Following The Flash’s first showing at CinemaCon, critics shared some strong reactions to the DCU’s upcoming theatrical entry in their early reviews.
After half a decade of delays and plenty of behind-the-scenes controversy, The Flash is finally set to make its theatrical debut this summer.
Test screenings generated a lot of mixed reactions from early viewers during its development, though of late many have praised it for being one of the best movies DC has ever made.
Some of the test scores have even been on the same level as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, which is considered one of the best superhero narratives of the 21st century. It’s safe to say that expectations are high ahead of The Flash’s debut.
Critics Praise The Flash Movie (First Reviews)
Warner Bros. delivered the first screening of DC Studios’ The Flash at CinemaCon 2023, and critics who saw it shared their initial reactions to the new movie.
Fandango’s Erik Davis called the film “tremendous” and praised it as “one of the best superhero movies ever made”, leaving the film “in tears:”
“DC’s ‘The Flash’ is TREMENDOUS! Forget DC, it is without a doubt among the best superhero films ever made. An all-timer. Inventive storytelling, FANTASTIC action sequences, great cast. SO MANY nerdy details. I’m in tears at the end. Everything you want from a superhero film & more”
ComicBook.com Brandon Davis had high praise for the new DC movie, noting how well the “two Barry Allen dynamic” was done:
“Damn, ‘The Flash’ is good! It’s super inventive both visually and in concept. The two Barry Allen dynamic is insanely well done. Emotions hit me hard, surprises solid, and made me want to watch it again and again.” really looking forward to seeing how they follow up. Well done.”
Variety’s Scott Mantz sees The Flash as “one of DC’s best movies”, specifically noting the impressive performances of Ezra Miller and Michael Keaton:
“‘The Flash’ is amazing! One of the best DC movies ever, a perfect combination of action, heart and humor! So many amazing and relaxing moments that DC fans will love! EZRA MILLER is excellent (two times, actually!) AND MICHAEL KEATON still has it!”
Collider’s Steven Weintraub noted that Miller was “sooooo good in this movie”, and thanked director Andy Muschietti for doing “something special”:
“‘The Flash’ is fantastic. I know Ezra Miller has made a lot of mistakes, but they are so good in this movie. I loved Keaton, the action, the humor and the emotion. Andy Muschietti has created something special. Thumbs up. WB no I won’t show the post-credits scenes.”
Umberto González of The Wrap ranked The Flash “the BEST DC movie of the last 30 years” outside of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, placing it alongside Christopher Reeves’ first Superman film and Michael Keaton’s original Batman movie:
“BELIEVE THE HYPE! Christopher Nolan movies aside, ‘The Flash’ is the BEST DC movie of the last 30 years that belongs in the same conversation as ‘SUPERMAN’ 78 and ‘BATMAN’ 89. The movie breaks incredible new ground in superhero cinema and honors the DC tradition of years past.”
Screen Rant’s Rob Keyes teased that fans are going to see “some things in [The Flash] that you won’t believe,” extolling the way it ties together the old DCEU with the soon-to-be-starting new franchise:
“just watched ‘The Flash’ at CinemaCon. It has some stuff you won’t believe and it shows a lot more of Barry Allen’s powers. In fact, it’s one of DC’s best and it fits very well as a bridge story between the old and the The new DCEU franchises is also the funniest DC movie ever.”
SlashFilm’s Jenna Busch called The Flash “pretty cool” and specifically noted how much she missed Michael Keaton’s Batman, who also had high praise for Sasha Calle as Supergirl:
“‘The Flash’ is great, and now it makes sense to me why DC didn’t drop this one. Michael Keaton is… chef’s kiss. I didn’t realize how much I needed Keaton’s Batman in my life again “Some really emotional moments here. Sasha Calle is amazing, I want to see more of her!”
Daniel Howat of Next Best Pictures praised The Flash for being “massively entertaining”, noting its use of the Multiverse and ranking it among the best superhero movies ever:
“‘The Flash’ is wildly entertaining! Extraordinarily funny, but still has a lot of emotional stakes. It’s one of the best multiverse movies out there. Lots of fun surprises. A genuinely excellent superhero movie, one of the best in a long time! Very, very satisfying.”
Jeff Sneider of The Ankler had mixed feelings about the film, calling the first hour “pretty fantastic” and describing the last hour as “MOSTLY terrible”:
“‘THE FLASH:’ The first hour is pretty fantastic. It’s pitch-perfect. Ezra is great. Heroic. Funny. Emotional. The last hour is MOSTLY terrible. Just a total disaster that will leave you wondering, ‘What the hell is going on?’ ?” Fanservice and the DC villain problem strikes again. Mixed bag overall.”
Andrew Salazar of Discussing Film praised Andy Muschietti for capturing the essence of what many wanted in a Flash movie, but also derided some “weird decisions” both in terms of story and technical aspects:
“‘The Flash’ manages to deliver glorious thrills. Andy Muschietti captures what many of us have always dreamed of for a Flash cinematic story. But there are also a lot of weird decisions. Some story-related and some technical. quite ok sometimes.
Salazar went on to say that the general public will enjoy The Flash along with longtime DC fans:
“This isn’t one of the greatest superhero movies of our time nor a dumpster burning down, which it easily could have been! My prediction: The general public will totally enjoy this. Longtime DC fans will go too very happy. It’s designed for that experience.”
Collider’s Perri Nemiroff posted an extensive review of the film, noting how much she enjoyed “how the narrative challenges Barry to confront who he is” and who he wants to become.
Although she didn’t see it as perfect, she congratulated Andy Muschietti on “yet another winner” and confirmed that she was looking forward to seeing the film a second time:
“I caught an unfinished cut of ‘The Flash’ and tried it quite a bit! Especially how the narrative challenges Barry to confront who he is, who he might have become, and how one is influenced by the people in (or not in) their life.
It’s a successful mix of heartfelt coming-of-age components, stellar action (I really loved the style of Flash’s powers and the creativity in those scenes), and lots of BIG laughs. The comic timing and delivery are on point.
It’s a lot of film and there were moments where I could feel it collapsing under the pressure of the mechanics of the concept and the themes it explores, but for the most part, it moves well, looks good, exudes enthusiasm for the characters. and story it is telling, and it left me wanting to see it again. Yet another winner for Andy Muschietti.”
Will The Flash Land With Fans?
While Ezra Miller seems to deliver a solid performance in his long-awaited first solo DC movie, these reviews heavily highlight Michael Keaton’s efforts to return as Batman and Sasha Calle’s debut as Supergirl.
Director Andy Muschietti also gets his fair share of praise for his directorial work, which is particularly exciting considering the amount of exciting information he’s shared about his making and making of The Flash.
Now the only question remains how fans will react to DC’s latest efforts.
If Top Gun: Maverick star Tom Cruise is to be believed, viewers are in for one of the best DC movies in quite some time, coming from someone who hasn’t entered the world of superhero movies as an actor.
And while it’s still a mystery how the general public will react, the recently released images of Michael Keaton and Sasha Calle should be encouraging as the DCU looks to get back on track before the shift to Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters.
The Flash will hit theaters on June 16.