saved by the presence of Michael Keaton brilliantly reprising his role as Batman.
Parent Movie Review
When Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) isn’t running errands as The Flash for Batman (Ben Affleck), he pays the bills by working as a forensics investigator for the police. And in what little remains of his free time, he’s been trying to get his dad, Henry (Ron Livingston), out of prison where he’s been incarcerated for the murder of his wife Nora (Maribel Verdu), Barry’s mother. Henry is, in fact, innocent, but a lack of exonerating evidence means he’s spent most of Barry’s life behind bars. Haunted by the tragedies that have shaped his family, Barry does what he does best - runs away. Really, really fast. So fast, in fact, that Barry finds himself outside of reality as he knows it.
Wherever it is that he winds up, Barry is able to manipulate the flow of time itself, and he seizes the opportunity to put his family back together. A few simple changes, and Barry is living in a world where his mother his alive, his father is out of prison…and he, Barry, is an enthusiastic, irritating, and remarkably dim college freshman. This happiness comes at a price: Barry’s new life puts him in a perfect position to see General Zod (Michael Shannon) arrive all over again. But in this timeline, Superman doesn’t seem to exist – nor does Wonder Woman, or any of the metahumans Earth has relied on for protection.
Barry just has one option - a man who made it into the Justice League with nothing but his wits, some combat armor, and a few billion dollars’ worth of tech - but Barry doesn’t recognize the Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) who lives in this reality. If Barry can’t find a way to stop Zod alongside a washed-up former Batman and his 18-year-old self, then everyone on this Earth is going to die – including his mother. Again.
Surprisingly, I’m not filled with deep rage and hostility, which is what I expected from this showing. Early release screeners (thank you again to the studio for providing those, by the way) are very, very exciting for everyone who won tickets in a radio draw – for me, it’s a day at work. So being jostled by slightly grimy children who simply cannot wait for half an hour before being let into the theatre didn’t fill my heart with the milk of human kindness. More like the acrid stew of loathing. The fact that I’m not tearing a strip up and down this movie just for the sake of it is remarkable. You can credit Michael Keaton - I simply cannot say an unkind word about that man.
But seriously, this movie is actually…ok? I think? I’ll admit, there are some issues. Firstly, there is no justification for a two and a half hour runtime. Since there’s so much space to fill, large parts of the movie are just that: Filler. The celluloid equivalent of insulation foam. It’s just there to keep you from leaving before they get to the cool parts – like when Michael Keaton shows up and gets to do cool Batman stuff again. There are also some real inconsistencies in the quality of the digital effects. Some of them are good, pretty much what you’d expect from a major studio release, and some look like they were composited and rendered on a PlayStation 2.
In keeping with DC’s darker, gritter, (and usually, worse) approach, the violence is bloodier than most Marvel movies, where people tend to just get knocked around by magical energy weapons or simply vaporized. This movie gives you a slow-motion shot of a bullet passing through a character’s leg. There’s also a good deal more cussing (including the single f-bomb allowed in a PG-13 movie.) That being said, the eight-year-olds sitting behind me practicing for a soccer career with the back of my seat seemed to be enjoying themselves when they weren’t trying to concuss me, so make of that what you will.
Despite having 45 minutes of good movie buried in the insulation, this movie has a bigger problem. Ezra Miller, who is in almost every scene (usually twice) has a less than stellar public reputation – one which I think the DC studio executives were hoping we would all collectively forget when we hear the Danny Elfman Batman theme. I’m not trying to drag anyone’s reputation through the mud, but I think you might want to have a little
Watch the trailer for The Flash
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Flash rated PG-13? The Flash is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of violence and action, some strong language and partial nudity.
Violence: There are frequent incidents of superhero violence, which involve the usual: supernaturally strong hand-to-hand fighting, some shooting, a lot of explosions, and background chaos that’s definitely killing thousands of people even if they’re not on screen. There are also several instances of graphic impalements. An individual is seen applying their own sutures.
Sexual Content: There are a few off-hand sexual references and a brief scene of non-sexual posterior nudity, which is played for laughs.
Profanity: There are 16 scatological curses, one sexual expletive, and frequent use of terms of deity, as well as occasional mild curses.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking alcohol. A character makes a brief reference to psilocybin mushrooms, but none are ever seen or used in the film.
Page last updated June 14, 2023
The Flash Parents' Guide
If you could go back in time, would you do so? Is there anything you would want to change? How do you think it would affect the present? What would you hope for? Are there are any potential negative consequences?
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This film is preceded by several other franchise films, including Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman, and thankfully, Batman ’89. Fans of The Dark Knight himself might also enjoy DC’s latest reboot of the character in The Batman. If you’re looking for more alternate storylines for Clark Kent, try Superman: Red Son. Marvel’s take on the multiverse can be seen in films like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. An excellent and non-superhero multiverse story is Oscar-winning hit Everything Everywhere All At Once.