Saturday, June 17, 2023

I saw "The Flash"

 The movie, that is. On the whole, I enjoyed it.

Now, I enjoy a LOT of films. I am the only living person who enjoys "Wavelength" 

This one, I mean. The 1967 one. Not the one in 1983. Or the one in 2018.  Which, sadly, were not sequels.

My enjoying a film doesn't mean to imply that it's objectively good, or even that I think it's good. But they are certainly many good things about film. Ezra Miller --despite his personal failings and the rather annoying off-model version of Barry Allen he's portraying -- is a very experienced actor and during the serious emotional parts of the film, it really shows. As for the comedic parts--

how shall I put this?

Expert panel? Any help for me...?

Let's just say, although there are certainly funny bits and I laughed out loud several times, the attempts at humor were, on whole... misplaced.  Some not only fail to stick the landing, they failed even to take off enough to HAVE a landing.  I'm going to cheat and just blame Stupid Humor Attempts Based on Awkwardness in Superheroes on Marvel-aping.  Fair? Maybe not. But it does absolve me of expending any intellectual effort on why anyone in charge of a zillion dollar picture would think some of that stuff (especially Marty McThigh) was, you know, so amusing that it needed to be in a film about one of our culture's best known fictional heroes trying to replicate his most serious mistake to avoid the destruction of all reality.

But the Bat-Kite? THAT made me burst out laughing.  
Batman is funny. Batman has always been funny.
Flash is not funny. Flash has never been funny. And if you DON'T believe that, buy a Golden Age Flash Archive and see how many Jay Garrick stories you can stomach.

The plot was simple and easy to follow with nothing that seemed extraneous, which I appreciated.  I will wryly note that DC eliminated the multiverse in 1986 ostensibly because it was "too complicated" for readers.  However, just like Flash's, their attempt to rejigger their timeline backfired and resulted in more multiversing than ever, not just for the DCU, but for...everything. You can't make a Trix commercial nowadays without the Trix rabbit fighting his dark counterpart from another universe.

I mean... even the Bablyon 5 animated movie is multiversal madness.  
Silly Vorlons; multiverses are for kids.

The action was good, the BATMAN action was awesome. Truly.

Batman is SO awesome, in fact, that he casually explains all of time-travel, retrocausality, and the character of the multiverse in seconds using nothing but pasta. Because he's Batman.

I liked the special effects, no matter how many people bitch about "The CGI being terrible".  I've been watching movies for over 50 years and someone is ALWAYS bitching that The CGI Is Terrible (even when it was SFX and not CGI).  I thought the "chronobowl" was especially innovative and intuitive.  Oh, and to all those people bitching about "Miller's weird running style": shut up. You've obviously never skated or at least not WELL.  He's speed-skating through time/speed force. If you actually saw his little legs moving zippy-zip step-by-step it would look Road-Runner ridiculous.

Did I say "little legs"? I take that back.  At first I thought they'd overdone it a bit on Flash's suit being too faux-muscley. Then I noticed how Miller was straining at his civilian seams and then came Miller's (many) shirtless/(all-but-frontal) nude scenes and I recanted.  Gratefully. Jeez, he looks like he put on 35 pounds of muscle. Not sure how needed that is for The Flash per se but... well, it wasn't my least favorite part of the film.

Silly Ezra; twinks are for kids.

The cameo parts, well, yes, they were a bit cheesy but they weren't CRINGEY.  And, yes it seemed dumb that we didn't see a hint of Grant Gustin or John Wesley Schipp, which just seems like respect due.  But Gustin and Schipp have had LONG runs and got a lot of traction from their roles; a few seconds in this film wouldn't have helped them. But it certainly wouldn't have hurt the director/producers in the eyes of fans of the character.  

I thought the Latina version of Nora was an interesting choice; if nothing else, it explains why Barry Allen looks like Ezra Miller in this universe.  Actress was great; loved her in the role. The father? Eh. No.  Why they passed up the opportunity to say "Run, Barry, Run" rather than just "Run, Barry"... well I suppose that would have struck too close to home (the TV show). 

Anyway, I had fun watching it.  I hope you do, too.


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen it, so I probably shouldn't venture opinions. But if I had good sense I wouldn't be Hal Jordan Fan #1. It seems like a bad idea to have a character's introductory movie be about how he just breaks time and space. I suppose that's mitigated by the fact that the movie is related to a well-known character from a well-received TV show, about 50% of which was about ... how he just breaks time and space.

