THE FLASH begins with a superb action scene where Barry Allen, aka The Flash, saves some people, including some babies from a maternity ward, from a sinkhole and a falling hospital building. Barry discovers he can go back in time by running faster than the speed of light. So, he goes back to make sure his mother wasn’t murdered and his father wasn’t falsely accused. By changing the past, Barry has created a new timeline where Superman isn’t there to save Earth from General Zod and his soldiers. Barry gets some help in trying to put things right.
THE FLASH is well-paced and plotted, with lots of excitement and plenty of humor. The movie has several stirring, heartfelt moments. Including Michael Keaton’s Batman in the movie was a stroke of genius. THE FLASH has a strong moral, redemptive worldview promoting loving your parents, protecting life from evil forces, courage, doing the right thing, and sacrifice. However, it has one “f” word, some other strong obscenities, a brief risqué moment, lots of action violence, and a reference to Fate. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
(BB, C, PP, CapCap, FR, LLL, VV, S, N, M):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral pro-family worldview with some redemptive elements and a strong positive view of America and Bruce Wayne’s noblisse oblige promotes loving your parents, protecting life from evil forces and natural disaster, courage, doing the right thing, helping other people with your wealth, justice, and sacrifice and rejects playing God with science, but there’s a reference to Fate
20 obscenities (including 14 “s” words and one “f” word when a character is surprised during an end credits scene), 11 light exclamatory profanities and human character vomits twice when he’s carried through two solid objects by superhero who can vibrate himself and other physical things through solid objects
Lots of strong and light action violence such as superhero saves people from disasters, superhero saves babies from falling to their deaths in an exhilarating slow-motion action sequence, superhero saves a nurse and a dog from falling to their deaths, slow-motion images of dog with its tongue out as it falls from a great height, superheroes battle soldiers with guns, bullets bounce off Batman’s bulletproof suit, the Flash changes the trajectory of some bullets, a bullet penetrates the leg portion of a superhero’s makeshift suit, a female superhero punches and flings soldiers trying to kill her, bullets bounce off female superhero, explosions, superheroes battle supervillains, superheroes use their powers to shock supervillains with powers, some stabbings, female superhero fights supervillains (most of them are male, but one supervillain is female), etc.
Implied sex when one morning a female college student gets out of a bed she apparently shared with a male college student (the two are friends of the title character’s doppleganger)
Brief upper male nudity when characters try to recreate the situation where the title character gained his superpowers (the title character has lost his superpowers in the story), rear and upper male nudity when a man loses his regular clothes because they burn off his body when he moves fast, and one man has woken up and is still in his underwear, but he’s wearing a T-shirt
Brief alcohol use
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,
Batman has become disillusioned because his Gotham City has conquered crime, and there’s no Justice League in his timeline.
THE FLASH is DC Comics’ first modern feature-length iteration of their popular superhero, but it’s not an origin story. Instead, the movie tells what happens when Barry Allen aka The Flash decides to use his powers to go back in time and save his mother’s life, only to find he’s created a new timeline where Superman is not there to save Earth from General Zod and his soldiers. THE FLASH is extremely well-paced and exciting, with a great plot and several stirring, heartfelt moments, but there are some strong obscenities, one “f” word, a brief risqué moment, and lots of intense action scenes and fighting.
The movie begins with a superb action scene, one of the best superhero scenes ever made, where the Barry gets a call from Batman to save people from a large sinkhole in front of a multi-story hospital while Batman chases some crooks who’ve stolen a biological weapon. As the Flash, Barry saves some people from the sinkhole, but he also has to fix some pipes in the basement that are about to flood the first floor. If that weren’t enough, the front wing of the hospital, which has all glass windows, starts to break apart and crumble while flinging all the babies in the maternity ward several stories below. The camera shows in slow motion how the Flash saves all the babies, while Batman frantically rides his Batcycle through Gotham City to chase down the thieves’ van.
Later that night, Barry confides to Bruce Wayne aka Batman that he can travel through time by running faster than light. He would like to run into the past and save his mother’s life and rescue his father, who was unjustly charged with her murder. Bruce advises Barry not to do that, no matter how much he wants to do it. Any interacton with the past could change the future and the present in unexpected, terrible ways, he notes. Our scars also make us who we are, Bruce adds when Barry mentions stopping the murder of Bruce’s parents.
