The Flash, the latest DC Comics movie, features the enigmatic US actor Ezra Miller in the lead role. This superhero’s solo debut was eagerly awaited, despite Miller’s personal struggles and legal issues. The film has received mixed reviews, with some critics praising it as one of the best superhero movies of the 21st century, while others have been less enthusiastic.
Ezra Miller, who identifies with they/them pronouns, managed to avoid jail time in January after admitting to unlawfully trespassing at a neighbor’s residence. They were placed on probation and instructed to maintain sobriety and continue mental health treatment.
The Flash: A Character Study
Miller portrays Barry Allen, also known as The Flash, a police forensic investigator and a member of the Justice League who possesses superhuman speed. The character embarks on a journey back in time to prevent his mother’s death, for which his father was wrongly accused, while also guiding his younger self, leading to unforeseen consequences.
The film’s producers attempted to address Miller’s well-documented personal and legal issues by incorporating a line for their Flash character that seems to acknowledge the elephant in the room. In a scene with a traumatized witness, our hero suggests, “You should seek the services of a mental health professional. The Justice League is not very good at that part yet.”
A Parade of Superheroes
The film also includes appearances from some superheroes of yesteryears, including Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck’s Batmen and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. These cameos add a nostalgic touch to the film, reminding audiences of the rich history of DC superheroes.
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw noted the “spectacular and surreal visions of the various iterations of DC superheroes” but felt the film lacked new ideas or dramatic rethinking. The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey gave the film three stars, describing it as “muddled, poignant and – because of Ezra Miller – morally tricky.”
However, Rolling Stone critic David Fear was more positive, stating it was “by far the best movie to come out of this modern, post-Nolan Warners/DC collaboration.” He praised Keaton’s reprisal of his role and how he fit into the complex narrative.
The Flash: A New Benchmark in Superhero Cinema?
The Evening Standard’s Charlotte O’Sullivan suggested fans would “enjoy the flashes of greatness,” while The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney found the film to be “enjoyable entertainment.” He added that “troubled star” Miller “turns out to be the film’s chief asset, bringing humour, heart and a vulnerability not often seen in big-screen superheroes.”
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman was less impressed, stating that The Flash “exudes less of that Back to the Future playfulness and more of that mythological but arbitrary blockbuster self-importance.”
The Flash, despite its mixed reviews, has made a significant impact in the superhero movie genre. With its exploration of complex themes and a standout performance by Ezra Miller, it has set a new standard for future DC Comics movies. The Flash is set to hit UK cinemas from 16 June, promising a thrilling experience for superhero fans worldwide.