In-between endless hours of awesome NBA playoff action, I stepped aside long enough to check out the new The Flash trailer. Action-packed and loaded with superheroes, DC’s latest venture hits screens this summer and promises an epic unlike any we’ve ever seen. However, while I’m excited, I still have a few doublests.
Let’s take a look at what was impressive and was a slight bit worrying about the new The Flash trailer.
Michael Keaton’s Return as Batman
Seeing Michael Keaton return as Batman — his first foray into the role since 1992’s Batman Returns — is one of those long-gestating wish fulfillments I never thought would come true. Initially, my reaction was to fist pump and high-five the person nearest to me, which just happened to be my wife—she rolled her eyes, God bless her soul. But, despite its silliness, I loved seeing the Batwing back in action and even got a kick out of the “let’s get nuts” line. (Was that Keaton’s signature line in the Tim Burton films?)
Still, I find it curious that WB would decide to dust the boots off of a 71-year-old Keaton instead of just giving us more Batfleck. Hell, just cast a new guy. For all my yearning to see Keaton slip underneath the cowl again, that ship sailed after Christopher Nolan unleashed The Dark Knight trilogy — still the best representation of Batman ever, in my opinion.
Batman and Batman Returns were unique pieces of cinema released over 30 years ago, mainly because they were the only superhero flicks outside the Christopher Reeve Superman films and a couple of low-budget Roger Corman productions. I loved Burton’s pics because they were the only versions of Batman available that didn’t feature our winged hero surfing alongside the Joker in a goofy gray and blue suit. All these years later, we’ve seen better representations of Batman via cartoons, Nolan’s films, Zack Snyder’s entries, and Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
So, while it’s fun seeing Keaton back in action, I wonder if his return came far too late. (Truth be told, his inclusion felt like desperation on WB’s part to give the fans something to get excited about.)
Also, did we leave his iteration of Batman/Bruce Wayne on a cliffhanger? Let’s be honest, Batman was probably the least compelling aspect of Burton’s films. The character has zero depth and takes a back seat to Jack Nicholson’s Joker, Danny DeVito’s Penguin, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. The man was essentially James Bond, albeit dressed in a bat suit, which is why no one cared when Val Kilmer stepped into the role a few years later.
How does Keaton fit into the larger narrative? Will he have a significant role, or is he little more than an extended cameo (as rumors suggest)? Will the script treat him like a meta-joke or take him seriously? Will this be one of those things we all wish for and then immediately regret? We’ll see.
The Tone Looks Serious, But Will It Deliver?
This news The Flash trailer pushes the pic like a hardcore superhero drama with enormous stakes and massive action. It’s easy to get lost in all the explosions, colorful visual effects, and heavy-handed nostalgia.
Is it going to be a serious movie?
One thing that stood out about this latest tease was the lack of Ezra Miller. Our hero, the Flash, feels more like a co-star to Supergirl and the various Batmen. That’s misleading.
My hunch: We’ve already seen most of Supergirl and Batman in the previews. The remaining two hours will be the Miller show, replete with the same goofy vibe the Flash displayed in Joss Whedon’s Justice League. The film may have a few dramatic beats, but a plot featuring two goofy Barry Allens can only go in one direction. Considering the pic was produced during DC’s mad scramble to match Marvel’s tone and style, it wouldn’t shock me if The Flash was more in line with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania than man of steel — despite what the marketers say.
That’s fine (if you like that style), but as Ant Man proved, you can’t expect audiences to walk away satisfied after getting duped.
Supergirl Looks Highly Promising
Sasha Calle as Supergirl looks…great! I’m genuinely shocked. The suit seems ripped straight from Snyder’s universe, and by the looks of it, the character gets a handful of big action sequences. She squares off with Zod, for Pete’s sake!
My only beef: where’s Superman? If you’re basing your idea on that pre-established Snyderverse, why not give us a final hurrah with the Justice League — Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman? Why recast Supes with a character who is exactly like him? Why not just bring back Henry Cavill to fight alongside Supergirl? Can you imagine this trailer featuring Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Mamoa, and Ben Affleck?
One Last Blow to the Snyderverse
I love how everyone claimed to hate, hate, and loathe the Snyderverse, yet, the same people cheer this movie after seeing a trailer efficiently featuring — wait for it — the Snyderverse. Zod. The battle for Metropolis. A Supergirl who screams and shoots laser beams from her eyes. Batfleck on a motorcycle. Is anyone else bugged by this?
Imagine if WB had just let Snyder complete his vision. This movie might arrive with more weight. But, as is, The Flash looks like a final middle finger to fans of the Snyderverse — a frustrating tease of the pictures they never received, built on the foundations of their favorite heroes.
Yeah, I’m still bitter.
Regardless, I’m willing to give the superhero movie a shot after seeing the new The Flash trailer. It looks like a fun summer blockbuster and will likely arrive with a bunch of well-intentioned fan service in the vein of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Moreover, I’m excited/curious to see how this chapter sets up the James Gunn era and resets the DC verse.
Still, the journey to get to this point should have been much smoother.