Born to Run: Bringing the Flash to the Screen

Ryan Maloney charts Warner Bros.’ efforts to bring The Flash to the screen… 

In the pantheon of B-list superheroes, The Flash is perhaps the best and most revered. Sadly, that level of brand recognition doesn’t quite translate to the character’s number of fans; approach any random stranger on the street and he or she will say, “Yeah, I know the Flash! Runs really fast!” but ask them their feelings on Geoff Johns, or Barry vs. Wally, or the mysticism of the Speed Force, and you’re likely to get some pretty confused looks. And not just because you’re a creeper who approaches random strangers to talk about DC Comics characters.

Still, there exists a cornucopia of potential for The Flash to thrive in a live-action environment, making the recent addition of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) to the cast of CW’s Arrow, a darker re-imagining of the Green Arrow mythology, as well as plans to spin the character off into his own series especially exciting. Coupled with Warner Bros. finally landing a solid non-Batman DC adaptation in Man of Steel, a darker re-imagining of the Superman mythology, and the future of the live-action DC universe has, ironically enough, never looked brighter.

Still, even more ironic is that it’s taken this long for Flash to get his due; the character’s lone solo adaptation remains CBS’ short-lived 1990 series starring John Wesley Shipp. The show, coattailing off the success of Tim Burton’s Batman (even boasting its own opening theme by Danny Elfman), was solid enough, but with an ever-changing timeslot, it struggled to keep its viewership. Bleaker still was the character’s presence in Warner’s film division, in which a revolving door of writers and filmmakers kept the film adaptation from ever making it past the scripting stage. Three of these drafts have found their way to my neck of the woods, and all three give us a prime indication of the immense potential The Flash carries with him on a much larger canvas.

The first draft, dated October 3rd, 2006, was penned by Dark Knight Trilogy scribe David S. Goyer himself, whom fans may remember to have been pegged to write and direct a Flash adaptation starring his Blade: Trinity star Ryan Reynolds, before departing the project over creative differences. “I wanted to showcase the legacy aspect of the hero — as that was something that hadn’t been explored yet in film,” Goyer later explained on his blog, later adding, “The God’s honest truth is that WB and myself simply couldn’t agree on what would make for a cool Flash film. I’m quite proud of the screenplay I turned [in]. I threw my heart into it and I genuinely think it would’ve been the basis of a ground-breaking film. But as of now, the studio is heading off in a completely different direction.” After his success adapting further DC properties, and perusing his take on Flash, WB may want to reconsider.

The script begins with Barry Allen as the Flash, an urban legend of Keystone City. Protecting the city from crime, Flash has never been caught on camera and never interacted with the public. In his alter ego, Barry builds a close bond with nephew Wally West, who’s been living with his Uncle and Aunt Iris at their home for the summer. One night, Barry and his cop friend Hunter Zolomon are investigating a disturbance, when Barry/Flash is trapped by Victor Vesp, aka the Turtle. Vesp attempts to steal away Barry’s speed by using his infinity transducer, but Barry escapes by “going nova” before it can happen, and disappears. Wally sees the whole thing and is devastated at his Uncle’s apparent death, growing up in constant fear of never being able to live up to Barry’s heroic legacy. Wally even avoids committing to colleges and jobs, feeling as though he will never carve his own niche within Barry’s shadow.

Wally later visits the city’s commemorative statue of Barry and is caught in a blast of lightning. Wally wakes up to find he’s been granted the same speedy powers Barry had, and grapples with his newer, quicker metabolism and rapid facial hair growth. Doctors are baffled by his condition, but the good scientists at S.T.A.R. labs, among them Dr. Tina McGee and her ex-husband Jerry, agree to help Wally hone his new skills. Even Zolomon, now wheelchair-bound after the night of Barry’s death, surmises that Barry has passed on his powers to Wally, and agrees to mentor him. But Wally isn’t ready for the responsibility, only assuming the mantle in money-making publicity stunts, in one case playing hockey against the entire Keystone team, all while flirting with Tina. In perhaps a tribute to the character’s sillier Silver-Age roots, Wally travels so fast he appears at one point as six different players.

