With Justice League officially upon the world, there is one aspect of the film that I think is much more important than most people will realize: Ezra Miller’s The Flash. Not only is he a great source of comic relief, but with his unique power set, he is also one of the most important pieces of the future of the DCEU.
In the comics, Barry Allen is more than just fast. He’s clever, brash, and incredibly powerful. He’s not invulnerable or incredibly strong, but with the speed force at his fingertips and beneath his feet, he has the potential to change the future – literally.
We already know that The Flash solo film will be Flashpoint. For the uninitiated, the 2011 comics storyline saw Barry Allen running back in time, preventing the death of his mother and rewriting the entire timeline in the process. Instead of Bruce Wayne’s parents dying in the alley, he was killed, with his father taking on the mantle of the Batman and his mother’s mind breaking, turning her into the joker. The Amazons and Atlanteans made a truce which was then broken, throwing the world into war and chaos. To make matters worse, Superman didn’t land in Kansas, his ship dropped in the middle of Metropolis with the force of a nuclear bomb, completely leveling the city. He was quickly apprehended and detained by the government, meaning this new, deranged world doesn’t have the man of steel as a beacon of hope. The Flash has his family back, but he finds himself trapped in an alternate timeline without a connection to the speedforce.
While one of the highlights of the Flashpoint storyline is seeing these alternate versions of beloved characters, at its center is Barry. His mother didn’t die and he didn’t get hit by a bolt of lightning. His connection to the speed force is gone and he is no longer a hero. So begins his journey of figuring out exactly what is going on and how he can restore the balance of things.
A Flashpoint movie would essentially be Justice League 1.5. It wouldn’t be a true follow-up, but all of your favorite heroes would be present and accounted for in some form. The problem is that Warner Bros. apparently wants to use the movie to focus more on the character of Batman. This is a bad idea, mainly because it’s not Thomas Wayne’s story, it’s Barry’s.
Batman can’t be the main star of the DCEU, especially if we’re about to swap Ben Affleck for Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s a fantastic character, but there are more relatable heroes that we haven’t seen on the silver screen.
Justice League turned the scarlet speedster into the film’s central source of comic relief, but that doesn’t do the character justice. The CW series is a more faithful representation of both the man and the hero, but it dumbed him down just a bit to make room for serialized excitement.
What Flashpoint can do is give us a Barry Allen who is, first and foremost, a brilliant scientist. There’s a reason he is so suited to his powers, and that’s because he understands the science behind them and can exploit them in ways others wouldn’t be able to. His brilliant mind and astute problem-solving skills allow him to use his heightened cognition – further improved by the speed force, which allows him to think as fast as he can run – to tackle any problem that happens to cross his path, regardless of how bizarre it is.
So far in the DCEU we’ve seen an invincible man fly and lift heavy things, Ben Affleck dressed as a bat, a heroic amazon leave her home and strive to make the world a better place, and a motley crew of outlaws fighting a magical belly dancer. Justice League introduced new characters but it didn’t do much more than that.
Barry Allen isn’t a god. He isn’t an incredibly wealthy detective. He’s not half machine. He’s one of the more human characters in the DC universe, and one that is ripe for exploration. If the DCEU continues to chug along after the middling success of Justice League and we actually do get to sit in a theatre and watch a proper adaptation of Flashpoint (the CW’s version was flashpoint in name only), audiences will not only get to see a very different side of characters like Aqua man and Wonder woman, but they will also see why the Barry Allen version of the Flash is the one that has endured.
To me, he is the most important takeaway from Justice League. Don’t waste his solo movie fleshing out the Thomas Wayne Batman, a character that will be gone after two hours of screen time, use the time to explore Barry, the death of his mother, and the twisted, dark relationship he has with the Reverse Flash.
Wonder Woman was such a breath of fresh air because it knew what it wanted to accomplish. It wasn’t setting up seven more DC heroes, it was introducing audiences to Diana in a concrete, human way. She’s not just a demigod, she’s also very much human, and someone who wants to see the best in everyone. Barry is intrinsically human, thrust into the world of superheroes when his powers literally hit him.
DC needs to realize that they have a plethora of other heroes at their disposal. Ones that audiences will flock to the theatres to see. The Flash is that hero, and DC needs to shine a light on the scarlet speedster and his fast feet.