By Megan Bianco
Let’s go back some years ago. Exactly 12, to 2011. I see Lynne Ramsay’s much-acclaimed drama, We Need to Talk About Kevin, upon release and am mesmerized by the young actor who plays mentally deranged Kevin, Ezra Miller.
I think, here’s a fresh, new actor who has potential to be the next big indie darling in cinema. Screen presence, talent, unconventionally unique looks. I got hints of Joseph-Gordon Levitt and even young Leonardo DiCaprio.
Miller was this for a bit with Kevin, along with Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). But, oh, boy. Let me tell you, I never would have expected a decade later for Miller to not only come out as non-binary, but also face allegations of assault, harassment and burglary, as well as accusations of physically and emotionally abusing and grooming a teen.
Naturally, Warner Bros. was suddenly under pressure to make a judgment call on the release of its recently completed superhero movie, The Flash, while most of these incidents were occurring with its main star throughout summer 2022. After about a year of waiting, the time-traveling odyssey was given a summer release unceremoniously.
The character of Barry Allen, aka The Flash, isn’t exactly on my radar. My main familiarity with him is DiCaprio’s character in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can (2002) using “Barry Allen” as one of his aliases, and Miller’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
I don’t read comic books, I never watched the CW series The Flash (2014-2023), and I didn’t see either Joss Whedon’s or Snyder’s cuts of Justice League (2017 and 2021, respectively).
I’ve already gone into superhero fatigue with both Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) and Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023). So, I’m just going to make a few general statements.
Time travel is a weak science fiction trope. Using the multiverse as an easy way to bring back previous interpretations of iconic characters loses its appeal if you use the trope too many times in short proximity.
The whole transparent meta concept in superhero universes only worked with Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), because it was the first movie to officially use this trope, and it was a trip to see Tobey Maguire again in the Spidey suit.
The crossovers, the celeb cameos, the comic relief, the time-travel logic or visual effects—none of these gimmicks worked in Sam Raimi’s Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) or right now in The Flash.
And they’re most likely not going to work again anytime soon. Find a new subgenre for action/adventure pictures.