They always say, you can’t outrun your problems…

I’m no doctor but I reckon there’s some good psych evaluation mileage in people’s responses to being asked what superpower they’d like to possess. “Invisibility? Interesting, and what might you do with this gift of anonymity and potential locker room creepiness?”

If you asked me now, as an adult, I’d probably offer up something super niche, and frivolously banal like ‘the ability to meet arbitrary deadlines’. But if you asked the younger me I’d almost definitely have said “I want to be The Flash”.

I would have used those powers for good of course, rushing to the aid of imperiled elderly pedestrians on traffic crossings, delivering portions of fries before they get cold, and making quick midnight trips to turn the bathroom lights on for people afraid of lurking monsters/murderers. But the more Jungian-inclined amongst you might wonder “what is it that you’re running away from?” Because the reality is, you can never truly outrun your problems.

That’s something the movie’s star Ezra Miller, knows all about – embroiled in a series of charges and allegations of violence, keeping him on as the lead can’t have been an easy decision for DC and the Warner Bros. Studio execs. But his repentance and commitment to seeking help for his mental health issues went a long way to securing his ostensible uncancelling.

And it’s a good thing, at least for fans of the Justice League saga – this entry is undoubtedly one of the pre-James Gunn era’s finest and Miller as Flash manages to hurry a lot of what’s been missing in most recent DC movies. Heart, and genuine humour.

His alter ego, Barry Allen, is a self-deprecating, hyper-anxious young adult – caught between navigating real world and masked crusader duties. He’s tormented by the anguish of his mother’s murder, and the incarceration of his father who was blamed for the crime.

What’s the point?

The movie borrows heavily from the Flashpoint comic series, which sees the main character running so unfathomably fast that he’s able to splinter the most sacred physical laws, move faster than light, and thereby travel back in time. Rather than killing Hitler or passing on next week’s winning lottery numbers, he decides to try and unweave the series of events leading to his mother’s death.

What should have been an inconsequential blip on the continuum of major things turns out to have major repercussions for the continuity of the universe. Ripples of his actions cascade outwards, opening the door to a messy divergent multiverse of mayhem analogically equivalent to a big bowl of overcooked spaghetti. Or at least that’s how it’s described by a member of the surprise supporting cast.

These shattered timelines then open the floodgates to a tsunami of deliberately fan-pleasing cameos which, outside of those shown in the trailer, we won’t spoil here.

In order to right the wrongs, his attempted wrong righting caused – Flash must fashion a new substitute Justice League from the heroes he’s now paradoxically confronted with. They include Supergirl (played by a sparkling Sasha Calle), an (ill-explained) aging retro (but still undeniably splendid) Batman (Michael Keaton), and a younger (Bill & Ted-esque) version of himself.

The nexus point of the story reboots the Kryptonian royal rumble seen in Man of Steel (which for my money is a cruelly underrated entry in the DC Extended Universe).


Director Andy Muschietti (of It remake fame) gets so much right with The Flash. In content and delivery, it’s a vast improvement over almost anything the Snyderverse – its alternative cuts or its spin-offs – provided hence. It towers over Black Adam and Shazam’s sequel too. And when you look at the quality of the dialogue, pacing, and consistency, it starts to feel much more like vintage Marvel than another shot out of the DC canon.

It’s self-contained, enjoyable, high-action cinema packaged with all the gloss and ferocity that comic adaptations should have. And whilst the film’s almost incalculable number of easter eggs and gotchya moments do feel a little gratuitous at times, you get a sense that the motivation behind it is endearingly sincere.


That being said, there are some false starts in The Flash. For some reason, the DCEU just hasn’t been able to nail character CGI. For all the stunning visuals, and expertly rendered quantum sprinting blurs – when the graphics whizz kids are called to reimagine the faces of the featured cast, there’s a clear veneer of incredulity. There are too, a few minor plot holes or at least unexplored tangents, and there will be some that have issues with certain character arcs.

Verdict: This film may or may not provide the springboard for James Gunn’s new co-directorship of the DCU. But whether it’s a final hurrah for a now dove-ended dynasty or the start of something beautiful and new, it has outrun most of the problems of its peers and it exists as a well-told tale in its own time and space. 

The Flash is available to watch in cinemas across the UAE from Tuesday, June 14.  Book tickets now.

Images: MoviestillsDB