The Flash

When Barry Allen (Ezra Miller, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN), a.k.a. The Flash, discovers that he can run so fast he travels through time, the first thing he does is what we all wish we could do: go tell Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck, SMOKIN’ ACES) about it. And his cool rich friend gives him wise, succinct advice: if it’s possible for you to change the past, such as by stopping the murder of your mother (Maribel Verdú, TETRO), it would be very dangerous, and besides, our scars make us who we are. Look at me, for example – I’m fuckin Batman!

But as Barry prepares one more desperate appeal for his father (Ron Livingston, KING OF THE ANTS), who was blamed for his mother’s death, it occurs to him that if he traveled back in time he wouldn’t have to intervene during the murder. He’d just have to make sure his mom had tomato sauce so his dad wouldn’t leave for the store, causing a burglar to believe no one was home. A loophole. One weird trick to save the Allen family. Of course, his changes cause reverberations (with the unusual twist that since time isn’t linear it doesn’t just branch off, it changes in all directions), and he spends the movie running around very fast trying to clean up his mess.

The Flash has an occupation and past trauma in common with Batman, and he’s very smart. Otherwise they’re opposites. Barry has incredible powers, not as many skills. He doesn’t seem to have much money, he’s very socially awkward, always in way over his head, apparently a virgin. He makes enough poor choices that Batman actually seems like a good role model to him. He at least tries to do the right thing, and thankfully he’s good at problem solving, because he causes alot of problems. I think Miller is genuinely funny in the role, so his Flash is my favorite of the “still trying to figure out these super powers” characters in these movies.

Barry and Bruce discuss the concept of “The Butterfly Effect” – that every minor change to a timeline could kick off an unpredictable chain reaction leading to catastrophe. For example, imagine a reality where Warner Brothers goes all in on Zack Snyder making a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie and it launches a “DC Extended Universe” to rival the Marvel movies. If someone then went back in time and told the executives that people want comic book movies to be funny now, that one suggestion could snowball into a present where Ben Affleck backed out of playing the DCEU Batman, his solo movie turned into an unrelated new Batman series, and now there’s a five-years-past-due THE FLASH solo movie where he returns to pass the DCEU’s Batman torch to a Batman from another reality, even though it’s already been announced that this storyline won’t continue because they’re rebooting the whole universe.

So the people who pay attention to Batman business are watching THE FLASH while anticipating Robert Pattinson in THE BATMAN 2 and somebody else in BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, but for now they’re here to see the about-to-be retired Affleck Batman get switched out with our beloved 1989-1992 Michael Keaton Batman through multiversal gimmickry. That’s something that would’ve been mindblowing in 2018 when THE FLASH was originally scheduled for release, and seems pretty worn out after SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (plus DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS and SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE). Tracing back those steps, though, I realize it probly wouldn’t have been a multiverse movie back then. They only needed that to get two guys playing Batman. Fundamentally it’s a time travel story, more like BACK TO THE FUTURE (which is openly referenced). In fact, he has to go to a place where he knows lightning is going to strike in order to get back to the future. This time it’s the lightning that gave him his powers.

The part that’s very different from BACK TO THE FUTURE, and the best part of this movie, is that he meets his stoner doofus alternate 2013 self. When alternate Barry gets his powers, our Barry loses his, so they have to work together to save the world. It’s a buddy movie, two funny bantering characters who I never really thought about being one actor filming separately.

It just so happens that Barry traveled to the time when MAN OF STEEL takes place, and he sees General Zod (Michael Shannon, GROUNDHOG DAY) and the Kryptonian space ships on TV and realizes he’s created a world where there’s no Superman to stop him. So Barry goes to get help from his super hero big brother Bruce, but discovers that in this universe he’s Michael Keaton – a totally different guy who doesn’t know him, and retired a long time ago. After a life of trying to make up for losing his parents, this Bruce is moved by Barry’s story of saving his mom, and also seems to have an itch to suit up again.

So – what the hell, kids. Get in the Batwing. We’re flying to Siberia where you believe this guy Superman is locked up (long story). Note: Due to the Comic Book Movie Anti-Collateral Accords of 2013, the climax of MAN OF STEEL now takes place in a big empty field instead of a populated area.

I was primed for Keaton’s Batman, but pleasantly surprised how much Affleck Batman we get. I have mixed feelings about his movie set during the dawn of justice, but I like him in the role, and it’s cool to see him in a big motorcycle chase here. We learn that Alfred (Jeremy Irons, DEAD RINGERS) sometimes calls The Flash for backup when Bats is occupied. In this case, he reports to the collapsing Gotham Hospital while Batman stops bank robbers from releasing a bio-weapon. A maternity ward full of babies are launched out the windows and, while the world appears to move in extreme slow motion, Barry runs up the falling debris to rearrange the newborns so that they land safely and avoid explosions, flying scalpels, etc. Later we’ll see Looney Tunes decor in Barry’s room, but this scene reminds me more of Roger Rabbit and Baby Herman.

When it’s almost all over Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, KNIGHT & DAY) shows up to save the day. I love that even Batman acts bashful around her. The movie starts with this ground-level Super Friends stuff and builds up momentum until it’s running loopty-loops around cosmic time loop paradoxes and shit. A bunch of major scenes take place in an abstract realm called The Chronobowl that’s like a three-dimensional kaleidoscope of Barry’s memories that he can use to transport to different times. I’ve seen people making fun of the movie’s often phony-looking digital FX, which I guess I’m just not as finicky about, especially in strange imagery like this that’s not intended as realism. (There is a part right at the beginning though where I kinda chuckled at The Flash’s silly animated running.)

Even to me, a bigger fan of this series than most, the DCEU has been a mixed bag. You had to approach each one with caution, they were never consistent enough to gain our trust. The flagship title went over poorly, the superior extended cut is too weird for some people, and is inextricably linked to a nerd culture war we’d prefer to forget about. Two of the best DCEU movies, BIRDS OF PREY and THE SUICIDE SQUAD, were financial disappointments, followed by two movies considered bombs (BLACK ADAM and SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS) without the benefit of being great movies. So it’s no surprise that the “oh yeah, we got one more solo spin-off from that old JUSTICE LEAGUE movie” movie is flopping too.

While I think moviegoers at large are indifferent, the internet film discussion circles I’m in have all their knives out for THE FLASH. They went into storage and got out the fancy ones they usually save for holiday get togethers, and they’ve been joyously celebrating the occasion of its box office failure. I really shouldn’t care, because who gives a fuck? There wasn’t gonna be a sequel anyway, and that company deserves to lose money. But I love talking movies, and it’s frustrating to do when the discussion is so dominated by hyperbole and bad faith bullshit, pretending not to understand things, posting out of context clips saying it’s the worst shit you’ve ever seen, disingenuous arguments transparently motivated by things external to the movie. I think you can care about those things while still looking at the movie honestly. Or you can just ignore the movie!

Some have chosen not to support it because it stars Miller (who uses they/them pronouns – I’ll try to get it correct). During the long production, they got into bizarre legal troubles involving brawls at karaoke bars and breaking into a house to steal wine. There were stories of wearing a bullet proof vest, claiming to be Jesus, and publicly announcing a war against a specific chapter of the KKK that the Southern Poverty Law Center had no record of. In recent months Miller apologized for past behavior and claimed to be in treatment for “complex mental health issues,” and since I believe in rehabilitation I hope that’s true. But I can understand why some people aren’t gonna let it go, since there have also been accusations of grooming minors and being abusive. It’s all very strange and sad to read about, and I hope Miller and anyone they hurt really do get the help they need.

But the argument I’ve seen more of is a totally different hot button issue that has many of my internet film friends sounding like religious zealots. I’m going to mark this a SPOILER since it’s obviously meant as a surprise, even though I knew about it thanks to weeks of frothing Twitter outrage before the release of the movie. Like other comic book multiverse movies, THE FLASH includes a handful of what people are calling “cameos” by previous incarnations of DC characters. Some are just old footage, some are CG animation, and the one people are up in arms about is the one you would most expect – a simulation of Christopher Reeve’s Superman. It has been called an abomination, a desecration, an insult, and some people are probly annoyed by the fun part of the scene – that he’s (DOUBLE SPOILER) next to a less sacred character, Helen Slater’s Supergirl.

