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Despite a winning Ezra Miller performance and the nostalgic return of Michael Keaton’s Batman The Flash gradually morphs from a better-than-average superhero flick into a disappointing CGI mess.

After nearly a decade in much-storied development hell The Flash finally makes it to the big screen, with surprisingly little bagage from its production turmoil. Yet while the picture is one of the most effortlessly entertaining DC films of the past ten years, the elements that don't work eventually grind down the ones that do.

Most of what works can be found in The Flash's first hour, from the emotionally rich premise of speedster Barry Allen traveling back in time to prevent his mom's murder to the re-introduction of huge chunks of the Tim Burton Bat-verse, including Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne.

Especially a long sequence that sees Allen look up the reclusive Wayne, convince him to restore the broken multiverse and rescue new addition Supergirl from a Russian gulag is a perfect mix between modern blockbuster entertainment and the more artful Burton era, punctuated by the poignantly nostalgic recurrence of Danny Elfman's seminal Batman theme.

But even during its bests parts The Flash can be a disjointed affair, with frustratingly hurried plotting and staging, an endless barrage of in-jokes that miss more than they hit and a lack of genuine danger or invention in an overstuffed narrative that'll have you filling in the blanks long before the characters on-screen do.

That all leads to a finale wherin the heroes get upstaged by some of the most confusingly bad and ill-conceived CGI in recent memory and a polarising final plot twist reminiscent of the 2001 Planet of the Apes remake. It's not enough to completely wipe out the fun experiences in The Flash but it won't leave many clamouring for more adventures of this particular DC hero.

release: 2023

director: Andy Muschietti

starring: Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle, Kiersey Clemons


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