This may seem like a books-only kind of blog since most of our reviews are for books we've read, but I promise we watch movies as well! I received some advanced screening passes to watch The Flash a couple days back so let's talk about it! Before we begin, it seems important to make this disclaimer up front: I am a Marvel girlie to my very core until the end of time and I am not familiar enough with the DC Universe to pick out any Easter eggs they may have hidden throughout in the way that I'd be able to with Marvel. In fact, most (if not all) of my DC knowledge comes from The CW's Arrowverse (and yes, Grant Gustin is and forever will be the only Flash for me, even if we don't take into account the controversy surrounding Ezra Miller and everything that has come up about them).

Barry Allen (aka The Flash) has struggled with his mother's death for years and his pain has been compounded by the fact his father was (wrongly) convicted of her murder. On the even if his latest appeal, Barry goes back in time to prevent his mother's death, which leads to some unintended consequences. As Barry tries to return to the present, he's knocked off course and trapped in the past alongside the 18 year old version of himself that grew up with a mother. Upon the arrival of General Zod, Barry tries to find the other members of the Justice League only to realize that he is in a world without metahumans. All he can do now is team up with the younger version of himself, a somehow older version of Batman, and a different Kryptonian than the one he was expecting in order to stop Zod and save the world before he returns to his universe.

The plot of this movie is a bit all over the place, but it also somehow still makes sense. How this film explained the multiverse was creative, funny, and actually kind of made a lot of sense. Even with such a larger than life movie about superheroes and aliens, it deals with very human (and relatable) themes of grief, loneliness, and what we would do if we had the power to change our situation. This is exemplified by not only the main Barry Allen, but by his younger self as well.

While the visual effects did what they were supposed to do, there was something about them that just felt off to me, which could just be the effects of nine years of watching The CW's The Flash handle Barry's superspeed. There are, as to be expected, a handful of cameos that got the crowd roaring and had me wondering if I needed to go back and watch some other DC films (spoiler alert: I probably won't). Had I not had these passes, I would have chosen to watch this film at home (if I even watched it at all, if I'm being honest), which I think would do a bit of a disservice to the film. Like most other superhero films, it is larger than life and best received on the big screen, especially as a part of a captive audience. Audience reaction was probably the most fun part of watching this film for me.

While in the end I did generally enjoy this film (there were a few actual laugh out loud moments), it started out a bit rocky for me. Within the first fifteen minutes or so, there were a handful of newborn babies, a therapy dog, and a group of school aged children put in danger. I spent the entire time with one hand gripping tightly to my daughter's in worry and the other clutching my chest with anxiety. Shots were a part of this sequence that were meant to elicit laughter and lighten the mood (which it did for most of the audience), but I couldn't relax until everyone was safe. And yes, the newborns, the therapy dog, and the children all made it out safely (and this is not a spoiler as it doesn't affect the plot of the film as a whole).

Overall, this film had some really high highs and really low lows. If you're a fan of the DC Universe or into superhero movies as a genre, then this would probably be something you'd enjoy. As for the casual DC fan (or fan of The CW's Arrowverse like me), you'll probably walk away a little confused and with a reminder as to why you don't watch DC films. But who knows, with James Gunn at the head, maybe things will change.

The Flash is directed by Andy Muschietti and stars Ezra Miller, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, Ron Livingston, Maribel Verdú, Kiersey Clemons, Antje Traue, and Michael Keaton. The world premiere is being held in Los Angeles on June 12, 2023 and hits theatres in the United States on June 16, 2023. Run time is 2 hours and 24 minutes.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced screening pass for this film from the studio for free and have voluntarily written this review.