I don’t mean to dismiss fears of deep fakes, A.I., or the misuse of likenesses, but the way some of my friends react to this kinda stuff seems almost superstitious to me. Maybe they’re right, maybe it’s a slippery slope that needs to be shored up before it’s too late, but I just don’t have it in to me to get worked up about, for example, a cool part in one The Mandalorian episode where they came up with a digital way to fake a young Mark Hamill. And although I’m sure the angry twenty-something version of me would’ve been handing out pitchforks too, it seems like you gotta kinda contort yourself to see the Reeve scene as anything other than a quick “wasn’t Christopher Reeve’s Superman great? Don’t we all worship him?” It’s corny, it’s obvious, but I don’t agree that it’s sacreligious.

From the discussion you’d think they made some kind of fake Christopher Reeve performance, but they certainly weren’t trying to fool anyone, and even calling it a “scene” is kind of a stretch. It’s a couple brief shots, and doesn’t even take place in a literal reality – it’s in the Chronobowl and they’re looking out at spinning globes covered in frames of other realities. It’s more like a studio logo, or a rotation around a statue, than a deep fake. It’s a brief pause for Christopher Reeve Superman worship, no more offensive than celebrating the anniversary of Bugs Bunny or CASABLANCA or some shit. I thought it was fine. (Would’ve liked to see virtual Gus Gorman, though.)

Some motherfucker posted a cell cam picture of that part on Twitter, which I saw before the movie, and that pissed me off. I’m glad I stayed unaware of a couple of the other surprises, but the truth is they’re a very small part of the movie, gimmicks that pay off the multiverse concept, but fairly incidental to the plot and only taking up a minute or two of the movie. It’s less about fan service than sliding doors type concepts. A recurring bit involves the famous movie trivia that Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty McFly before Michael J. Fox. And there are background details like the Barrys having INCEPTION and MARS ATTACKS! posters in their bedrooms, making you wonder about those directors’ filmographies in a world where Batman is real. Even accidental stuff got me thinking about alternate timelines. Billy Crudup played Barry’s dad in JUSTICE LEAGUE, but bowed out of this one however many years later, so they could be alternate timeline Henry Allens. Kiersey Clemons (SWEETHEART) returns as Barry’s crush Iris West, and alludes to the time he rescued her from a car crash, but her entire role was cut from the theatrical JUSTICE LEAGUE and we only know it from the four-years-after-the-fact Snyder cut.

But the multiverse gimmick does get Keaton’s Batman into the movie, and that is a significant role and selling point. I don’t see many people say this, but Tim Burton’s BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS are not just movies I like – they were crucial to my development as a film lover. The first one established an ideal for how a popcorn movie could be both a zeitgeist-riding pop culture phenomenon and a deeply idiosyncratic work of personal expression, the second set a high watermark for weird sequels that surpass the original artistically while alienating the studio bosses and the loudest mouths with the worst tastes. A double triumph.

For a surprisingly long time Batman was allowed to occupy that rare space as the valuable intellectual property that the suits leave to the artists. I believe Joel Schumacher was the first attempt to hand him over to a pliable, studio-friendly journeyman, but no matter what I think of those movies he built off of the Burton Precedent to create something crazy and distinct. And then we had Christopher Nolan’s entirely different trilogy that no other director would’ve made. Zack Snyder also got to make a Zack Snyder movie, though with some clashes with the executives and problems caused by trying to set up a shared universe. Matt Reeves, so far, seems to be a return to the “we trust you, go off and do your thing” tradition. Batman might even top ALIEN as the big time pop culture item entrusted to the most auteurs.

The Batmen of THE FLASH, however, are suiting up in a different era, when movies are more than ever run by business school asswipes who only care about raiding portfolios of “i.p.” and “content” long enough to announce a multi-platform franchise or rename a streaming service, then get out right before the bubble pops so they’re gone while the next asshole tries to figure out what the fuck to do with all this mess. They’ll either quit while they’re ahead or be forced to resign, and either way their severance will be way more money than our entire families’ lifetime earnings. If during their reign they ever empowered an artist to make art, it was probly an accident.

So I can’t blame my more cynical friends for seeing this as another WB movie waving around WB trademarked properties, saying “Hey! Remember this?” Of course I couldn’t help but smile to see that Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne’s armor collection, the Bat Cave, the Batmobile (parked only), and the Batwing, while hearing Danny Elfman’s themes blasting in an Imax theater, and seeing Keaton (an actor I’m always happy to see anyway) extending his oddball Bruce Wayne into his Howard Hughes years, then getting back in the suit. And to see him kicking ass again! Maybe it’s phony that he’s doing better than he did when he was younger, but I think it’s an evolution of that blunt one-punch-per-enemy style developed for the limited mobility of his suit. (Fight coordinator: Mike Lambert, THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, JUSTICE LEAGUE.)

I was pretty sure I’d get a kick out of that, but even more sure I’d never be 100% on it, because I believe Gotham is as important to a cinematic Batman as Batman himself is. (That’s why I believe Affleck’s Batman hasn’t really captured the public imagination. We never really saw his world. He was always traveling on business.) So Keaton as Batman but not in the Gotham of BATMAN or BATMAN RETURNS – no cartoon-noir atmosphere, no Burtonized superfreak villains, no retro-futuristic-‘30s-but-also-the-’80s timelessness – is just not the same guy. It’s a good illustration of what we traded away from the ‘90s era of comic book movies when the shared universes began. BATMAN, DICK TRACY, THE CROW, even shit like SPAWN or BARB WIRE, are not designed so you could pluck a character out and put them in any other movie. They’re inseparable from the worlds around them.

In an interview with Collider, Michael Shannon said that he liked THE FLASH but his part “wasn’t quite satisfying for me, as an actor” because “these multiverse movies are like somebody playing with action figures. It’s like, ‘Here’s this person. Here’s that person. And they’re fighting!’”

That’s what it is. It’s mixing up your Star Wars figures with your G.I. Joes. Fun for a bit, but it’s never gonna feel right. So it’s a lucky break that the fruitlessness of trying to hold on to the past forever is the theme of the movie. Barry realizes his first Batman was right, we have to accept and move on. The emotional climax of the movie (EMOTIONAL CLIMAX SPOILER) genuinely got me: Barry goes back to undo his undoing of the past, and ends up in a brief conversation with his mom, who doesn’t recognize him as the adult version of her son, but still shows him the kindness and generosity he remembered her for. What can I say, man? I have a dead mom. The idea of Barry getting to talk to his, knowing it’s the last time, and then having to turn around and walk away, it pulls those heartstrings.

For us, seeing Michael Keaton as Batman again is basically the same as Barry seeing his mom. He’s a cherished part of our past, it’s nice to see him again, to get a taste of what might have been, but it’s not right, it doesn’t work, it can’t last. What the fuck is he doing out in the bright daylight in snowy Russia, fighting CGI bad guys? That fleeting new Supergirl (Sasha Calle, The Young and the Restless) is really cool, but how the fuck are they together? Can you picture her on a giant set on a soundstage, in front of an enormous statue of a guy pulling a lever, talking to Oswald Cobblepot? I can’t. This wasn’t meant to be.

That inescapable “I love you Batman but what are you doing here?” hollowness keeps THE FLASH from feeling as fully formed as, say, AQUAMAN, but its thematic appropriateness saves it for me. I don’t think THE FLASH is a great movie, but it’s a fun one. On the recent live action super hero movies rankings I’d definitely put it below GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 and THE BATMAN, maybe below WAKANDA FOREVER, but well above BLACK ADAM, MORBIUS, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, ANT-MAN & THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA, and SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS.

The script is credited to Christina Hodson (BUMBLEBEE, BIRDS OF PREY, deleted BATGIRL film), story by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein (DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES) (who were previously attached to direct), and Joby Harold (KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, ARMY OF THE DEAD, TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS). Despite all the mid-stream changes and moving parts I think they ended up with a funny, likable, well-paced story with a variety of super powered action, and it’s grounded in character and emotion. The “fan service” is nothing more than amusing, but there’s better shit beneath the surface. For example, the idea that our Barry increasingly resents 2013 Barry for having lived his life minus the tragedy, but 2013 Barry has no idea what’s going on because he hasn’t been told what happens to their mom. I think it’s a worthy continuation of the character I enjoyed in the previous movies. (If you don’t care about those, you don’t have to care about this one either.)

