SPOILERS are ahead for Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Ezra Miller has donned the name of The Flash for the past seven years, playing roles in three DCEU movies and appearing in the Arrow portion of the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" TV crossover. Yet, it’s felt as if Warner Bros has been running around in circles with the hero in its hands, without much to give the beloved comic book character... that is, until the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Having now seen it, I'm finally excited about the big-screen version of Flash, and it’s about time!
This past week, HBO Max released the long-awaited director’s cut of the 2017 DC film Justice League. This is a 4-hour film that delivers the epic superhero team-up tale Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice filmmaker Zack Snyder had intended to deliver before he had to step away and Warner Bros handed the keys over to Joss Whedon to get the film ready in time for its release date. Before viewing the Justice League arc intended for Ezra Miller’s Flash, I was unsure I even wanted to see Warner Bros continue exploring the character with Andy Muschietti’s Flash film, but my mind is changing. Let’s discuss it:
Why I Didn’t Like The Flash In Joss Whedon’s Justice League
Going back to 2017, I was cautiously optimistic about the state of the DCEU at the time. I had fallen in love with Henry Cavill’s Superman in Man of Steel and had held some admiration for the vision of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, give or take a few messy issues. When the theatrical cut of Justice League came out, I wasn’t particularly expecting a masterpiece given what I’d heard, but at least there would be more Cavill, Batfleck, Wonder Woman and finally a real role for The Flash.
What I got out of The Flash’s first real outing in the DCEU was a parody of himself. It played too much into the ‘younger hero who is just happy to be here’ element, and so many of his lines felt like out of place jokes shoved in to make the quota for humor in the studio superhero team-up movie. It almost felt like Flash didn’t belong there and I still did not understand the vision for Barry Allen in this universe, because it barely existed. To this day, this Justice League Flash line haunts me: “Wow, it’s like a cave… like a bat cave.”
Zack Snyder’s Justice League Gives The Flash A Great Emotional Arc
Moving forward to my viewing of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, what surprised me the most about Ezra Miller’s Flash in the director’s cut is how much heart was given to the character after all. The Snyder Cut really provides audiences a fleshed-out perspective of Barry Allen, and by the end of the film, he’s a major highlight. Maybe it’s because his character, along with Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, are so different from the Joss Whedon film? Either way, this is what I wanted from the DCEU introduction. Barry Allen still has the quips and the humor, but above all else, Zack Snyder’s film gave us a reason to care about the speedster too.
The Snyder Cut balances a number of really intriguing elements about Barry Allen. For one, there’s the introduction of his relationship with his father, Henry Allen, who is wrongly imprisoned for the murder of Barry's mother. The arc of the movie really focused on Barry accepting that he cannot live in the past, and he has to embrace where he’s been, where he is and where he is going in order to be the hero he is meant to be. And then there is his relationship with his Flash mantle itself. The way Flash really respected his Justice League teammates and was willing to risk it all for their mission felt powerful and wholesome, and grounded a larger-than-life movie mainly centering on gods among men.
The Flash’s Powers Are Absolutely Epic In The Snyder Cut
Many of us who are fans of The Flash character have grown to love the adaptation of the character on The CW played by Grant Gustin. Even though the TV version is very much through the lens of a network drama, Gustin has made it tough to latch onto another Barry Allen. At this point, it would be unfair to compare the two since we have seven seasons of a show versus one movie and a few small appearances, but I will say that Zack Snyder’s Justice League made the case for a big screen Flash that the 2017 version was weaker on with its vision of Flash’s powers.
I was especially in awe of how Zack Snyder used his slow motion trademark to illustrate how Barry Allen sees the world when he is running fast. It paired really well when it came to Barry saving Iris West from her car crash and during the finale of Zack Snyder's Justice League when he turns back time for a moment to save the world from Darkseid and the Earth-shattering Mother Boxes. It was a stunning display of what The Flash movie could do with Barry’s speed powers looking ahead to more DCEU appearances, which I conversely couldn’t care less about back in 2017.
The Snyder Cut Also Teases A Big Future For The Hero
As I touched on my last point, I will note that technically the Snyder Cut is not canon in Warner Bros’ DCEU. Even so, the HBO Max release is more successful in teasing an intriguing future for Barry Allen that was set to be deeply important to the comic book universe. The Flash is featured in the Epilogue Knightmare sequence as one of the few surviving JL members who intends to go back in time to mend some of the hellish future events we see in the sequence. It wraps up the Flash’s cameo in BvS where he is seen telling Ben Affleck’s Batman that Lois is the key. It sets up the use of his time travel powers and is important in the framework of Snyder’s plans for the Justice League trilogy.
Even though it seems unlikely that the SnyderVerse will continue with this timeline, Zack Snyder’s Justice League did do a fantastic job of making me excited about Ezra Miller’s Flash character in the DCEU. Moving forward, we'll likely be seeing an altered vision as the actor is getting ready to film his standalone movie set to come out on November 4, 2022. Even so, I have the Snyder Cut movement to thank for bringing us the intended introduction for The Flash in Justice League on HBO Max.