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Flash, The (3D/IMAX in some cinemas)


Stars: Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, Ron Livingston, Temuera Morrison, Maribel Verdu, Kiersey Clemons. Guest appearances: Jeremy Irons, Gal Gadot, George Clooney, Nicolas Cage. Archive footage: Christopher Reeve, Helen Slater

Director: Andy Muschietti

This fresh offshoot from the Justice League series gets an A for originality and invention, but a B for execution and storytelling, with things getting pretty muddled towards the end.

A junior member of the League who can move at phenomenally high speeds, Barry Allen (Miller), alias The Flash, confesses to us at the beginning that 'I've come to accept that I'm the janitor of the Justice League'. But, after the obligatory action sequence at the start, this is not quite the path that director Muschietti intends to take.

The plot is about grief, loss and despair, with Barry, consoled by his senior partner, Batman (Affleck), desperate to reverse his mother's death at the hands of an intruder, for which his father (Livingston) has been unjustly arraigned.

Travelling back to his youth, Barry plays havoc with the space-time continuum, becoming entangled with his younger self, and unleashing the power-hungry Zod (Shannon), one of Superman's original foes, without a Superman in sight.

Worse still, the powers between Barry and his younger self become reversed, leaving The Flash with no way of returning to present day.

Learning that Batman, long retired, still lives in the city, the siblings seek him out, soon encountering the original Batman (Keaton), now a shambling echo of the past.

One of the film's problems, aside from its lack of focus, is that Miller has a slightly alienating personality, so that two of him become something of a trial, notwithstanding the fact that it's tough to know which is which when they don their superhero helmets, as we hurtle towards numerous planet-smashing endings.

David Quinlan

USA 2023. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Company 3 .
144 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 13 Jun 2023