I’m not sure yet what I think of director Andy Muschietti. I really liked his first movie MAMA. I also liked IT, but I haven’t gotten around to CHAPTER TWO yet, so I must not have loved it. I think THE FLASH is another one in the plus column, but is he worthy of being added to that list of bat-auteurs? I’ve long wanted a Batman with all the Robins and shit in it, and now they’ve hired him to do just that. I hope we’re in the timeline where he doesn’t fuck it up.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 21st, 2023 at 7:02 pm and is filed under Reviews, Comic strips/Super heroes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

64 Responses to “The Flash”

  1. (SPOILERS, I guess)

    There’s a lot of good that can be said about this film. As a sequel to JUSTICE LEAGUE (either mix) it’s pretty decent. As a showcase for those films’ not particularly appealing version of the eponymous character and the admitted talents of the even less appealing actor who plays them it might even be excellent, if that’s really something anyone wants. As a revisionist MAN OF STEEL midquel(?) it’s OK. As a BACK 2 THAT FUTURE 89 MIX homage it’s not bad, and does have some fun livening up the IMO now very stale traditional last act of a superhero movie with some time travel shenanigans, even if that honestly feels kind of derivative of frickin MEN IN BLACK III. As an introduction for Sasha Calle as Supergirl it’s pretty good. As a one and done like it seems it will be? Less so, but hey I guess she still makes for a pretty cool fourth lead for a film.

    But I didn’t watch this for any of that, and maybe I could come up with a similar list of positives for FURY OF THE GODS if I sat down and watched that. Like I suspect many here did or will at some point I watched this for Michael Keaton returning to the role of Bruce Wayne slash (SPOILER) Batman. And it’s not exactly a surprise, but on that level I’m sorry but I think this is pretty much just a wasted opportunity. Maybe in an earlier cut it was more satisfying. Maybe at one point this was part of a rewarding puzzle with BATGIRL and AQUAMAN 2. But I can only judge the cards as they’ve been dealt I’m afraid.

    I’m not saying it’s not still nice to see him in the role. I’m not saying there aren’t some nice moments (I particularly like The Flashes waking up to find his little research paper on Kara). But I just don’t think it adds anything meaningful to the legacy of his two films from thirty plus years ago. I think many of us suspected that Keaton Batman without Burton, or at least in a film that doesn’t at least gesture towards the same kind of approach, would be half the equation at most, but I don’t think it hit me how true that would be until I saw CG Keaton flip-flopping all around a bunch of off-brand Luc-Besson-assembly-line-film henchmen. This feels like the same character in actor, props and quips only. He doesn’t mourn Michael Gough Alfred or pine for Vicki Vale or do something better than those that hopefully a professional screenwriter would be able to come up with. What he does do is deliver a Bruce Villanch-level joke about Superman soon after he first appears; you know, like George Clooney did at the start of one of the sequels he turned down! Maybe BIRDMAN was on to something after all.

    Also, what’s the deal with two Chicago songs in the film and no Prince? And I like Chicago, but come on, what are you doing?

    (You guys remember how back in the day the AICN crowd would say “uh, Joker dances to *Prince* music!” to argue against the 89 movie, as if Prince were Milli Vanilli or something? Although to be clear looking hot and miming to Blame it on the Rain and appearing as doodles in THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER MARIO BROS 3 is still cooler than anything most non-Walter B talkbackers have done, including me)

    Also, this isn’t a dealbreaker or anything but I also don’t fundamentally buy the thing either here or in NO WAY HOME and probably other movies from the last few years that time travel shenanigans can somehow result in multiple Bruce Waynes or Peter Parkers or whoever all being born about ten years apart to various Thomas and Martha Wayne or Parker that all must have been born an appropriate window of time earlier or later too, and all being named Bruce or Peter, all being inspired to become Batman or Spider-Man by the same events that somehow happened to all of them. I know all time travel stuff is basically nonsense until it actually happens (so until forever basically), but something about this recent addition to the nonsense just doesn’t track to me.

    And not to be too much of a cliché Animation simp but I do need to note that a “ha ha Mechanical Spider” gag was already done in SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY 15 years ago, and Nic Cage already played Superman in TEEN TITANS GO TO THE MOVIES 5 years ago. I don’t remember what he said or did, but it was more than one thing and he had lines, so that’s a step up IMO.

    Sorry, I did finish this movie thinking it was at least a little above average, but I pretty quickly started to think of all the missed opportunities. My final verdict is that it’s not bad, but not good enough to stand out from the pack.

    To end on a positive note I did enjoy British comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar’s cameo in this. Hopefully he can go on to crossover with his onscreen mother Indira Joshi’s UN Chief character from QUEST FOR PEACE.

    Also I liked it more than THE BATMAN. But the same is true of BLACK ADAM. And most movies.

  2. I don’t mind the Chronobowl FX because that’s supposed to be surreal. Even the weird falling babies get a pass because it’s comedic.

    But the desert climax where you can totally tell every actor is standing in front of a screen with the background on it is unacceptable. Just say no to the volume and green screen.

    Fun movie though. Surprised I missed that you missed It 2. Though less popular I responded to it more with its portrayal of adult fear and trauma, so I hope you complete the Muschiettiverse.

  3. Pac-Man, Cage had a line about explosive diarrhea in Teen Titans!

  4. “Barry’s crush Iris West, and alludes to the time he rescued her from a car crash, but her entire role was cut from the theatrical JUSTICE LEAGUE” this, plus when Bruce mentions the few seconds Barry turned back time in Russia, plus the fact Barry says he can’t move people (which he did in the Whedon cut but not the Snyder cut) has me convinced the Snyder cut is the precursor in this universe. Not that it really matters or anything. Just something I noticed.

    I didn’t mind the jenky CGI in the speed force bubble because that’s already a weird background. But I didn’t like the look of the CGI Barry when they were together. I could ALWAYS tell which one was the real person and if I glanced at the CGI one I’d flinch and jerk my gaze away telling myself, don’t look at that one!

  5. The biggest hint at the complete angry-for-angers-sake fabrication of the outrage over some parts of the movie, is the overuse of the word “ghoulish” when it comes to the use of images of dead actors. I’m sure under normal circumstances this would’ve gotten the audience pop that it was supposed to get (Even if the old “Would the actors agree to that?” argument would pop up) and nerds everywhere would high five each other over being able to see Christopher Reeve one more time on the big screen as Superman! But one random dude who got the scoop early said “It’s ghoulish”, so now everybody parroted “Viral social media nerd says it’s ghoulish!”

    I usually call this “Family Guy thinking”, coming from a time when internet seemed to get certain views from jokes on FAMILY GUY. Y’know, stuff like “Danny Elfman makes shitty music” or “Sarah Jessica Parker is ugly” or “Walt Disney worshipped Hitler”. It’s frustrating that this shit is still a thing, but I guess under Melon Usk’s Twitter, the dumbest people now yell even louder.

  6. Great review! I’ve kind of been sitting on the fence for this one (I tend to watch superhero movies because my son drags me to them, and he’s not interested in this), but I will get around to it. Sounds like its heart is in the right place and that it’s at the very least not a chore to get through. Also, I’ve found the DC movies tend to get spectacle a little better than most Marvel movies.
    Muschietti really likes his cheesy, fake-looking CGI; I’m really not a fan of his post-MAMA horror film(s), but I suspect he’ll do well in a fantasy/action movie.

    TEEN TITANS GO TO THE MOVIES is very good, if you can stand its screamy, overactive kid’s show approach. Now I think about it, it has a five minute sequence where they go back in time, get rid of all the superheroes, come back, find no one’s standing up against supervillains, so they have to go back and undo it; Basically, THE FLASH is redundant, Teen Titans Go already did it as a gag.

    I hope all those twits aren’t the same ones saying ROGUE ONE is the only good nu-star wars. Or like SKY CAPTAIN… or PLAN NINE.

  7. There are so many reasons that this movie is completely unappealing to me.

    A partial list:

    1. This version of the character is just an obnoxious Spider-Man knockoff. He’s sucked since his first frame.

    2. The actor playing him is a toilet fire of a human being.

    3. The director’s last movie showed that he is the last person on earth who should be entrusted to make a movie with liberal amounts of both humor and CGI. Anybody who can fuck up IT that bad is on my shit list forever.

