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Despite its flaws, there’s a growing consensus among fans that Ezra Miller’s The Flash is one of the true breakout stars from the film, and it’s easy to see why. Barry Allen provides most of the film’s comedic relief, belting out some of the best one-liners and facial expressions yet seen in a DC film.
In other words, Miller’s Flash is to DC what Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is to Marvel.
Even as Justice League‘s poor opening weekend continues to leave a sting, should Warner Bros. and DC take comfort from the success of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming? Spidey has already paved the way by breaking out of the ensemble film Captain America: Civil War and going on to anchor his own blockbuster. Why shouldn’t The Flash do the same?
After all, The Flash brings the doe-eyed naivete and wonder that Holland brought to the MCU as Peter Parker when he first appeared in Civil War. They’re both kids with remarkable abilities, but they’re still in shock when billionaires with no super powers recruit them for a world-saving super hero team. Said billionaires also use sneaky methods to provoke the young heroes into proving their respective powers. Spidey and The Flash are awkward and sheepish around their idols, with Holland’’s Parker bringing up Empire Strikes Back while taking down Giant Man (Paul Rudd) and Miller’s Allen droning on about his distaste for brunch when he first meets Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). These younger characters act the way any of us would if Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) gave us a new super suit, which makes them more relatable.
There’s an authenticity that feels right for Miller’s iteration of The Flash in a way that’s similar to Ryan Reynolds’ acclaimed take on Deadpool. No, The Flash isn’t foul mouthed, but it does seem that the recent iterations of The Flash, Spider-Man and Deadpool just get what fans love about the characters.
No date for a Flash movie has been set, but Warner Bros. revealed over the summer that it would be titled Flashpoint — something that fans are already speculating could help reboot the DC universe and fix some of its lingering problems. The comic book storyline involves time travel, a classic way for a soft reboot that everything from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek to Fox’s X-Men movies have employed.
A Flashpoint film also is poised for rich dramatic possibilities, with Barry ending the film with a “real job” (that of a forensic scientist) and his father Henry (Billy Crudup) still in prison. If played right, father-son relationship could even rival that of Peter and his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) in terms of heart. There’s also a lot of chemistry between The Flash and his fellow Justice League members. Who ever thought a scene in which Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash dig up a grave would be included in a Justice League movie? How about Barry’s awkward interactions with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)? Or that post-credits scene in which Superman (Henry Cavill) challenges The Flash to a race? All of these show that even if Affleck doesn’t appear in a Flashpoint movie, there are plenty of other characters to chose from that could make for cinematic gold.
So perhaps things aren’t so gloomy for the DC movies after all. Summer’s Wonder Woman proved that Gadot could be counted on to help guide DC’s films, and in December 2018, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (also well-received in Justice League) reprises his role in a solo film. Plus Shazam! (currently undated but set to shoot soon) could provide even more fun for the universe.
Captain America: Civil War was Peter testing his strengths in the big leagues and Homecoming was him coming to grips with being a bona fide hero. For most of Justice League, Barry was afraid of being a hero, afraid to fight. His own film could help him grapple with those issues and let him become a hero in his own right, and a shift to a lighter side of the DC universe could mark a bright future for these movies.
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