Is ‘The Flash’ Actually “One of the Greatest Superhero Movies Ever Made”?

The first reactions to Ezra Miller's upcoming superhero film The Flash are highly effusive.

The first reactions to Ezra Miller’s upcoming superhero film The Flash are highly effusive.Courtesy of Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Some critics who saw the movie, which stars the embattled actor Ezra Miller, at CinemaCon last night are echoing James Gunn’s hyperbole about it.

Ezra Miller has repeatedly been accused of bad behavior, but there was little chance that DC’s The Flash might be shelved. Warner Bros brass and new DC film head James Gunn have effusively praised the $200 million superhero epic, which was extensively delayed after its star was arrested multiple times. Gunn even called it “one of the greatest superhero movies ever made,” and Hollywood President Tom Cruise got on the bandwagon. Gunn has also said that Miller “is completely committed to their recovery,” and the movie has zoomed towards its June 16 release date with buzzy trailers. Last night, Warner Bros. Pictures gave the film a surprise world premiere at CinemaCon— and the reviews have been largely effusive.

The Flash stars Miller as Barry Allen, whom they portray in multiple timelines; Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck reprising their roles as Batman; Sasha Calle as Supergirl; and Michael Shannon returning as General Zod. In his interview at CinemaCon, director Andy Muschietti revealed that his initial edit of the film was roughly four hours long, and teased the possibility of releasing the full cut in the future.

Film critic Scott Menzel praised Miller’s performance specifically, as well as Michael Keaton and Sasha Calle, writing, “The Flash is hands down one of the best superhero films of all time.” Discussing Film’s Joe Aranda praised both the movie’s “over the top action sequences” and its emotional center. Cinemablend Eric Eisenberg called the movie “an absolute blast from end to end.” In one particularly intriguing reaction, Gizmodo’s Germain Lussier called The Flash, “Back to the Future meets Spider-Man: No Way Home with all the humor & heart of the former and action and surprises of the latter.”

Vanity Fair writer Jordan Hoffman took a more measured approach, writing that the film is  “far more madcap” than expected, but that some of the reviews on social media were overblown. Bleeding Cool’s Kaitlyn Booth criticized the film’s pacing and emphasis on fan service, writing, “It’s another mid-tier DC movie that should have been better.”

In August 2022, Miller met with Warner Bros. leadership to figure out a way to keep The Flash on track at a time when the studio clearly needed a big DC event film on the calendar. A video shared online in April 2020 showed Miller choking a woman at a a bar in Iceland bar, they have allegedly kept young children on a property with “unattended guns,” and they were arrested for second-degree assault and disorderly conduct in two separate incidents in Hawaii.  In August 2022, Miller announced that they were in treatment for “complex mental health issues.”

The Flash is one of three DC films due out before the end of 2023, as the studio attempts to bounce back from the mixed commercial and critical reaction to Black Adam and this year’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and tee audiences up for the James Gunn era that’s coming.

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