    4. The Snyderverse ended up being a toxic mistake I can’t wait to move on from.

    5. I would rather light my money on fire than give any of it to this iteration of Warner Bros., especially for another IP circle jerk.

    6. Seeing 70-year-old Michael Keaton throw on the rubber suit again to play second banana to fucking Ezra Miller just makes me sad

    I’m sure the movie is better than the sum of those parts (it would almost have to be) but I’m in no rush. I’ll see it someday when I know none of the corporate or creative personnel involved will make a dime off of me.

  8. The Ezra Miller of it all is keeping me away (plus, not a superhero movie guy in general). However, Keaton back as Batman is giving me all kinds of nostalgic feels that I wasn’t prepared for. I’m sure it’ll turn up on someone I know’s Plex server sooner than later if I decide to give in (but not give Miller/Warners any of my money. F those guys.)

  9. “For us, seeing Michael Keaton as Batman again is basically the same as Barry seeing his mom. He’s a cherished part of our past, it’s nice to see him again, to get a taste of what might have been, but it’s not right, it doesn’t work, it can’t last.”

    I think you nailed it with that line, Vern. I would not have gone to see this had it not been a chance to see Michael Keaton’s Batman on the big screen. I honestly never thought this movie was ever going to be released– not after throwing Batgirl out with the bathwater, and the debacle with Ezra Miller. And if folks choose not to see it because Ezra Miller is a bad person or WB is a bad studio or because they’re offended by some of those cameos they heard about– I get it. I do not disagree with you. But I am weak, and Michael Keaton’s Batman is a foundational core memory for me. It’s silly, but it’s true. To that end, like you said, I did enjoy seeing him again, even if it wasn’t the same.

    As for the rest of the movie, I’d heard it was the Worst Movie Ever, and just about every surprise cameo was spoiled for me by the internet. But I’ve seen every episode of the CW’s Flash series. I was born in the dark, molded by it. So I knew I could take whatever it threw at me. And, surprise– I thought it was pretty good! I was definitely into it for the first, let’s say, 3/4 of the runtime, and the last several minutes. I thought the dual Barry Allens were surprisingly effective. And I really liked Sasha Calle’s moody, rough-around-the-edges Supergirl.


    The climax needed work. I get that the movie’s very concept and theme paints itself into this corner, but the third act revolves around the superhero protagonist failing to save the day. They make a special point to show you the father and son Flash struggled/failed to save the first time, and then– he just ignores them in this timeline altogether! I really thought they were going to go somewhere else with that. The reveal of the Black Flash or whoever and wrap-up there felt rushed. The inclusion of the Chronobowl cameos felt gratuitous, and didn’t fit into the narrative. I’m not sure how to “fix” it so that the heroes can get some kind of victory and Barry still has to repair the timeline, but this version felt kind of unsatisfying. It might have worked with the original ending– where I’m told Michael Keaton and Supergirl would show up at the end– but this version just wipes them from existence after they lose over and over.

    Also, it’s just weird that they made it a point to focus on the can of tomatoes solution, and at no point does Barry try to reveal or capture the real killer. And knowing who it is in the comics, I don’t see how that person would be deterred by missing this one opportunity. I guess they were saving this for a sequel that will never be made.

    As for the CGI everyone hated– I understand. The Chronobowl stuff looks weird, though I suppose it’s at least partially on purpose. In other places, it felt like Ben Affleck’s chin was Photoshopped onto a stunt-Batman, and Ezra Miller was definitely, obviously deepfaked into a few shots. I rolled with it, but it’s a shame the conditions VFX houses have to work under.

  10. I’ll probably wait for streaming on this one, but I’m still surprised by how much it bombed. It seemed like trailers were everywhere, and they were at least somewhat effective. (By contrast, the trailers for Shazam 2 were just atrocious. Like, what was the basic hook for that sequel other than that there were different bad guys?).

    But I guess when the star of your movie spent a month terrorizing the good citizens of Hawaii, then your movie is going to be in trouble.

    There’s a part of me that enjoys the schadenfreude. The reality TV people who just took over WB are repeatedly getting kicked in the teeth. I know these movies were in production long before they showed up, but it’s nice to see them responsible for catching this shit as it rolls downhill.

    Unfortunately, this probably means that they’re just going to continue to destroy WB and all of its subsidiaries, including HBO and TCM.

  11. I’m gonna drop some blasphemy here and I hope you all can forgive me. The Burton BATMANs are excellent movies that were very important to me as a young film fan just starting to figure out that movies weren’t just something he enjoyed but a vital part of his very being. And I still enjoy them. They are almost certainly the best BATMAN movies around and will likely continue to be so for at least the next two incarnations. But while Keaton was solid in the role, I’m sorry to say that I just don’t find anything exceptional about his Batman after all these decades. He’s a great Bruce Wayne, different from any other interpretation but very psychologically believable given the character’s circumstances. But his Batman is merely functional. He just has to stand there and talk raspy. The costume does all the work. He’s a vital part of the mise en scene but in terms of a character and a performance there isn’t a lot of THERE there. So I’m not 100% certain that this nostalgia literally every other adult male from the later half of Gen X feels for him has as much to do with Keaton himself as it does with the fact that we were all 13 or 14 at the time and holy shit that’s Batman on the movie screen! And he’s driving the Batmobile! This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen! We’re nostalgic not for Keaton’s Batman but for a time in our lives when something as simple as a man wearing a rubber cape could captivate us so thoroughly. And as Vern so aptly noted, that feeling can’t be replicated. It was a moment in time, as fleeting as any, and even Warner Bros. with all its millions can’t bring it back for us. It’s cool that this seems to be a theme of the movie but I can’t help feeling that it is a little disengenuous to anchor your entire marketing campaign around something your script acknowledges is a pretty shitty idea. It’s like all those vigilante movies that want to show you how awesome it is to eradicate bad guys while lecturing you about how revenge is actually bad, mmmkay? I’m not judging anybody for having their heartstrings strummed by the sight of your childhood hero back in action. Maybe I am just a bit more defensive about who gets to put their grubby fingers in my warm and gooey center. Or maybe I’m just cynical. Either way, Keaton coming back always smelled wrong to me from the very start. I didn’t need the movie to spell it out for me.

  12. I can’t bring myself to watch this in the theatre because of complex mental health issues.

    Seriously, though, to borrow and stretch a phrase, “the Keaton of it all” is almost enough to overcome the “Ezra Miller of it all” and the “WB IP circle jerk of it all,” but not quite. It’s really the “franchise universe of it all” that does it in for me. Too much (and/or bad) CGI can make things feel visually weightless and stakeless, but universe-ification makes things feel conceptually and even spiritually weightless. Nothing means nothing. To MCU’s credit, they actually killed off there strongest lead heroes in more-or-less resonant, nuanced ways, and they’ve shown a willingness to actually let those deaths sit for a full four years, which might as well be a geological era when you consider how much our collective experience of cinema and pop culture has devolved over the last 10 years.

    All that said, Keaton is rad and makes just about anything he’s in worth watching, so, I expect this I’ll be fast-forwarding to his scenes in this film sometime in calendar 2023. Such is the state of streamified, franchise-ified entertainment in 2023. Was everything we lost worth it to see Keaton zip up and suit up to play the hits in this and then BEETLEJUICE? Probably not, as awesome as Keaton is, but I’m not not going to watch him play BATMAN again. Also, if BEETLEJUICE is genuinely inspired and delightful it may have all been worth it after all (but probably not).

  13. their not there, damnit

  14. All I’ll say about this is that, given Christopher Reeves’s beyond-the-grave participation, it’s a shame that they couldn’t get Eminem to do a closing-credits song recapping the plot the way Marvel did for VENOM.

  15. TIL that Daley & Goldstein were the script writers and originally tapped to direct.

    Considering the favorable reviews that the D&D film got and the absolute gem that Game Night was, now I’m wondering what this film would have been had they remained…

  16. I haven’t seen their D&D movie yet, but I keep hearing good things about it and really loved GAME NIGHT, so it’s pretty interesting that they are the same people who made VACATION, one of the most misguided combinations of unpleasant and unfunny edgelord shit and IP graverobbery that was ever thrown on our screens.

  17. Majestyk – I don’t think that’s blasphemous at all. And as much as I liked this movie, I’d rather they just have left him out of it. I am, however, cautiously optimistic for BEETLEJUICE 2. There’s a big question about how inspired Burton can ever be these days, but I miss his comedies so much, and that’s a world so worth revisiting. I’ve also seen promising quotes from Keaton about how important it was to both of them to rely as much as possible on analog FX and sets and not do it like a modern movie. There better be some stop motion shots.

