The Flash (2023) Andy Muschietti

Being (inadvertently?) a bridge between DC’s old and new course, The Flash offers solid entertainment, even beyond the announced return of Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton’s Batman. With the typical epicness of the studio’s characters and the humor that the character naturally brings with him, Andy Muschietti’s film delivers without issue and with good craftsmanship.

New (old) multiverse

A strange fate for the new films of the now expanded DC Universe, works conceived in terms of a certain type of project (shaky in its foundations, but with planning and definite goals anyway). who are now virtually “orphaned”. The radical overhaul that took place in the house of DC, essentially by new DC Studios creative director James Gunn, announced a notoriously total reboot of the franchise’s shared universe; reset, which actually reset everything starting from Man of Steel and further (approaching the recent Justice League Zack Snyder) was built in previous years. It is for this reason that this Flash – like the previous ones Black Adams AND Shazam! Fury of the godsand as next Blue beetle AND Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — is in a kind of no man’s land between two worlds, but somehow (and inevitably) still keeps more than one foot away from what is doomed to collapse. “Landslide”, which, however, with the concept of the multiverse presented here – a profusely announced preview and various trailers that followed before the release – could find some justification and an intra-diegetic phrase; upon closer inspection, indeed, the film Andy Muschietti – while we don’t know how much or what changes have been made to the footage since the announcement of DC’s New Deal – it actually represents a good bridge between the old and new studio universes. A result that is not taken for granted, the achievement of which must certainly be attributed to Muschietti’s new film.

Barry’s Choice

The Flash, Ezra Miller's doppelgänger in one scene
The Flash, Ezra Miller’s doppelgänger in a film scene

Plot Flash introduces us for the first time to a detailed biography of the character played by Ezra Miller, already featured (limited to his DCEU version) in the films. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League (with extended version Justice League Zack Snyder) and in the series peacekeepers: Brilliant forensic investigator Barry Allen carries with him the trauma of his mother Nora’s death, after which his father Henry was wrongfully accused. A pivotal event for the entire subsequent personal history of Barry/Flash, which, however, the young man accidentally discovers that he can change; Barry, during one of his acts, actually realizes that his powers allow him to exceed the speed of light and therefore actually travel through time. A discovery that makes a decision, strongly discouraged by his mentor Bruce Wayne/Batman (here played again by Ben Affleck) – to return to the fatal ambush that caused the death of his mother, saving the latter and thereby preventing the arrest of his father. A decision that, however, would have unpredictable consequences for the space-time continuum, creating not only a new timeline, but a real alternate universe.

Same characters, different versions

The Flash, Michael Keaton with doppelgänger Ezra Miller in episode
The Flash, Michael Keaton with doppelgänger Ezra Miller in a clip from the film

With a premise similar in some ways to the one at Marvel that led to the clash between universes seen in Spiderman: No Way HomeAs such, the concept of the multiverse is also present in the DC Universe; a concept that, as expected, will serve (and in this film, Andy Muschietti accidentally finds the optimal place between the old and the new phase) to justify the new course of the franchise conceived by James Gunn and Peter Safran. The concept to which Flash gives a slightly different theoretical basis (folding the space-time continuum, which becomes a consequence of traveling to the past, with the creation of a different timeline both in the future and in the past), but which, in fact, causes quite similar results: alternative versions of different characters, here embodied as a younger and more carefree Barry Allen, whom Miller himself brings to life with astonishing versatility, especially in scenes in which two different versions are present together, and, above all, to the announced return after more than thirty years Michael Keaton in the Batman costume he wore in two of Tim Burton’s films. As soon as Keaton first appears as an aged and demotivated Bruce Wayne, the viewer is transported back to a creepy version of the Wayne Burton house, with a soundtrack ready to evoke an old Danny Elfman theme; a journey into the past, perhaps slightly decontextualized – given that the overall look of the film, including scenes involving Keaton, remains more high-tech than gothic – but in any case not in such a way as to contradict the overall construction of the plot.

Surprises and balance

The Flash, Michael Shannon in episode
The Flash, Michael Shannon in a still from the film

But the journey of Barry Allen, in which he will be joined by (also) Supergirl in the performance Sasha Calleto confront General Zod, who with a face Michael Shannonhe reprises his role here after Man of Steel – retains many surprises, such as spanning many iterations of (real and even hypothetical) DC characters between the big and small screens. A construct that was sometimes intended (in a somewhat sly way) to evoke “oh!” Miracle, however, is thankfully still focused on the protagonist’s journey and dual awareness – two versions of the hero who are actually created as two different characters – that the script is able to handle fluently and skillfully. The tone remains balanced, thankfully not shaky, between the epic character that has always been typical of DC characters (and the chorus nature of the plot helps here) and the humorous element that the character has already brought to the franchise; approach to the concept of the multiverse lacks either the theoretical scope or the complexity that characterizes films such as Spiderman – New Universe And him recent sequel; but Andy Muschietti clearly plays on a different ground, and on this ground – winking at the audience, supported, however, by a solid script and good character definition – he confidently brings results. Indeed, some parts of the narrative leave us somewhat dubious, and at times (especially in the final part) the film comes across as an exaggeration of the multiverse’s immersion and manifestation; however, overall the bar remains high, and Muschietti and screenwriter Christina Hodson should be credited for that. We’re willing to bet that DC’s new course won’t (completely) forget what’s shown here.

Flash, italian poster


Original name: Flash
Director: Andy Muschietti
Country/year: USA / 2023
Duration: 144′
Type: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Action, Fantasy
Throw: Ben Affleck, Temuera Morrison, Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Michael Shannon, Nicolas Cage, Kiersey Clemons, Maribel Verdu, Antje Traue, Luke Brandon Field, Andoni Gracia, Bastian Antonio Fuentes, Durrangeclarke, Ed Wade, Eric Thide, Gabriel Constantine, Ian Law, Isabelle Bernardo, Luis Miguel Alvarez, Nina Barker-Francis, Oleg Mirochnikov, Ron Livingston, Rosie Ede, Rudy Mancuso, Saoirse Monica Jackson, Sasha Calle, Sean Rogers
Screenplay: Christina Hodson
Photo: Henry Bram
Assembly: Paul Mahliss, Jason Ballantyne
Music: Benjamin Wallfish
Director: Michael Lerman, Richard Mirisch, Michael Disco, Barbara Muschietti
Production house: DC Comics, Warner Bros., DC Entertainment
Distribution: Warner Bros.

Release date: 06/15/2023


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Journalist and film critic. I am or have collaborated with various online and print publications including (in chronological order) L’Acchiappafilm, and Since 2018, I have been a consultant for the Stelle Diverse and Aspie Saturday Film psychoeducational reviews organized by the CuoreMenteLab center in Rome. In 2019, I founded the website Asbury Movies, of which I am the Editor and Managing Director.

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