The Flash (2023) Review

Imaginative, nostalgic and just plain fun


The Flash nearly lives up to the hype with a show-stealing turn from Michael Keaton, a few impressive fight scenes and surprisingly heartfelt moments we rarely see in this genre. Some of the CG isn’t the greatest but I was still able to enjoy the ride and take a trip down memory lane with some wonderfully nostalgic cameos.

Plot: Worlds collide when the Flash uses his superpowers to travel back in time to change the events of the past. However, when his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, he becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned, threatening annihilation. With no other superheroes to turn to, the Flash looks to coax a very different Batman out of retirement and rescue an imprisoned Kryptonian — albeit not the one he’s looking for.

Review: I (like many people, I imagine) was only interested in seeing The Flash for the return of Michael Keaton as Batman and after several delays and reshoots the film has finally been released. It’s had some very positive reviews despite the negativity surrounding the lead Ezra Miller, so I’ve been intrigued to see if it lives up to the hype.

I’m happy to say that this is a genuine crowd pleaser and our audience cheered and clapped throughout. The Flash was more comedic than expected at times verging on farce (which may put some viewers off) but it has such an infectious sense of fun that it’s hard not to just get swept up in it all.

Although it’s not a patch on The Flashpoint Paradox this movie tells its own story with a few references while cramming in as many cameos as possible for the finale. I knew about some but there were some genuine surprises and the film actually had stakes; I find with multiverse stories it’s easy to just find another variant of a character which takes away a lot of the threat but The Flash manages to keep that while also maintaining an emotional core. Rather than a huge final fight or obligatory laser firing into the sky the finale pulls on the heartstrings which was refreshingly different.

Ezra Miller plays two versions of Barry and manages to make us believe they are two distinct people, so he proves to be a decent actor no matter what he may be like in real life.

As expected it’s Michael Keaton who steals the show and just seeing him in the costume and hearing that classic music made me feel 12 years old again. Nolan’s films were great but it’s Danny Elfman’s score which I will always associate with Batman just like John William’s music will always be Superman’s theme.

The opening 20 minutes of The Flash is hilarious as Barry tries to save multiple babies from a collapsing building with some help from Ben Affleck’s Batman. We also get to see Batfleck in the traditional grey and blue Batman costume which was awesome. The tone of the film is mostly light and for the most part the jokes land although I did find I missed a few lines due to background noise.

I love how with the movies I’ve seen today both were filmed in my hometown of Glasgow and it looked fantastic in both.

Even from the trailers the visual effects didn’t look amazing with very video game-looking CGI which does take you out of a few action scenes but some of the action is practical; the best scene is Keaton’s Batman fighting off hoards of goons in Siberia so we do get several fight scenes in between the CG infused set-pieces.

Overall, The Flash is one of the craziest superhero movies I’ve ever seen and was far funnier than expected but still managed to give us an emotional payoff to the story where we actually cared about the characters. Michael Keaton steals every moment as Batman/Bruce Wayne and there are enough surprises and cameos to warrant multiple viewings in the future.