  18. The Christopher Reeve inclusion doesn’t sit well with me either, but then if they’re doing all the Supermen and didn’t include him that would be worse. So it’s complicated but also they didn’t include Routh. And good they didn’t include Dean Cain.

  19. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER. I purposely avoided even implied spoilers about a couple of the big nerd moments which I’m sure other people have spoiled, but I didn’t want to participate in that. There’s one you can surely guess I would get a kick out of, but I want to say something about the final twist/surprise appearance before the credits. I think it’s a good joke but I especially love that they shot that scene knowing that (pending any AQUAMAN 2 reshoots, and whether or not you interpret the post-credits scene to mean Barry eventually straightened things out) it would be the final word on those characters in this universe. They changed the status quo to a really funny one that’s left up to the imagination. The end. I love it. Also I’ve heard that there’s a contingency misinterpreting it to mean that that actor will be playing that character in James Gunn’s DCU. Funny shit.

  20. I showed my three boys BEETLEJUICE for the first time this December holiday time, and every one of them loved it. “I’m just tryin’ to cut a deal here!”, “Looks like I’m next.” Almost six months later, and I still find myself saying “Oh, how I love that man of mine” when Beetlejuice is imitating Lydia. So much pure gold. Michael Keaton is the boomer we need but don’t deserve. Hope dies last.

  21. Put me down as one of the people who really liked, maybe even loved, D&D. I went in expecting it to be fine and came out loving the Pine and Rodriguez comedy duo.

  22. D&D was truly inspired; I was enormously (and very very pleasantly) surprised at how it wasn’t just a great, funny fantasy movie that works on its own and non-nerds can enjoy, but it also captured a lot of what’s lovely about role-playing games. Sure, they used one of the big D&D settings for the background stuff, but all the best shit was homegrown and riffing on mechanics and people playing off each other.
    What’s next, a good movie about legos?

  23. I really enjoyed this film. A lot has been covered above and in the review so will not go into details.

    About the Keaton older Batman, you can read it as being the same character from the Burton films, or you can read it as not. The DC multiverse is pretty much a case of many universes, some of which correspond to the look of other universes and the faces of the famous characters and some not, so they can mix and match actors and moods to shake it all up. That’s good and bad as you can get inventive or lazy.

    I think not going into Gotham, while frustrating, means you are not locked into the idea that this is definitely the same world as Burton’s. This could be a Batman who looks like the Batman of the Burton world and has the same technology. Yet the world can be read as different in other ways, in that it is not the insular world of the Burton films and has ties to other cities. It keeps it vague enough so that the end of this world might not be read as the end of the Burton Batman world. Then again, having the Burton Batman world eventually die is in keeping with the mood of those films.

    I like that it was vague enough that your could use your imagination a little in this regard. Also Clooney shows up in a world that is definitely not a Schumacher world. So its well done for me as nothing is fully locked in.

    As Keaton is my Batman and Batman Returns is my favourite Batman film, it was nice to see him back in the role. It’s not as strong of the Burton take visually or in the Batman character but it was nostalgic to see in a film I enjoyed. It would be like bringing back Eric Bana to Hulk role without Ang Lee in a multiverse movie. Not really the same but it would get my interest. So that is my take on it.

  24. I wasn’t thinking of it quite that literally. It doesn’t really matter whether you want to read this as the same timeline as the Burton movies or a separate one with a similar Bruce Wayne. Either way, the character is not the same when separated from Burton’s world.

  25. You mentioned the whole “Comic Book Movie Anti-Collateral Accords of 2013” and it got me thinking – maybe I was a little sociopath, but when I was a kid the whole appeal of Godzilla movies was seeing her stomp shit and kill tons of people. Frankly, the lack of collateral damage was a reason why I was disappointed in PACIFIC RIM, I want to see kaijus destroy cities full of screaming people, not fight robots in abandoned ruins.

    I guess what I want to say is that Zack Snyder should totally do a Godzilla movie

  26. “He’s a great Bruce Wayne, different from any other interpretation but very psychologically believable given the character’s circumstances. But his Batman is merely functional.”

    As a comics guy but not a superhero movie guy I must say: Bruce Wayne is more important than “Batman.” Batman was always just a rubber suit with doo dads strapped to it. But Keaton has been the only actor to make believe that someone would be broken enough to think that donning a rubber bat suit with doo dads on it is the best way to deal with trauma.

  27. I don’t know, Michael Keaton is absolutely the beer candidate here, but I think Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne is pretty great, and I love his ridiculous Batman voice. Keaton for all-around more likable, original, and charismatic personality (see THE OTHER GUYS inter alia), but Bale for best Wayne/Batman and Nolan Trilogy for Best Films (and I am not a Nolan-head, I haven’t even seen his last two films).

  28. *HEAVY SPOILERS* The first five minutes or so of this movie with the babies in the microwave (can’t believe I have to type that) was absolutely terrible and I was dreading that the whole movie would be like this. (Wait, didn’t Amber Heard date Muschietti after Elon Musk and said during the trial that people threatened to put her baby in a microwave? I just remembered that.) But then it settles into its own goofy groove of wacky hit-or-miss comedy and surprisingly solid action and spectacle, topped off with a truly effective tear-jerker ending, and yeah, I ended up loving it. Miller is great (especially as the 2nd Barry), Keaton and Calle are wonderful and in it just the right amount. The cameos are charming and the final one is kind of amazing, even though as people have stated above it kinda ruins the main plot and sorta leaves a bad taste in my mouth – they create a new Supergirl to basically make her a jobber to Zod, and kill off Batman, but then they may or may not reverse it? Just like how Spider-Man: No Way Home completely drops the ball and ends in a way that I sort of get the gist of (hero has to make a sacrifice to prevent the universe from imploding), but don’t get what actually happened (did the villains that we were asked to care for even die or not?) – The Flash weirdly throws a bone to people who felt Zod and Co. got a raw deal (if there are even any of these people) by having them succeed in their goal to save the Kryptonian People. But I guess The Flash made it so this didn’t happen? Is Barry’s mom still going to die, this time via the world engine? Is Batman now going to die sitting in his mansion instead of on the battlefield? Is Supergirl still stuck in that jail cell? I know the answer is “Don’t think too hard” but the whole movie is predicated on thinking about this stuff.

    I think what’s going to be the most off-putting thing about this movie for most people (besides Miller being persona non grata) is going to be the humor, which hey, at least isn’t the usual Marvel glib dialogue humor. It’s weird stoner humor that feels random and inexplicable – for all you IT Part 2 fans/masochists, this is the feature-length version of the “Angel of the Morning” scene, except I don’t know, it was actually funny this time. (“Dude….this bag LAUGHS!” is probably the strangest joke and the hardest I’ve laughed in a very long time.) I also seem to see alot of people not thinking Keaton was used appropriately, but I’d argue he’s used better here than he was in Batman Returns, and he has a cleaner and more satisfying arc than Han Solo got in The Force Awakens, right?

  29. Okay, why does everybody hate IT 2 so much? I thought it was pretty much equal to part 1, which was entertaining, but heavily flawed either (Every big scare was It just running towards the camera, Pennywise felt more like a Tim Burton character than actual nightmare fuel, completely random attempts at humor that at times felt out of place, etc). I mean, it’s no secret that the kids part of the story is always the more interesting one, but I can’t think of a more headscratching example of “It has everything we liked the last time, only that we hate it now”.

  30. I liked IT 2 better than IT 1, mostly because I hated IT 1 and because IT 2 was more fun and bonkers — bigger, less bland, more audaciously unhinged.

  31. I was the same but I barely remember either of them. I think the book is very uneven, some of King’s best writing in there but a lot of tedium too. Plus I’ve never got the clowns are scary thing.

  32. Mostly what people liked about the first one was the camaraderie of the kids, who were not in the second one. Bateau, they were replaced with a bunch of biggish name adults who neither gel as a collective nor provide interesting characterizations as individuals. The performances range from disinterested (McAvoy), to generic (Chastain), to hammy (the goon who played Eddie), to embarrassing (Mike). The only exception is Bill Hader, who is excellent as always but can’t carry the whole movie. The CGI is awful, the scare sequences obvious and ineffective, the comic relief horrendous, the climax mortifying. And it’s three hours long. It’s a soulless slab of nothing that just goes on and on. Which I guess makes Muschietti a perfect fit for DC.

