The Mid-ness of “The Flash”

Athena ScalziThe Flash has been out long enough now that I feel anyone who wants to see it has probably already seen it, and those who haven’t probably don’t really care to ever see it. So, I feel justified in talking about it with spoilers!

As with any DC film (live action ones, at least), my expectations were pretty low. These movies are generally bad! It’s just a widely known fact at this point. I think any hope of them ever getting better went out the window with Aquaman.

So, obviously I didn’t expect some cinematic masterpiece with The Flash. However, I’m happy to say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t very good, either. But it wasn’t bad. It was very mid.

First off, y’all already know how I feel about time travel, especially in superhero movies. Long story short, I’m not a fan of time travel plots. I think time travel is goofy and never really makes any sense. Of course, The Flash is all about time travel. It’s about Barry discovering he’s fast enough to run through time, changing the events of the past, messing up the “present”, learning that there’s multiverses, all the classic stuff.

As much as I dislike time travel, this plot didn’t bother me that much. The interesting thing about the Flash is that he is canonically faster than the speed of light, therefore he can travel through time and space differently. In my opinion this is a much better approach to time travel “science” than something like Marvel’s Endgame. Basically, it makes slightly more sense to me than the usual movie science behind time travel, so I like it better.

Also, another reason this plot works for me is because it’s the classic story of Barry trying to save his mom, ultimately realizing he can’t, and having to intentionally incite her murder. That’s fucked up! That’s honestly heartbreaking, and even if it doesn’t totally make sense because of time travel rules and whatnot, I love the moral aspect of it. Having to do what’s “right” by making sure your mom gets murdered? That’s bonkers. And the Flash is genuinely a strong character for making this decision. A hero makes sacrifices, and the Flash certainly proves that in this movie.

Alternatively, one bad thing about The Flash is that it does not look great. The special effects are pretty garbage, and the time travel scenes look really goofy. The fight scenes can look pretty silly too, especially when Supergirl is involved. It honestly looks kind of like a video game, especially the fight scene that ensues right after she escapes from her prison. I know this has been the biggest criticism of the movie so far, so no surprise here.

Moving on, I like that Barry actually has to interact with the younger, alternate version of himself. And I like that he has the idea that he definitely should not interact with himself, but of course it happens anyways. And I like that he’s annoyed and irritated with himself and has to learn to be nicer to his younger, more obnoxious self. This version that he’s jealous of, this version of himself that he could have been. There’s certainly something to be said about the dynamic between them.

It only makes sense that this younger version would be reckless and keep trying to save Supergirl, would be unwise and convinced that he could fix anything now that he has these new powers. Wouldn’t any of us feel the same?

I liked seeing Supergirl in this movie, I thought it was an interesting take on what would happen in another reality. One thing I love about her is that she uses kicks when she fights. Superman is so punchy, whereas Supergirl uses her body in different ways to fight. Of course, she throws a lot of punches too, and blows up missiles with her fists, but it’s nice to see the legs incorporated. Kick their asses, girl!

I also like that Barry is clearly neurodivergent, or at least this version, as I probably wouldn’t say the same about the CW’s version. I like that he is a normal person and more relatable than other heroes. We can’t all be Amazonian goddesses! Some of us got anxiety and shit!

Plus, there’s some really good, emotional moments in this movie, and it honestly surprised me. I enjoyed watching it, even if some parts elicited an eye roll from me. I even laughed out loud a few times! Compared to Aquaman and Batman v Superman, this wasn’t so bad.

What’d you think of it? Is it ridiculous or cool that Barry can just literally run through time? Was Supergirl badass or what? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!


23 Comments on “The Mid-ness of “The Flash””

  1. Unlike most fantasy, Comic Book “science” doesn’t have to make sense. But I’m curious. Have they explained how Flash can run over a block without getting tired?

  2. I love Time Travel stories, but my understanding is that if Time Travel is involved, it’s automatically fantasy and not science fiction, so don’t sweat the explanation. That said, I think traveling through time by going REALLY fast is a poor excuse for an explanation. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not invested in the DC universe.

  3. Time travel by going real fast is especially a poor excuse when next issue or next week it would solve the plot but isn’t used.

  4. I’m not into multiple reality stories (hated Dr. Strange and Everything Everywhere at Once) but I think it worked in this film. You’re right, the FX was bad (especially the CGI babies) and the star is a major major problem. However, I loved seeing Keaton back as Batman (it’s the only reason I went to see it). I feel THIS is the Justice League movie we should have gotten rather than the bloated mess both directors gave us. In short, a seriously flawed movie, but not the worst super hero movie by far.

  5. I think time travel stories are best when they lean into silliness. One of my favourite examples is Voyager’s ‘Relativity’, where by the end even the characters are having trouble making sense of what’s going on

  6. The first 5-10 minutes, and the last 1 minute, were pretty damned good. The rest? Meh.
    Like most movies today it was too long. They had a good 90 minute story that they crammed into 2+ hour movie.
    Ok, you can’t save your mom. Howzabout you, I dunno, FIGURE OUT WHO KILLED HER! That was topmost in my mind for half the stupid movie.