Barry’s father has a new hearing on his case in a day or two. So, Barry goes back into the past to see what happened on the day his mother was married. Barry’s mother was preparing a special dinner, but she forgot to get a second can of tomato sauce. So, she sends Barry’s father to the store to get it.
However, when he returns home, Barry’s father finds his wife dying from a kitchen knife that some intruder used to stab her in the stomach. Barry’s father was charged with the murder because, when he went to the checkout counter to buy the sauce, he was wearing a baseball cap and never looked up long enough for the ceiling camera to register his face.
Despite Bruce’s advice, Barry makes a second trip into the past to slip a second can of tomato sauce into her grocery cart. However, when he returns to the future, Barry finds he can go no further into the future than the day before General Zod’s spaceship arrives on Earth. He finds his mom and dad both alive, and he sits down with them to enjoy an afternoon meal. Barry has to disappear, though, when he sees his 21-year-old self coming home from his college classes to visit. Barry rushes outside, grabs his younger self and rushes him upstairs to their room.
After talking with his younger self, Barry realizes that, by changing the past, he’s changed his own past. His younger self is no longer taking criminology classes and isn’t working as an intern for the city’s crime lab. That latter situation is important because it’s only an hour or so away when Barry was sitting in the crime lab when lightning came through the window and struck Barry whole spilling a bunch of chemicals on him at the same time.
Barry rushes his younger self to the crime lab. They sneak into the building, but Barry’s younger self becomes reluctant to have himself struck by lightning. So, when the lightning strikes the chemicals, Barry is standing in front of his younger self. The good news is that his younger self does get the superpowers, but the lightning removed the superpowers from Barry.
Barry’s younger self will somehow have to learn how to use his superpowers to get Barry back to his own time. The next day, however, Barry learns on the TV news that General Zod’s spaceship has landed on Earth. Barry expects Superman to appear before Zod starts terraforming the Earth and killing its human population. However, when Superman fails to show up, Barry decides they must contact Batman and get his help.
When they get to Wayne Manor, however, things are completely different than Barry expected. The chances of stopping Zod are starting to look bleaker, but there’s always a ray of hope. Or, is there?
THE FLASH is perhaps the best constructed of the new DC movies from Warner Bros. It bodes well for the future of the DC brand. THE FLASH is extremely well-paced, with a great plot and lots of excitement and plenty of humor. The movie also has several stirring, heartfelt moments. Some of those moments have to do with the circumstances surrounding the murder of Barry’s mother and the imprisonment of his father for the crime. Other stirring moments occur when Barry discovers that, instead of the Batman he knows, the Batman in the new timeline is an older Bruce Wayne, who’s played by Michael Keaton in a return to the iconic role that he created in 1989. Including Keaton’s Batman in the movie was a stroke of genius. Keaton and the way he’s included add a level of gravitas to the story and characters.
THE FLASH has a strong moral, pro-family worldview with redemptive content. It promotes loving your parents, protecting life from evil forces, courage, doing the right thing, and sacrifice. Also, the title character learns that it’s not okay to play God.
One really neat aspect of the movie is a scene where Barry and his younger self see all the different worlds where different versions of superheroes exist. Among them are George Reeves’ Superman, Christopher Reeve’s Superman, Nicolas Cage’s version of Superman (which never got off the ground), John Wesley Shipp’s Flash on TV in 1990, and Adam West’s Batman from the 1960s. Here, the filmmakers create a beautiful homage to the power of superhero characters and other storytelling to inspire people down through the decades and centuries.
That said, THE FLASH has slightly excessive foul language, including nearly 15 epithets about excrement, one “f” word during an end credits scene and 11 light exclamatory profanities. There’s also some naturalistic male nudity in two scenes and a brief risqué scene when Barry and his younger self visit the younger Barry’s apartment one morning where two of his three friends, a young man and a young woman, apparently slept in the same bed the night before. THE FLASH also has a reference to Fate in one scene and, of course, lots of strong action violence. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for the foul language and violence. Also, it would have been nice if the movie had some positive references to God, Jesus or people of Christian faith like a few other superhero or blockbuster action movies, such as FAST X, MAN OF STEEL and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3. At least the movie doesn’t contain at first glance any woke content, however.
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