  33. I don’t know what “bateau” means in this context. I meant “instead.”

  34. Oh shit, you are right! IT 2 does indeed run almost 3 hours. I thought you were exaggerating, but that I forgot about it is I guess another sign that I enjoyed it way more than most people did. (Also let’s be honest, McAvoy seems disinterested in pretty much everything he does.)

  35. Yeah don’t get me wrong, I’m with Skani – I totally prefer IT Chapter 2 over IT Chapter 1, while recognizing neither of them are particularly good (one can successfully argue, like Majestyk, that Chapter 2 is objectively worse). But it’s at least entertaining to watch something go off the rails so amusingly vs. the uninspired sleepwalk of Part 1. I’ve also never seen Mama, so color me presently surprised that in The Flash, Muschietti shows he can actually direct big comic book action scenes with scope and clarity, direct emotional heart-tugging moments that actually work, and yes, direct lots and lots of lots of dumb comedy bits that may or may not work for most people in the audience.

  36. I’m not against long running times but the length of IT CHAPTER 2 PARABELLUM combined with being told even by my friend who really wants me to watch it that it’s terrible has slowed me from pulling the trigger. Actually I was gonna watch it before THE FLASH and when I remembered the running time I switched to BLACK ADAM. But some of the “it’s bad but it’s crazy” talk here is encouraging me.

  37. It’s really not that crazy. There’s one inexplicable blip of a song choice that’ll make you think there’s something wrong with your TV for about four seconds but other than that it’s just not very good in a not very interesting way.

  38. I disliked IT 1, but loathed the second one, which outright torpedoes any attempt at horror with really lame humor, terrible CGI, and an overuse of Pennywise (the first one also had this, but CJ is entirely correct: It seems like every other ‘scare’ is the clown going for the camera); They were going for a spookablast, a la DRAG ME TO HELL, and missed the mark completely.
    It also didn’t do anything interesting visually, which is a crime when you think about the base material. Well, scratch that, I did like the it form with the orbs of light, that was weird in a way the rest of the movies never live up to again. I will say that it does have some strange choices. Not good choices, but pretty strange.

    I don’t quite hate the ITs, since I’d pretty much forgotten all about them by now; If I really hate something, I tend to hold a grudge. These ones don’t seem to deserve that much bile.

  39. I didn’t say IT 2 was good. It was dumber and more fun in its badness — like FREDDY’S DEAD meets a bad TV movie meets lots of stunt casting and some better Pennywise set pieces. Part 1 is just kind of there and this is peak STRANGER THINGS, so, just feels like such a cash grab — derivative of STRANGER THINGS being derivative of Stephen King stories from the 1980s and ANOES vibes … just a closed circuit human centipede of nostalgia and fan service. Whereas Part 2 is just goofy and bad has some more interesting visual moments and cheese. Not good, but I enjoyed myself.

  40. About halfway through the nearly 3-hour IT CHAPTER 2 I realized nothing of real consequence would happen until the last 20 minutes—there would be fakeouts and pretend importance—and I checked out.

    I never really understood why IT 1 became so revered, anyway. It was fine. I didn’t hate it. But I can’t say I loved it, either.

    The reliance on Keaton’s Batman to sell this movie turned me off. BATMAN ‘89 opening night remains one of my favorite moviegoing experiences—I can still feel the pent-up crowd going apeshit at the title displaying over the swell in Elfman’s score—but that’s a long time ago. Let it go.

  41. I never should’ve asked that question. Some of you must’ve seen a completely different movie, the way you hype its apparent crazy- and/or shittiness up like it’s this generation’s David Lynch’s DUNE, but seriously, it’s really just more of the same from part 1, except now with adult protagonists. I thought I would understand the hate for IT THE SECOND, but now I’m more confused than before.

  42. I’d forgotten about the Angel of the Morning bit, but upon being reminded of it, the following occurs to me;

    a) We’ve got another addition to the list of bits that last less than 10 seconds but people hate so much, or to be kinder is idiosyncratic enough, that it comes up every time the movie in question is discussed

    b) The Juice Newton version of Angel of the Morning was used “ironically” in at least three major films over a span of 20 years (CHARLIE’S ANGELS: HALF THROTTLE, DEADPOOL, IT PART DEUX). Just the funniest song ever! Maybe if BLACK ADAM had used Angel of the Morning rather than Baby Come Back the change to the hierarchy of the DCEU would have stuck.

  43. Sad to see this has apparently flopped as it’s a ton of fun.

    I’m guessing the bad box office is cos of Ezra Miller’s numerous run-ins with the law? Or because there’s a sense of it “not mattering” as the DCEU is now redundant?

    Anyway, nice to see Keaton again, and the wobbly CGI wasn’t too distracting until it was (shout out to saggy man-breasted PS3 cut scene Cavill).

    The cameos were…there.

    There’s moments where you can almost see the stapler marks from the reshoots and the endless studio interference but it still managed to entertain.

    Also, the post-credit scene actually got booed at my screening. That’s a first.

  44. Regarding the differing reactions to the two IT movies, I think we might be dealing with a books vs. movies issue. I think fondness for the book makes you like the first one more and the second one less. I suspect the opposite is true for those who never read or cared for the book. The first one is a good adaptation but not all that eventful as a standalone, while the second is an awful adaptation but offers more bang for your buck if you don’t give a shit about the story or characters.

  45. My contribution to the IT conversation is that I remember almost nothing from either part. But I remember EVERYTHING from the Tim Curry TV version. That includes my mom making me walk around with her after part one that first night as we went through the house closing and locking all the windows. She also made me do this when Bob showed up on Twin Peaks.

  46. Is Ezra Miller really well known enough outside the movie industry that their crimes would matter to the general public? Maybe I’m out of touch but my impression was Miller was not a household name which is what I figured WB was counting on when they proceeded with production after the Iceland choking video.

    Also since when does the public really take a moral stand against creatives? Louis CK still does sold out standup shows. I feel like audiences rejected Bennifer more.

    I’d love to be wrong because objecting to Miller would show general audiences do have a line.

  47. I think most people don’t even know who Ezra Miller is. He’s not an Oscar winning or nominated character actor, his two best known movies were one drama about a psycho teen that didn’t make a splash outside of the arthouse circles and a mildly successful teen drama that was only hot for one summer, then he had apparently a supporting role in those FANTASTIC BEAST movies that nobody likes and outside of that he was T. Flash in a few movies that only dedicated superhero movie nerds really care about. If you show random people a photo of him and ask which up and coming actor this is, they will probably ask “Is that this Timothy Chardonnay fella that everybody talks about? I don’t know.”

  48. Films don’t fail or succeed for any one reason. Here I’m sure Miller is a factor, both their relative anonymity and their crimes/allegations, and that they played the character in a film that already wasn’t really a success, but not the only one. (Also selling out a standup show, or even a full tour, takes significantly fewer people than it does to get a Blockbuster movie) I’m loath to admit that a significant portion of the audience sees films as partly an investment towards watching future films or streaming shows, but it’s getting harder and harder to deny, so the lame duck status of the current DCEU is probably a factor too.

    I also think the appeal to nostalgia was flawed. I think BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS are much better films than TOP GUN, but MAVERICK had this going for it; it’s the second TOP GUN thing ever of any real note. Batman has never been away since 1992, even outside of comics, we’ve had animated series, adjacent live action series, AAA video games and a further four actors playing the role in big budget films, to name only the most obvious and surface level works. Trying to get people nostalgic for specific design iterations of the Batmobile or whatever is kind of a stretch (plus JUSTICE LEAGUE (7-inch radio edit) already brought back the Danny Elfman theme). On paper you could say the same thing about Spider-Man, but those Maguire films appeal to the meme generation who are perhaps only just experiencing nostalgia for their own youth for the first time (plus the marketing was shrouded in mystery, plus it’s part of the MCU).

    Also, while in many ways the obvious comparison point is NO WAY HOME, it’s really more like ENDGAME except instead of going into several fairly popular movies, they go into one divisive one that’s now a decade old.

  49. I think the casual movie goers wouldn’t necessarily know about Ezra Miller. Anyone who’s interested enough in movies to read about them or seek information would know. And people who don’t care much about movies themselves but are online and are even slightly interested in pop culture/celebrity news or gossip knows.

