The Flash (2023)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In this spin-off film from Justice League, Barry Allen aka “The Flash” has difficulty balancing his life between his job as a forensic scientist, his adventures as the Flash, and his side efforts to exonerate his father for the wrongful conviction of killing Barry’s mother. Barry comes up with a plan to run fast enough to move backwards through time and to save his mother from being murdered when Barry was a child. Barry successfully saves his mother, but when he attempts to return to his present, he finds that the world has been altered where there is no Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, or the Flash. When the Kryptonian General Zod arrives on Earth to colonize the planet, Barry will need the assistance of his depowered alternate universe self and a much older, and very much retired, Batman to help him save the planet from destruction.

‘The Flash’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
The Flash (2023)A young Barry Allen (Ian Loh) lives an ideal life with his mother Nora (Maribel Verdú) and father Henry (Ron Livingston) in Central City. One day, his mother forgets some ingredients for dinner and Henry goes to the store to retrieve them. While a young Barry works on homework upstairs, some unknown person sneaks into the Allen home and stabs Nora. Barry finds his mother and then runs outside to tell his father who is just returning from the store. Unfortunately, Nora ultimately dies, and Henry is convicted of the murder. The death of his mother and the imprisonment of his father for the murder changes the trajectory of Barry’s life.

In present day, Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) works as a crime scene technician for Central City Police Force. On his private time, Barry attempts to prove his father’s innocence. Barry’s efforts are frustrated by the fact that the surveillance video from the grocery store, which can prove that Henry was not in the home when Nora was killed, does not show his father’s face because his father was looking down at the ingredients on the lower shelf instead of up at the camera.

Barry is also the superhero known as the Flash. One day, Barry is summoned by Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) and Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), also known as Batman, to Gotham City to assist the Dark Knight in stopping a robbery. Barry arrives and helps Bruce and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), also known as Diana Prince, in stopping the robbery and saving a hospital room full of babies from being killed in an explosion. In the aftermath, Barry discusses with Bruce his theory that he can run fast enough to go back in time and stop his mother’s death. Bruce warns Barry that his idea is dangerous and could be catastrophic.

Despite Bruce’s warning, Barry decides one night to run as fast as he can. The resulting speed allows Barry to enter the Speed Force to travel back in time to the day that his mother was killed. In the past, Barry puts the missing ingredients into his mother’s shopping cart so that his father has no reason to leave the house. After completing his task, Barry reenters the Speed Force to return to his present. However, he is knocked out of the Speed Force by another speedster and ends up in an alternate universe 2013, specifically on the day that Barry acquired his powers. Barry’s mother is alive, but the alternate universe version of himself (Ezra Miller) is self-centered and far less serious about life as he did not grow up in a world without both of his parents.

Due to the change in alternate Barry’s past, Barry is not employed at the Central City Police Department where original Barry acquired his powers in an electrical accident. Original Barry sneaks alternate Barry into the crime lab to recreate the accident. The accident still happens, but the result is only partially successful. Alternate Barry acquires the Flash’s powers, but the accident takes away original Barry’s powers. Original Barry makes attempts to train alternate Barry how to use his powers, but the alternate version generally fails to take the training seriously.

Things turn worse when General Zod (Michael Shannon) arrives on Earth with Kryptonian forces, just as they did in Man of Steel. However, this Earth appears to have no Superman (Henry Cavill) to battle Zod and prevent the General from recolonizing Earth as New Krypton. Barry knows that Zod needs to be stopped or everyone on Earth, including his mother and father, will die. Barry realizes that humanity’s only hope maybe the formation of the Justice League in the alternative universe. However, Barry cannot locate Diana, Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher) has not yet acquired his powers, and Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa) appears to have never been born.

In a last hope, original Barry takes alternate Barry to Gotham City to locate Batman. At Wayne Manor, they find a much older Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton), who has long since retired from his crime fighting days as Batman as Gotham City has mainly been purged of most crime. Original Barry explains their circumstances to Bruce, and Bruce explains the concept of the multiverse to the two Barrys, revealing that using time travel to alter history affects both events prior and after the alteration, thus explaining why the alternate universe Bruce is significantly older than original Barry’s Batman. Original Barry asks Bruce to help them find the Superman of this universe, but Bruce tells them no. However, a short time later after the two Barrys discover the Batcave and alternate Bruce has a moment to shave his beard, Batman agrees to help them.

