The Flash (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

Barry Allen uses his super speed to change the past, but his attempt to save his family creates a world without super heroes, forcing him to race for his life in order to save the future.

August 25, 2023 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

If you’re feeling more than a little fatigued by all the superhero movies lately, you’re not alone. While a few recent ones have been successful, the box office returns of many of them (Here’s looking at you, Shazam! Fury of the Gods) have been quite disastrous that maybe it’s time to put them on the back burner for a while. One can google the checkered history of what DC is doing rather than have me devote much of my review to it, but The Flash marks the solo debut of the title character. Ezra Miller has made many headlines as of late, but I won’t delve into that too much either. What I can say is that I was mostly surprised and satisfied with this recent offering. The countless tv ads and trailers have shown you that Michael Keaton returns to this film as the caped crusader, Batman. A role which he has been absent from for over 30 years now. While the first two thirds of this film are strong and have a lot of heart and emotional moments, the last half is devoted to the usual superhero craziness, ensuring audience members get their money’s worth.

The Flash begins with an amusing sequence following Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) as he’s trying to order a breakfast sandwich in a flash (get it?) but is surprised when it’s a different employee working there. There are some amusing bits as the employee is taking his sweet time with the order. Meanwhile, he has Alfred (Jeremy Irons) speaking in his ear and Batman (Ben Affleck) needing his help. There’s then a big action sequence where Flash saves a bunch of newborn babies after a bank robbery gone wrong. We learn some about Barry’s past, and much of the film deals with him coping with the death of his mother and his incarcerated father played by Ron Livingston. We see the events that took place, and Barry must prove that his father was at the store buying tomatoes to clear him in his mother’s death. The hearing is approaching, but Barry finds out he can travel back in time. Bruce Wayne warns him of the consequences, but with careful consideration, he goes through with it. The plan is simple: go back in time and place the can of tomatoes in his mother’s grocery cart to prevent his dad having to leave the house, thus saving all three of their lives in the process. One must know that it’s never that simple. Barry ends up encountering a sort of alternate universe. He meets a younger version of himself, and this sets the wheels in motion. To discuss more of the plot would seem redundant as seeing it for oneself is part of the fun, and the plot is rather basic in structure. It’s the potential consequences that carry weight.

For the first two thirds or so, The Flash offers a surprisingly fun and funny viewing experience with a lot of heart. I enjoyed the humor in this film as it felt more organic than some of the jokes in other DC films or especially in the Marvel ones. I’m thinking of a sequence where Barry teaches his younger self about how to use his powers, and he slips between the floor to the apartment below. His clothes disappear and we hear the reaction of the scared neighbor below. That got a big chuckle out of it as well as his trying on the suit for the first time. That stuff mixed with the emotional sequences with his mother and father have great weight to them. I even liked the few cameos here, especially the one just before the closing credits. It’s the climactic big finale that starts to feel taxing after a while. General Zod (Michael Shannon) returns and there is carnage and mayhem, but we’ve been there before and all too often. Still, this is a superhero film so by the very nature of it we must get those sequences. But it’s the human element here that works the best. Much like the latest Transformers film. The action is ok, but I cared more about the scaled back stuff. Still, it will be interesting to see where they go from here. As it stands, The Flash is a solid flick and not nearly the disaster it could have been.

Video: How’s it look?

The film might have not lived up to expectations, but watching this film makes me appreciate how good some movies can really look. If you look at the facts we’ve got a new release from a major studio – that alone merits a good-looking picture. But it’s all the “little things” that really raised my eyebrow. The “lightning” effect when The Flash “runs”, the background detail, the colors (off the chart) and so forth. This covers the spectrum of what your TV will visually display. Of note, this does have a rather odd aspect ratio of 1.90:1. I can’t remember if they had an IMAX release or not, but I have to assume there’s some reasoning for this. Suffice it to say, this one delivers visually.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Not to be outdone, the Dolby Atmos track goes toe to toe with the visuals delivering one of the most robust, dynamic and overall exciting mixes I’ve seen (well, heard) in quite some time. There are too many things going to that would allow me to whittle things down, but from vocals to atmospheric sound effects, to the front stage to the very active LFE – there isn’t a beat missed here. I could go on and on, but I think the point has been made. If it’s a great-sounding film you’re after – here you go.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • “The Flash: Escape the Midnight Circus” podcast – This is the six-part original scripted audio series featuring Max Greenfield as The Flash.
  • Deleted Scenes – Given the film’s already robust running time of 144 minutes (longer if you stay around and wait for that infamous post credits sequence), these 14 minutes of extended and deleted scenes were wisely cut.
  • Saving Supergirl – A scene breakdown of Supergirl and her jettison.
  • The Bat Chase – We get a deconstructed breakdown of the film’s opening sequence.
  • Battling Zod – Essentially the same as the above two featurettes, but this focuses on the Zod battle. Duh.
  • Fighting Dark Flash – Rounding out the four “scene deconstructions” we’ve got the finale where they, you guessed it, fight the Dark Flash.
  • The Flash: The Saga of the Scarlett Speedster – If you wanted or needed a history of the “fastest man alive” both in film, television and comic book lore – look no further.
  • Making the Flash: Worlds Collide – This 35 minute feature shows some of the challenges involved in the making of the film, in particular shooting this film in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Let’s Get Nuts: Batman Returns, Again – This might be the worst kept secret of the film, but I’m guessing anyone reading this already knows – we get a look at Keaton reprising his iconic role as The Dark Knight.
  • Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton – Similar to the history of The Flash, we get this – a similar featurette focusing, obviously, on Supergirl.
  • Flashpoint: Introducing the Multiverse – If you needed a primer/refresher on the DCEU, this 6 minute feature will help you out.

The Bottom Line

The Flash didn’t quite meet expectations. I don’t know if we’ll be seeing a sequel and I have no idea the state of affairs with the DCEU. Nevertheless, if this one was for you then I can say that Warner’s disc has reference-quality audio and video and enough supplements to warrant a purchase. If you’re a fan, this one delivers.

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