  50. I think in the “people Dave Chappelle teases vs. people Dave Chappelle defends” generational/cultural divide, it’s pretty clear that Ezra Miller is coded as the kind of person Dave Chappelle would tease and not understand, while Louis C.K. quite literally falls on “the people Chappelle defends side.” Not that Chappelle literally has a thing to do with it, but there’s an implicit demographic/cultural analysis embedded in that observation that I think you can work out for yourself. Add to that the fact that Louis C.K. already had a very large fan-base and a self-financing/cut-out-the-middleman business model, and I think that’s the difference. Ultimately, I think these are both people who have never really owned up to their bullshit, and I think it’s a good thing when people draw a line and say that I’m not okay giving a mostly un-repentant creep and the handlers that shield/profit that creep my business. If they were repentant creeps it would be different. Not that I’m judging people who still watch it (like I said, I will eventually watch it or at least fast forward to the Keaton parts), but I’m nextra not judging people who don’t want to watch it b/c they think these guys are creeps.

  51. “nextra not judging” was “extra not judging.” Oops.

  52. Quick note that I don’t misgender Ezra Miller on purpose. They might be a criminal asshole who at least needs some really good therapy, but at least I try to respect someone’s preferred use of pronouns (even if I keep forgetting to use them).

  53. Yeah, second and third the opinion that most people not eyeball deep in cine-news or goss, wouldn’t know about the Miller controversy. 6 of my friends and colleagues recommended I see THE FLASH, of which 2 vaguely knew about Miller’s charming off-screen antics like choking, grooming and breaking and entering, but didn’t give a shit while the remaining 4’s familiarity of the actor extended to knowing he also played The Flash in JUSTICE LEAGUE, and all needed to be reminded he was also in the FANTASTIC BEASTS movie.

    Methinks the dismal box-office ratings is due more to the general apathy that greets and will greet every DCEU release until Gunn reboots it, cause why invest in a shared universe that’s about to collapse? Cavill, Gadot and Affleck aren’t returning and Momoa is going to be recast which will lead to AQUAMAN 2 getting the same chilly reception I suspect, even if it turns out to be insanely entertaining.

    Which brings me to THE FLASH, which I enjoyed but boy is it the right movie at the wrong time.

    Just as the Snyderverse is wrapping up it’s tent, it delivers it’s most entertaining installment yet. It’s the friend who announces he’s leaving town for good, just as he’s beginning to get interesting.

    I especially felt a pang in the 1st 30 mins, knowing this is the last we’ll be seeing of BatFleck, Wonder Gal and Alfred Irons , all so perfectly cast. I also like the fact that this opener also seems to exist in it’s own Metaverse where the DCEU has had stellar success building it’s own coherent Shared Universe and plays like the 3rd movie in a Phase 3 where we’ve had at least 3 Bats and Supes installments each, a couple of Justice League joints and a few WW and Aquaman movies behind it, where the JL is now some cohesive, Super Friends style crime fighting enterprise where Alfred has all members on Speed Dial in the event of a crisis.

    I swallowed all that Nostalgia Bait hook, line and sinker and loved the Keaton scenes although, I gotta say, some of the man’s line readings seemed…off? Like, I know he’s going for world weary but in some scenes comes across as almost catatonic. That BATMAN 1989 line regurgitated (“You want nuts? Let’s go nuts”) especially sounds like a man rudely awakened from an afternoon nap and then forced at gunpoint to deliver them. Reminded me of Harrison Ford saying he so hated being forced to do the voice over for the initial theatrical cut of BLADE RUNNER he gave it the flattest reading possible. In fact, it’s Affleck’s single scene as Bruce Wayne with Barry that carries more emotional heft.

    Ironically, in THE FLASH, a DC film delivers it’s most “Marvel-ly” installment yet. And by that I mean the early phases which mixed action, humor and emotion in the right doses and not the later ones that carpet-bombed you with content, shoved Charisma Vacuums as Viable Leads in your face, while sidelining/infantilizing the ones you actually liked and decided a barrage of jokes was a worthy substitute for actual story telling.

  54. I really disliked the movie because I found older Barry to be mildly annoying throughout and younger Barry to be unbearably annoying throughout. Seriously, the younger one was so non-stop loud, hyper, and fucking stoo-pid it was like watching the Jar Jar Binks show for 2+ hours. I couldn’t stand him.


    I also found the third act of the movie to be a really weird mess. Okay, so Barry learns the big lesson that you can’t change the past and, hard as it is you have to leave it the way it was. He takes the tomatoes, mom must die. But then just seconds later he unlearns that lesson and decides to change the past again by rearranging the grocery shelves so the security camera will pickup dad’s face. Oookay. Then back in the future Dad wins his appeal and gets out of jail, so then suddenly the movie seems to be saying actually sometimes you CAN change the past and not fuck up the present. But then, no no no, it turns out he’s fucked up the present again by erasing the Affleck version of Batman (and lord knows what else) and replacing him with the other cameo Batman at the very end. So what does that mean? Does he has to undo his interferences yet again so his father goes back to jail? Seems like a big question. How does the movie answer it? By having Barry smile stupidly as his tooth falls out, cue credits. Seriously, what a piece of shit.

    One other random part I need to mention is the hilariously stupid scene where older Barry gets his powers back. We know he originally got his powers in a fluke accident where lightning struck him through a particular array of chemicals. We’re talkin one in a billion chance right? So I had to laugh when Barry goes to recreate that in the bat cave by flying a kite in a thunderstorm, and lining up a shelf with … whatever chemicals Batman has laying around I guess? And it worked?! Wow.

    Also, can anyone tell me why Keaton Batman knows exactly how time and time travel work?

  55. Pac, it’s in a lot of things too but I have a vivid memory of “Baby, Come Back” being the “Hey, a song, how do you like that, ha ha” in Transformers 1, because after I left the theater this guy who totally sucks that I knew was singing it all bemusedly to his girlfriend and I was like, yo this fucking sucks, get me the fuck out of here. That Transformers 1 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack must have been the last happy moment for the weird type of guy (or person of any gender) who enjoys felt-outdated-at-the-time-tough-but-not-too-tough soundtrack rock, a genre can start me to feel really sad about people losing out on the things the money-counters eventually realized nobody really liked in the world, or at least not anymore.

  56. Spoilers.

    Even though I didn’t like the movie I’m annoyed that I, too, was spoiled by an unlabeled spoiler. This wasn’t even a random tweet, it was a douche bag writer for Yahoo. The headline was something like “Reactions to Flash Are Mixed,” with no spoiler warning. Then, right in the first paragraph this douche writes “Fanboys might be happy because they finally get to see [So-and-so] play [So-and-so],” totally spoiling one of the alternate world glimpses from the end (not Chris Reeve, the other one Vern mentions briefly in his review). So annoying, that should be a capital offense.

    BTW, I don’t get how anyone could be offended by that very short, benign Reeve shot. If they went full Tarkin and had him playing full scenes with dialogue, sure, I’d get the ethics debate. But this was so short and simple they could have just as easily have used archive footage from the Donner movie, so what’s the difference?

  57. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS (I think the cat is very much out of the bag now but just to be safe)

    Well…they didn’t use archive footage, and they did create a sequence featuring a dead-for-almost-two-decades actor out of whole cloth using CGI, that is kind of the point. And, yes, they could have used archive footage, and I’m pretty sure that would have been a whole lot cheaper and easier, even if they were to composite him in the same frame as archive footage of Helen Slater (which, I suppose, would somewhat raise the same moral questions). I think doing things in CG is so ingrained into these megabudget productions by this point that it’s simply not considered whether it should be done another way, even if it’s way more expensive, isn’t going to look good, or indeed, potentially crosses certain moral lines.

    I’m not sure where I stand on it. I think I thought it was kind of cool when I saw ROGUE ONE some hundred odd years ago, but I wasn’t thinking about anything wider then (and Christopher Reeve and George Reeves do hit differently from Peter Cushing, fairly on not). There was one recent film I can’t really talk about because it’s a spoiler, but it resurrected a dead actor in a way I felt very much crossed a line. And in the case of that film, yes their relatives did sign off on it and gave their blessing, but noted that they “weren’t quite ready” to see their bereaved brought back to life after they attended the premier. The actor in question (or to be more precise one of their characters) was also a major plot point in the film, and I felt CG resurrection was the last in a series of bad and tasteless decisions. I don’t feel the same way about the cameos here, but I understand where the comments are coming from. In both cases, the actors don’t talk though, so maybe that’s where Hollywood has decided the line is. Maybe “Paul Newman”’s cameo in CARS 3 is where they think things went too far.