Bruce uses his Bat computer to locate a Kryptonian pod that crash landed in Siberia instead of Kansas. The trio take the Bat plane to Russia to locate Superman. They encounter strong resistance from Russian military forces that seek to prevent the trio from freeing their prisoner. Ultimately, original Barry discovers that Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El (Sasha Calle) was the passenger in the pod that crashed in Siberia, and the Russians have been keeping her locked in a cell to prevent her from being exposed to the sun which is the source of both Superman and Kara’s powers. Once free, Kara helps Batman and the two Barrys escape from the facility.

Once back in Gotham, Kara flies away. A guilt-ridden original Barry asks Bruce to help him recreate the original accident for a second time so that he can reacquire his missing powers. The first two attempts fail, causing massive injury to original Barry. However, Kara returns and flies Barry into a storm where he is struck by lighting and regains his speedster powers. Now fully powered and joined by Kara and Bruce, original Barry formulates a plan to stop Zod. The foursome travels to the desert and battles Zod and his Kryptonian forces, including his second in command, Faora-Ul (Antje Traue).

During the battle, Kara learns from Zod that the infant Superman’s escape pod was intercepted by Zod during its trip to Earth. Zod reveals not only did the infant die, but the baby did not possess the Codex that Zod needed to repopulate the Kryptonian species. Zod informs Kara that she possesses the Codex in her blood. Zod kills Kara and then extracts the Codex from her body. Batman also dies during the battle as he is outmatched by the strength and near invulnerability of the Kryptonian soldiers.

The two Barrys attempt to turn the tide of the battle by traveling back though time in short intervals to correct the mistakes the foursome make fighting Zod and his soldiers. However, in each new variation the heroes still lose, and Bruce and Kara still die. Original Barry begins to realize that the sequence of events cannot be changed for them to win and that sometimes the heroes will inevitably fail. Alternate Barry refuses to give up and continues to make attempts to save his friends and his mother as he learned what created his universe in the first place. Each time that alternate Barry travels back he becomes more and more scarred by his actions and the battle.

The continual attempts by alternate Barry causes the multiverse to begin to implode. Throughout the different realities in the multiverse, other versions of the various heroes observe the chronal ball appear in their realms, including Superman 1979 (Christopher Reeve), Supergirl 1984 (Helen Slater), Superman 1952 (George Reeves), Batman 1966 (Adam West), and Superman 1999 (Nicholas Cage). Eventually, the unknown speedster who originally knocked original Barry out of the Speed Force into alternate 2013 reappears. It is revealed that this speedster is an older, future version of alternate Barry. This future Barry still has the misbelief that he can stop Zod and prevent the deaths of Bruce and Kara. Future Barry explains the causal loop paradox that has led to his creation. Original Barry reveals that the only way to put things right is for him to go back in time and to let his mother die. Future Barry grows angry at the idea of Nora being killed and attempts to kill original Barry. However, alternate Barry moves between the two speedsters and is impaled instead. The death of alternate Barry wipes future Barry from existence.

Original Barry reenters the chronal ball and travels back to the day of his mother’s death. He removes the ingredients that he had placed into her cart at the grocery store. Barry has one last conversation with his mother as he knows that she will be dead in a few hours. While in the past, Barry makes one other alteration and moves the ingredients that his father was looking for at the store to the top shelf so this his father’s face will be seen by the store’s surveillance cameras. Barry then returns to the present where it appears that everything has been set right again.

The next day, Barry appears at a court hearing for his father with reporter Iris West (Kiersey Clemons). Due to Barry’s change in the past, the surveillance footage now shows that his father is innocent of his mother’s murder, and Henry Allen is released from prison. Shortly afterwards, Barry is on the steps of the Central City courthouse. An expensive car pulls up to the curb and a gaggle of photographers attempts to get a picture of Bruce Wayne. Barry looks forward to telling his friend of his misadventures but is shocked when Bruce (George Clooney) is yet another alternate version.

In a mid-credits scene, Barry and Arthur Curry discuss the multiverse after spending the night drinking. Barry’s high metabolism prevents him from getting drunk, but Aquaman is three sheets to the wind. Barry explains that the Batmen in the multiverse appear to be all different, but where there are Aquamen, they all appear like Arthur. Arthur lays down on the sidewalk and passes out with his face in a puddle of water before Barry heads home.

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Warner Bros. Pictures released The Flash on June 16, 2023. Andy Muschietti directed the film starring Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Sasha Calle

User Rating: 2.36 ( 4 votes)
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