The Fastest Man Alive is heading to streaming a lot quicker than you might have expected.

In one week, The Flash will make its debut at home for Max subscribers. The film, which spent years in development, underwent several massive changes of creative direction, got pushed back multiple times because of the Covid pandemic, and then endured endless negative publicity because of off-screen controversies involving its star, did not exactly have an easy journey to the screen. Once it was there, it became one of the bigger flops of 2023; to date it has grossed only $268 million worldwide against a reported budget of some $200 million.

But I always say that when a movie struggles to find an audience in theaters, that means there are way more potential viewers who can discover it at home. And I suspect when people finally get around to watching The Flash they’ll find it was ... actually not a bad movie.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
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Based on the DC Comics hero, and starring Ezra Miller, the film follows Barry Allen — AKA The Flash — as the Speedster decides to alter the course of history, and save Barry’s mother from her death at the hands of an unknown assailant many years earlier. Using speed powers to travel into the past, Barry does change her death — at the cost of the entire universe, as this one small change to the timeline results in the creation of an alternate reality where the world is under attack by General Zod (Michael Shannon) and Superman is not present to stop him.

The film was most notable for the return of the ’80s and ’90s Batman, Michael Keaton, once again putting on his rubber Batsuit for what now appears to be the final time (a bunch of planned subsequent appearances by Keaton were nixed after James Gunn and Peter Safran took over DC Studios). As i wrote in my review, Keaton stole the movie.

Keaton still has that old Batman joie de vivre; even belatedly, it’s really fun to see him back in another adventure. (His future as the Dark Knight in projects like the now-canceled Batgirl film reportedly got altered by something even more powerful than time travel: Rewrites.) Miller does an impressive job making the two Barrys into distinct people; the illusion is so convincing that you sometimes forget that a lot of this movie is just one actor talking to themselves. The charisma of these stars, and the chemistry between them, keeps The Flash humming along at a nice clip.

The Flash certainly wasn’t perfect — I honestly hated the very last scene — but I could see people watching it a lot on streaming, if only to enjoy the Keaton Batman parts.

The Flash starts streaming on Max on August 25.

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