    I think sometimes Hollywood decides something is going to be a thing, irrespective of whether the audience wants it or not, and even if the feedback isn’t great. I certainly felt for years that they had decided “de-aging” is going to be a thing, even though there didn’t seem to be any clear enthusiasm for it from audiences, nor any great impact on ticket sales. But eventually we did get THE IRISHMAN, and I haven’t seen it but it seems a lot of people, such as Randall from the motion picture CLERKS III, did enjoy Young Luke in THE MANDALORIAN. Of course Mark Hamill, De Niro etc are all around to say “why yes I would like to look 40 years younger” so it’s not quite the same, but maybe someday there will be something that makes us all glad the “CGI’d dead guy” movement was started. As far as I can tell there’s been no news on the fourth James Dean film that was promised/threatened a few years ago (or maybe it would have been part of the Extended Deanverse, along with those cameos he made in a couple of films from the MartinLewisVerse)

    I remember there was some controversy around 2005 when a Volkswagen Commercial edited Gene Kelly’s most famous scene from SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN to make it look like he was breakdancing and shit, and then a couple of years later one featuring British comedian Bob Monkhouse warning against the dangers of the disease that had killed him (prostate cancer) just a few years prior, so this debate has been around for a while.

    As for what CJ coined “FAMILY GUY Thinking”, yeah that happens (including to FAMILY GUY, or maybe that’s more “SOUTH PARK Thinking”), and there’s probably a fair bit of it here, but it kind of goes both ways doesn’t it? You notice how quite often these days there’ll be a quick soundbite sentence to describe a movie that has been formulated by the marketing department, but that everyone regurgitates as if it’s their own thought, like how everyone praised THE BATMAN for “focusing on the detective elements” after being told it would do exactly that since back when it was still going to be an Affleck joint? Or how MUTANT MAYHEM is going to feature the Ninja Turtles “finally acting like teenagers”? Or, my forever favourite, how ANT MAN AND THE WASP was a “palate cleanser”? (How can you possibly get over your INFINITY WAR ending-induced funk? Get some air? Pet a horse? Watch one of the upbeat films or TV shows made in the prior 120 years? No, you fool, only Marvel can relieve you of your Marvel-related misery!) If those catch on, it’s not surprising the odd “ghoulish” or whatever gets through.

  58. Now I have to think of that guy from back in the days, who coincidentally was in a bunch of the same message boards and always kept saying how “KILL BILL 1 was extremely violent, but KILL BILL 2 hits where it really hurts: The characters’ hearts!” as if this was his own opinion, but it was actually something that Tarantino said in an interview.

    The whole “resurrecting dead actors” debate has been going on for so long, ever since Fred Astaire danced with a vacuum cleaner and Marylin Monroe praised herbed butter in a commercial. Every few years it comes up again. At one point after FORREST GUMP, someone had concrete plans to make a new Bruce Lee movie and some guy from Pixar said in an interview when that topic came up: “Of course we could digitally resurrect all those Hollywood icons but who is gonna play them?”

    Don’t know if people really cared about the moral implications of DEAD MEN DON’T WEAR PLAID, considering that it really just used stock footage, although I guess none of the actors were technically available to give their okay to have their performances recontextualized in a Steve Martin comedy. We already had “Orson Welles” in SKY CAPTAIN and “Marlon Brando” in SUPERMAN RETURNS, “Peter Cushing” in ROGUE ONE and of course whoever is appearing in THE FLASH.

    Honestly: At this point I say Hollywood should go for it. Give us a movie where Humphrey Bogart, Grace Kelly and Chadwick Boseman try to stop Vincent Price and his right-hand man Rutger Hauer from nuking the White House. John Belushi is the funny sidekick. Sidney Poitier is their boss. Groucho Marx has a cameo as the shady weapon trader who has a long, complicated history with Bogey and not just helps them to track down the villains, but also shows up with a private army in the last minute to safe their asses. Just do it, Hollywood. See if you can make it work and deliver a product that the audience wants to see. Either way everybody will most likely shut the fuck up about it, once all the What-ifs have been answered.

  59. Sorry to be THAT guy, CJ, but it was Laurence Olivier resurrected via archived footage in SKY CAPTAIN. Not Orson Welles.

    Yeah, don’t see the fuss here except on the part of nimrods with way too much time on their hands not to mention way too long a pole wedged up their ass.

    Outrage over a 30 second CGI-ed shot of a long dead actor just staring out into the horizon is a step away from foaming at the mouth if, in the upcoming Indy 5, Harrison Ford gazes wistfully at a framed photo of Sean Connery.

    Archived footage, CGI-ed…who gives a fuck, as long as you obtained permission from their estate and treated the “cameos” with respect and not have them hawk an energy drink or some shit.

    James Earl Jones has licensed the use of his voice to Lucasfilm and apparently the Darth Vader voice in OBI WAN KENOBI was AI generated using his voice sample. In the event of the great Mr Jones shuffling off these mortal coils, these idiots are gonna cry “Ghoulish” the moment they hear the next Vader speaking in his majestic baritone.

  60. Oh wow, they used Brando in SUPERMAN RETURNS? I totally forgot that. Was anybody mad about it? This is funny, to have such a direct comparison. Cushing in ROGUE ONE did in fact make people mad, although I hear way more of it now then when it was released.

  61. If I remember right, the nerds were quite excited to see new footage of Brando as Superdad.

  62. Vern – if I remember correctly everyone on the internet thought it was “neat” that they re-used Brando in Superman Returns – as far as I know nobody cried “ghoulish” or had moral issues with it; everyone just thought it was cool they used him as connective tissue back to the original Reeve movies, kinda like keeping the theme song around. (I mean, it would have been better if they had Spacey act anything like Hackman, or had Bosworth act anything like Kidder, but that’s another topic). Then again I THINK they just used some unused Brando dialogue from the Donner Cut as a voiceover and you didn’t actually see CGI Brando? Or maybe I’m wrong, who knows.

    On a related note, Pacman’s comment about the repeated use of “Angel of the Morning” reminds me that The Flash is the fourth movie I’ve coincidentally seen in the last few weeks that gets mileage from slavishly recreating sets from a previous movie (I randomly saw Prometheus, The Thing Prequel, and 2010: The Year We Make Contact all recently – I’m surprised I didn’t just happen to watch Doctor Sleep as well). And yeah, as Vern said it’s kinda odd to bring back Burton’s Batman without ever seeing Burton’s Gotham. I assumed we’d at least get some CGI-assisted flyover shot, or some rotary phone/Tommygun/Zoot Suit business thrown in there. Instead we get a pretty good recreation of the Batcave and…Bruce’s Kitchen(!?!) which was not what I was expecting at all but did make me smile.

    And yeah, I’m sure nobody’s thinking about this too hard, but I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be Burton’s Batman, not just some other Bruce Wayne who looks like Keaton, since he kept The Joker’s bag that laughs and all. Which makes it even weirder that I guess *SPOILER* this movie states Burton’s Gotham and his entire universe just gets destroyed by the World Engine at the end? I was never one of those people who got too mad about Batgirl getting cancelled, but I think seeing Keaton again (this time with JK Simmons’ Gordon instead of CGI Pat Hingle) would have been nice, instead of a pretty definitive defeat being the last time we’ll see him.

  63. IIRC they used footage and audio Brando shot that they decided not to pay for in Superman II. They paid the Brando estate to use the footage but didn’t create anything out of whole cloth. So it was more unearthing a lost performance.

  64. I’m curious to see Keaton play Batman again, but just looking at the trailer comfirms what made him special is Burton and Gotham. Seeing him run around in a desert kicking dudes…eh.

    But I’ll clap back on the acting, Keaton was so good in the part. He’s not somewhat goofy like Bale. He knew the correct way to play the character by cutting out as much dialogue as Batman as he could. And look at his first scene where he says “I’m Batman.” Maybe it’s because it was first, but that’s simply iconic…the way he says it, the madness in his eyes there, everything.

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