First reactions to ‘The Flash,' starring Ezra Miller

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First reactions to ‘The Flash,' starring Ezra Miller
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Lindsey Bahr
Published Apr 25, 2023 • 3 minute read

LAS VEGAS — The words “impressive” and “awesome” were common refrains from a group of entertainment reporters who were among the first to see the upcoming DC superhero movie “The Flash.”


Warner Bros. screened the film for the first time at CinemaCon Tuesday for theatre owners, exhibitors and reporters attending the annual trade show and industry conference.


Reviews are embargoed until a later date — the film, the studio said, is not completely finished — but viewers were able to post reactions on social media as soon as the credits rolled.

Brian Welk of Indiewire wrote that “it played very well,” pointing out that there were more than a few screams and gasps in the packed theatre.



Film critic Jordan Hoffman tweeted that it was, “far more madcap than I expected. Really nailed what reading a 5-issue crossover comic book is like. Tons of Ezra Miller being zany and time paradox stuff. Nerds will lose their minds at the ending.”



“The Playlist’s” Greg Ellwood wrote that it was “very good” and that Miller was “great,” while Scott Mantz went a step further declaring that it’s “one of the very best DC movies, a perfect blend of action, heart & humor.”

Erik Davis, of Fandango, wrote on Twitter that it is “tremendous” and that it is “without a doubt among the best superhero films ever made. An all-timer. Inventive storytelling, FANTASTIC action sequences, great cast. SO MANY nerdy details.”



Jason Guerrasio, of Business Insider, had a more tempered reaction, writing that it is “def not the best superhero movie ever made … but it’s an impressive DC movie with lots of emotion and loads of surprises.”



“The Flash,” directed by Andy Muschietti, is one of the studio’s biggest films of the year. In the film, Barry Allen uses his superpowers to go back in time in an attempt to change the past and save his parents. But things go awry and he finds himself stuck in a very different reality where Michael Shannon’s General Zod is back and Batman is not the Batman he knows (Ben Affleck’s version). Widely available trailers have already revealed that the new Batman he encounters is Michael Keaton’s version.


After the box office disappointment of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” earlier this year, the hope is that “The Flash,” which reportedly carries a $200 million budget, will reach blockbuster heights when it opens in theatres on June 16.

The long-planned standalone about The Flash/Barry Allen has also been the subject of much discussion because of its star Ezra Miller, who made headlines last year for a string of arrests and erratic behaviour.

Miller was arrested twice last year in Hawaii, for disorderly conduct and harassment at a karaoke bar and then for second-degree assault. The parents of 18-year-old Tokata Iron Eyes, a Native American activist, last year filed a protection order against Miller, accusing the actor of grooming their child and other inappropriate behavior with her as a minor from the age of 12. Tokata Iron Eyes has disputed that.


Miller, who identifies as non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns, said last year that they were seeking mental health treatment.

The development of a standalone Flash movie has been in the works for almost 10 years. In one plan, announced at Comic Con in 2014, an Ezra Miller Flash movie would have hit theatres in 2018. Muschietti wouldn’t even be attached to direct until 2019.

Warner Bros. has, throughout Miller’s personal troubles and the shelving of “Batgirl,” remained steadfast in its plans to release the “The Flash.”

And though plans are already underway for a new future for DC Studios, “The Flash” has been one that the new regime of James Gunn and Peter Safran have seemed particularly excited about. Gunn said it was, “One of the best superhero films I’ve ever seen.” And Warner Bros. Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav even boasted that Tom Cruise saw and loved the film so much that he called Muschietti himself to congratulate him.
 

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'The Flash': A superhero at war with himself in the multiverse
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post
Published Jun 16, 2023 • 4 minute read

In “The Flash,” the titular superhero and Justice League member who is so fast he can time travel – via something called the Chronobowl, a sort of swirling arena of temporal possibilities that he enters by, er, running really fast – attempts to return to his childhood so he can prevent the murder of his mother (Maribel Verdú). A murder that, as the film begins, his father (Ron Livingston) has been falsely accused of. It will be a simple in-and-out job. Or so Barry Allen, the Flash’s alter ego played by Ezra Miller, believes.


Barry’s world-weary mentor Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), who unlike his protégé appears to have actually seen a couple of time-travel flicks before, cautions Barry that it’s a bad idea. That’s because of the compounding impact of the butterfly effect, which holds that the smallest change made in the past – stepping on the wrong blade of grass, for instance, or causing the errant flap of a butterfly’s wing – can produce unintended consequences in the future. And it is a terrible idea, but not for the reason Bruce thinks.


It’s a bad idea because there is a more urgent need than saving Barry’s mother.

If I had a time machine, I would journey back to an era before Hollywood went completely crazy for the multiverse: before last year’s multi-Oscar-winning metaphysical mash-up “Everywhere Everything All at Once” and before 2018’s Oscar-winning animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (which just received the sequel treatment); before “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” before “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and before Disney Plus’s alternate-universe-mad Marvel spinoff series “WandaVision” and others. I would stop whoever set this misbegotten juggernaut in motion.


It’s not that “The Flash” or some of that other content is bad. The new film has it moments, thanks mainly to Miller, who brings a mesmerizing energy to dual roles: one their character’s relatively calm 30-ish self, the other a manic, teenage version of Barry he accidentally encounters while attempting to return to the present. The disconnect between Barry’s mature and adolescent selves, a running gag, can be amusing. But coming on the heels of the parade of similar content that we’ve been subjected to for the past several years in the world of superhero films and shows, the device cloys. To borrow the assessment of a stranger I happened to be standing next to in the men’s room after a recent press screening, “The Flash” is just the latest example of the out-of-control “multiple-meta-timeline bubble” – and it feels like it’s about to burst.


The strain is apparent. Stranded in the past, having lost his own powers and been saddled with training his tag-along younger doppelgänger – by re-creating the lightning strike that gave him his superhuman speed – Barry embarks on a mission to rectify his mistakes. It’s a mission that leads him to seek out the assistance of Bruce, who in is this particular timeline is played by Batman franchise veteran Michael Keaton – but as a long-haired, bearded recluse who has retired from the world of crime fighting, and who now looks like a graying member of a 1970s headbanger band on its 30th anniversary reunion tour. He’s not an older version of Bruce Wayne, but a completely different person. But how can this be?

As this grizzled Bruce explains to Barry – using a bowl of cooked spaghetti and several uncooked strands as a nonsensical visual aid – changing the past alters not just the future but the past as well, thanks to something called retro-causality. It’s all a bunch of hoo-ha, but it does allow for a vision of the world to coalesce in which several things are out of whack: There is no Justice League; General Zod (Michael Shannon) – the Kryptonian bad guy from 2013’s “Man of Steel” – is once again alive and intent on world domination; and in place of Superman, who never made it to Earth, there is Supergirl. Sasha Calle is a welcome presence in the role, all super-scowl and a knockout punch.


It all culminates in the kind of chaotic, epic battle sequence of which you will by now be well familiar – perhaps even sick of – one made more incoherent by the teenage Barry’s frequent sorties back into the Chronobowl to do or undo something that might set things aright. Expect numerous, gratuitous appearances by various personages from previous DC Comics film and TV content – some released and some never made – for no other reason than fan service.

At the center of all the mayhem is Miller, who has been in the news lately for the wrong reasons: criminal charges, in addition to abuse and assault allegations. It’s an all-too-easy mistake to conflate the performer with the performance. But the troubled actor, ironically, brings to their character (or, rather, characters) an intriguing sense of duality – a split personality – that offers the film’s most accessible and intriguing interpretation of the multiverse: a man at war with himself.