Maybe do a movie that makes us say, "wow, I'm glad the Flash is out there making things better".

Fully agreed about the ... irony, maybe? ... of the Flash being deliberately used to create more universes, when he was killed off in an effort to get rid of universes.

- HJF1

Scipio said...

"the Flash being deliberately used to create more universes, when he was killed off in an effort to get rid of universes."

It's the unspoken Rule #1 of the DCU:
Do NOT **** with Barry Allen.

Because no matter how long it takes from YOUR perspective, he will not only **** YOU up, he will META-**** you up and your world, literally, will never be the same again. The man was dead for 16 years and still came back to helm a 9-year long live action film, a Justice League Film, and his own live-action film.

Wally West? Wiped from existence a couple times, split into two characters, playing second banana to his own kids and some lady who used to be a reporter.

Bryan L said...

I enjoyed it too. I feel like the pasta metaphor was included largely to give James Gunn (and whoever) license to do whatever they want, and I'm actually fine with that. Don't get me wrong, I love a good shared universe, but trying to tie it all together flawlessly is both annoying and, honestly, futile. Someone will always come along to point out the fact that everything doesn't fit together perfectly.


The other effect for me was that it illustrated how creatively bereft the Flash TV show was (which was also exacerbated by the show finale, but I'll stop there). We've mentioned before that nobody on the show could come up with a villain to challenge Flash except for other speedsters, which were tiresome (you've got to run FASTER, Barry). Why did TV Barry never fight Kryptonians? I mean, they were right there. Supergirl had dozens. I can see why they didn't do much with the Rogue's Gallery (though they SHOULD have) but if you're looking for a villain that Barry needs to outrun, you could do a lot worse than a Kryptonian.

Scipio said...

To be fair, Bryan, I have to note that the Flash COMICS have the same problem as the show: an over-reliance on speedster villains.

Anonymous said...

I’m not a huge fan of the character* so I haven’t read a ton of Flash comics outside of Mark Waid’s run. Unless we’re talking Kryptonians, Daxamites, Martians, magic users, anti-social Lanterns, or the equivalent of Firestorm, there aren’t a ton of foes that can provide a physical challenge. Super-geniuses and power-inhibitors are also viable threats. The Rogues are great, but most of them aren’t credible threats to the Flash. They’d probably show up in a pre-credits sequence or in the first scene to establish the Flash’s powers and competence.

- Mike Loughlin

* one of the best visuals in comics, but Barry is boring and Wally is just ok. I love Impulse, but not as the Flash or Kid Flash.

Anonymous said...

My fond memories of the silver age Flash center around Barry as a scientist, figuring out how to deal with super-criminals by analyzing their powers and coming up with counters that used speed and science. (Flash fact!) We seem to have largely stopped wanting to see clever heroes, or at least Hollywood has stopped knowing how to write them.

At least that doesn't impact Hal so much.

MarkAndrew said...

The Flash is funny. Running around punching gorillas is the height of comedy (And Flash artists have historically been good at physical comedy and funny facial expressions ~ related skills to drawing a guy constantly in motion, maybe.)

Although I agree that (A) the Flash is not BATMAN funny, and (B) the Flash is usually not funny when trying to be funny… I think most of the Silver Age Iris stuff wasn’t actually trying to be terrifying and depressing.

Anonymous said...

I hold that one subtle way to get past the Flash's powers is to talk to him. He's got to slow down to understand you, and that's where the Rogues have an edge: it's invaluable to Barry to find out whether they've planted bombs or whatever, and they're eager to tell him.

The other possibility is, Barry might be reluctant to come running at them at full speed because he doesn't know what sort of traps they've laid. Someone like Mirror Master - the only Rogue smart enough to mess with the Flash's senses - could really mess him up with two mirrors and a banana peel.

- HJF1

Anonymous said...

The Rogues are all smart enough to plan for the Flash–that's how they stay in business long enough to be Rogues. If you're counting on punching the Flash out, you've already lost. Prepare the battlefield with traps and impediments and distractions, all with a suitable theme of course, and you stand a chance of getting away from the Fastest Man Alive, at least for a little while.

-- Jack of Spades