Unfortunately, The Flash doesn’t have the fittingly fast-paced, witty finesse it exudes specially in the opening reel, as it thrillingly tries to incorporate a Back To The Future vibe with the concept of the go-to, must-see multiverse.
An origin story gains traction through Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen who transforms to the eponymous figure to avert familial disaster via time Tavel. Imperilment comes in this decision against the wives of the dour billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). As an entrapment of sorts ensues after a breezy stretch that captures an aura for a bit not unlike another recent alternative reality Marvel film with a conflicted web-singing protagonist.
The ‘now’ and ‘then’ selves unite with an older mentor for a key rescue at a Siberian imprisonment that doesn’t go as planned, and the proceedings end up in a bloated frenzy hinging on thwarting annihilation. For the loyal, ardent DCEU fanbase there will be many moments of wonder along the way. You just wish it could have avoided the overloaded battle-dogged studios bombast disguised as a turbo ride of a video game.
Still, there’s the ‘flashes’ of brilliance from Miller (in dealing with the reality of versions of Barry, one a University freshman) who’s dealt with off-screen controversy that made him (for some) a dubious casting choice (though continuity is there from prevues outings in the ‘Justice League’). Michael Shannon has his blunt brutality intact as the seemingly invincible General Zod, Sasha Calle exudes a piquant presence as cousin Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. And, Affleck an especially Michael Keaton (albeit in a lesser role) display a welcome gravitas coaxed out of retirement soon enough with a ‘Lets’s get nuts’ rumpled spirit from a dilapidated mansion.
As notable as the performers enhance the product, Muschietti doesn’t get the stellar visual contributions one may come to expect especially as the stakes are raised to a greater extent. That includes the use of digital scrubbing and de-aging processing that may have an unintended off-putting quality about it. This long-in-making adaptation just doesn’t have the spicy, scintillating elements in its script from Christina Hudson (Birds of Prey) to justifiably ensue a well-rounded exciting, rather than exhausting cinematic comic-book extravaganza.
It hardly goes by in a flash.