“The Flash” Trots Out Dopplegangers and Guest Stars to Distract From Ho-Hum Plot

A speed trap of half-baked time travel comedy and junky action sequences surrounding a phantom zone menace, Andrés Muschietti’s The Flash (C) runs around in more circles than a Lazy Susan dishing out a smorgasbord of DC multiverse morsels with limited entertainment value. At the center of this carousel of excess are two performances by Ezra Miller, and a little of this eccentric actor goes a long way. Reversing time to save his mom’s life, the titular sprinting action hero opens up portals of paradox that produce a doubting doppelgänger plus an encounter with an underused original cinematic Batman Michael Keaton, who along with Sasha Calle as Supergirl must battle Michael Shannon’s General Zod, whose character is given virtually nothing to do. Despite some funny opening moments involving slow cooking and an aerial ballet of super saving, the schtick gets old fast, and the retread plot lines give way to a bitter after-haste taste. The visual effects are uniformly second-rate, and the two quipping Barrys’ vaudeville act collapses and careens toward a desperate parade of cameos in the final reel. There are more guest stars and CGI characters than a caravan to The Love Boat by way of The Polar Express could accommodate. Muschietti eschews solemnity for all-out stoner comedy, and perhaps, for some, even a glimmer of fun in the generally grim DC Universe can feel like finding renewed life in the fast lane.

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