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The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

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Mason Neal
Mason Neal
Staff Writer

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive (Review)

A+stunning+illustration+of+The+Flash+exercising+his+superspeed.
Clark Neely
A stunning illustration of The Flash exercising his superspeed.

The hit DC Comics series The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive by Kenny Porter was a precursor to the 2023 Warner Bros. film directed by Andy Muschietti, The Flash. The comic was published on May 16, 2023, with the movie following shortly after, releasing in American theaters on June 16 of the same year. As evident by its underperformance in the box office, the film was incredibly lackluster. In striking contrast, the comic provides a lot of necessary background knowledge and is a thoroughly entertaining read on its own.

 

In the comic, a young Barry Allen, heroically known as The Flash, tries to get a hold of his newfound powers. With the help of DCs’ classic hero Batman, Barry finds out he can do a whole lot more with them than he expected. It turns out, he’s not simply the Fastest Man Alive, he possesses extraordinary power that exceeds both his speed and expectations, and especially the expectations of others. 

Barry Allen realizes he can’t always just run from his enemies when he meets a most formidable foe, a meta-man of steel by the name of Girder. Barry’s friend, who just so happens to be Bruce Wayne, off-handedly agrees to teach him how to actually win a battle, not just injure his opponent. The relationship between Barry and Bruce is very endearing, and should have been explored more. The audience doesn’t get any more of that until the movie (which still features it minimally).

Allen’s training comes in handy later in the second issue, when Flash finds himself at odds with a man named Joey Montelone. These days, Montelone isn’t exactly a man, nor named Joey, he is a very strange tar monster named Tarpit. In combination with Batman’s advice and a heart to heart with his dad, Flash is able to defeat Tarpit, simply by being “in the moment” – something he wasn’t doing enough before. Neither of these villains are revisited, or even mentioned again at any point. One would think they’d be talked about, seeing as they were super important to Barry and his growth as a hero, but just like the villain of the third issue, they aren’t seen again.

Kenny Porters’ writing in this is phenomenal, and the illustrative team did a beautiful job bringing the story to life. It’s definitely a good lead-in to the movie, but there’s something to be said of how different they are.

Conversely, the film interpretation leaves much to be desired. In the film, The Flash learns to use his superspeed to go into the past and save his family. Of course, tampering with the speedforce is a horrible idea. Upon the return of evil Kryptonian General Zod, Barry has to teach his younger, and more naive self, how to get a hang of his powers and save his universe. A hefty task, on top of coaxing a much older Bruce Wayne out of retirement to help. The plot of the film is good in theory but proves problematic for a number of reasons. 

The action scenes in this movie are absolutely phenomenal – DC is known to spare no expense in that regard. The stunning cinematography in these scenes really makes them stand out. It’s a common thought amongst fans that Michael Keatons’ performance as Batman was one of his best, and The Flash wouldn’t quite be the same without the charisma he brings in his character. He really seems to understand his Batman, and he carries the weight of this movie on his shoulders.

There’s definitely something to be said of Ben Afflecks’ Batman performance as well. His entry scene is awesome, in every definition of the word. (Basically, The Bat carries.)

All that said, every creative work could use some critique. Many fans wish Grant Gustin reprised his role as Barry Allen for this film, and although Ezra Millers’ performance was alright, it pales in comparison. They fail to bring the charm Gustin did in the series – they come off very awkward, and they just don’t slip into the role quite like Gustin. Many fans also wanted Miller to be dropped from the film after their many arrests and “erratic and disturbing behavior” was revealed by Rolling Stone magazine.

It’s also been stated by Michael Shannon that his role as General Zod wasn’t exactly “satisfying” for him as an actor, which makes sense. Zods’ inclusion in the film feels strange and out of place, only there to present further conflict to Flash, Batman, and Supergirl.

As a whole, The Flash is certainly a movie. With a rating of 6.7 on IMDb and 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, its D+ grade is fitting. It certainly wasn’t great, but it could’ve been worse, right?

Barry is not just a fast guy. He’s smart, to utilize that speed under duress.

— Director Andrés Muschietti in a Rotten Tomatoes interview.

The comic definitely had more thought and care put into it, and did a great job building the foundation of the story that the film attempts to build upon. Unfortunately, the film falls incredibly short, not only in comparison to the graphic novel but in comparison to other movies DC has put out. It was eight years and up to $200 million in development, but it comes off on the screen very cheaply. Ezra Miller portrays Barry Allen as awkward and insecure, both characteristics that have never been his defining feature.

Everything considered, the graphic novel may be worth your time and money, but it’s unlikely the film will be if you don’t already have a Max subscription and a few hours to spare.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Review” represent the views, opinions, and recommendations of the author, not the 2023-2024 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.

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S. Kathrin Bryson
S. Kathrin Bryson, Staff Writer
Kat is a Freshman at CHS and this is their first year on Periscope. They enjoy various rock and metal bands, and making their own jewelry. They also enjoy reading DC comics, and Disney media. They're very excited to write alongside others in Periscope.
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