  7. The problem with the Flash movie is they took a fragment of a major comic book event and turned it into the pivot for making a new “DC Cinematic universe”.

    And to get too inside baseball, I think they were hoping for the DC version of Marvel’s Ant-man and Loki TV combined and wound up with something closer to Morbius.

  8. Not having seen any of these DC movies, my only reaction, apart from enjoying the post, is to be reminded of a rather graceful time travel story, Safety Not Guaranteed.

  9. I generally don’t care for time travel stories (or many of the super hero movies) so I passed on “Flash.” The only ones that I’ve found interesting so far are the “Continuum” series on Netflix, “Looper,” Ray Bradbury’s , “A Sound of Thunder,” and “Star Trek: The Voyage Home” (fun silliness).

  10. I tend to object to the “girls have to fight by kicking” trope. It wasn’t considered proper for women to punch anyone, so they worked around this by having women kick. Men punch. Women kick. This is strange old sexism at work.

  11. re. Steven Bollenbaugh – look for ‘Time Travelers Never Die’ by Jack McDevitt.

  12. I won’t see this in the theater or on stream because I have Issues with the lead actor and dont want my money going into their pocket. But I do absolutely want to see Keaton in the cowl again, so I’m waiting until my library or a friend acquires a copy of the DVD or BluRay, and will borrow accordingly.

  13. Ancient Greek tragedies were often time travel stories. People might not travel in time, but messages could arrive from the future as prophesies. Think of Oedipus Rex as a time travel story. His parents are told that their son will murder his father and marry his mother. Horrified, they stake him out as a baby to die. He is rescued by a kindly couple, swollen foot and all. Knowing the prophesy, he leaves Greece and goes to Egypt where he outsmarts the Sphinx and becomes a hero. Soon, he has murdered his father and married his mother. The future could not be changed.

    It’s like the Iliad and Cassandra. She gets a message from the future that pursuing the war against Troy would lead to doom. Tragedy ensues.

    P.S. I have to give credit for this idea to Jeremy Keith who mainly blogs about using CSS and HTML but now and then comes up with something like this.

  14. The movie is well-done enough so that I was just thinking of the two Barrys as separate actors rather than about the trickery required to have Miller doing both parts. I agree that it was mid, as you say. But I squealed in delight when we got the brief glimpse of Batman ’66 at the end. Adam West will always be my Batman. The shoutouts to the other Supermen/girls was also neat.

  15. “I think time travel is goofy and never really makes any sense.”
    Yeah, that’s why I enjoy time travel plots.

  16. As always with DC movies, I’m waiting on the DVD/streaming release, but the trailer looked fun.
    I’m interested in the fact that DC has become the byword for bad comicbook movies, when Christopher Reeves’ first Superman film was the gold standard for so many years. And I’m fifty, so remember Tim Burton’s Batman with way more fondness than the Nolan trilogy. Maybe I should finally watch the last one of those?

  17. The one thing I like about DC time travel stories (disregarding that they’re completely inconsistent about it) is the idea of treating time like a fluid stream, so that entering the past at a given point causes ripples both forward and backward, changing events earlier than the point of entry. Not sure if that’s original to DC.

    I hope they replace Ezra Miller.

  18. “I think any hope of them ever getting better went out the window with Aquaman”

    Properly :-)

    “Sank with Aquaman”

  19. Actually just got back from seeing this. Not bad. Enjoyed it. Ezra Miller and cast were all good. Kinda bummed we’re not going to get further into this world and character as it’s just not gonna make enough money.

  20. The Flash has been out long enough now that I feel anyone who wants to see it has probably already seen it, and those who haven’t probably don’t really care to ever see it. So, I feel justified in talking about it with spoilers!

    Seriously? It’s been out like two weeks. Wow

  21. As a comics fan from way back, my biggest complaint is that they keep using Barry Allen, but try to make him match the personality of the much more interesting character of Wally West, who was the Flash until DC decided we needed the original, extremely boring version of the character, as that’s who editorial had grown up with. But they rapidly realized that Barry Allen has nothing compelling about him, so they created the idea that he messes up time and that his mother was murdered, so he’d have a reason to screw up the universe. Now it’s treated as if something that DC came up with 10 years ago is central to character who has been around for roughly 60 years, since he had nothing else.

    “Seriously? It’s been out like two weeks. Wow”
    I mean, no lies were spoken. If someone didn’t see this in the first two weeks of distribution, they’re not going to see it (and likely the theaters are going to move it out very quickly) and neither Warners nor theater chains are going to support it. Apparently, it’s already been pulled from 1500 theaters. Moviegoer behavior is pretty predictable. It’s not like 1977, where people might not get around to seeing Star Wars until several weeks into it’s release and where a movie could stay in a theater for over a year. That just doesn’t happen anymore.

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