Aunt Iris chides Wally for abusing his powers in such a way, telling him that he must be more responsible, lest he let the speed go to his head. Meanwhile, a prison-bound Vesp learns of Wally’s new powers and again plots to steal Flash’s speed. This time, Vesp indirectly plants a time-bomb on a packed 747, which also happens to be carrying Zolomon, forcing Wally to evacuate every passenger onboard one at a time, before the plane crashes in the nearby river. Later, Tina and Wally share an intimate moment when Wally takes her running, and shows her the slow-time effect he experiences when vibrating fast enough.

Vesp is soon broken out of prison by another speedster called Zoom, who speaks in a creepy “vibratory” voice. Zoom is addicted to the speed Vesp grants him, even kissing his foot at one point begging for more. Meanwhile, Jerry blames Wally for the breakout before Zoom calls out Wally directly, and they duke it out in an epic fistfight at Mach 5. Zoom kills Jerry after Jerry discovered who Zoom really was, then kidnaps Tina. After another fight, Wally catches Zoom and rips off his mask to discover Zoom is Zolomon, artificially infused with speed that allows him to walk (and run) again. Zolomon was also the one to plant the bomb on the 747 and has done everything thus far out of jealously that Wally was granted Barry’s powers while he suffers as a cripple. Both Wally and Zoom wind up in Vesp’s underground lair, where Vesp explains he knew Zolomon’s speed addiction would cloud his judgment and lead him to bring Wally to the lair, allowing Vesp to again try to steal his speed away. Like Barry, Wally goes nova, but instead of dying he is rocketed to the past, meeting Barry in the Speed Force. In a heartfelt scene, Barry tells Wally he knows he will be vigilant with his speed and only use it for good, and to “tell Iris I love her.” The two combine their speed and Wally is able to return home.

Back at the lair, Zoom is briefly overcome with guilt and transfers so much speed to Vesp that his frail body can’t handle the vibrations, killing him. Zoom grapples with his fate, but can’t break free of his addiction, and challenges Wally yet again by throwing the hostage Tina off a building. Wally manages to catch her, and again fights Zoom, this time across several world locales. On the advice of Tina, Wally infuses all his speed into Zoom, who can’t handle the vibration while also travelling at near lightspeed, and begins to rapidly age before shriveling up and melting into dust. With his enemies defeated, Wally returns to Keystone and rubs the death date off Barry’s Flash statue, promising Aunt Iris he’ll find a way to bring Barry back. Wally tells Tina she grounds him and makes him want to slow down. But there’s another crisis to be solved, and Wally disappears with, “back in a flash.”

Like almost all of Wally West’s appearances in the comics, Goyer’s script opens and closes with voiceover from the protagonist, talking about how lightning strikes twice and signing off with, “I’m the fastest man alive.” Goyer is well-versed in the lore, taking several cues from Mark Waid and Geoff Johns’ runs, yet capturing the essence of the character throughout history. We have the occasional nod to writers and artists of Flash’s past – “Gardner Fox Arena”, “Waid Law Offices”, etc. Even the old TV series gets a nod in the script’s portrayal of S.T.A.R. labs and Tina McGee. Worth mentioning also is the fact that Goyer’s Flash could’ve been the first superhero film to really, truly tackle the idea of a public identity, and what consequences that has for friends and loved ones.

Goyer’s is a very cinematic, grounded take, abiding by the traditional hero’s journey and making the unreal feel tangible. The writer truly understands and appreciates what makes the mythology so cool, allowing the uniqueness of the speed concept to tell the story without sacrificing character and emotion to do so. It’s also cool how Goyer treats Wally’s speed as an addiction, and sets Wally in several slow-motion sequences to illustrate how fast he’s moving, showing the objects around him frozen in time. While the rules of the Speed Force aren’t quite as defined as they could be, the writer packs enough visual intrigue to merit commendation.

Goyer’s lone slip-up, as was the case with Man of Steel, is that he grounds his Flash in relative humorlessness. The super-serious take on the character is especially baffling, given West’s fast-talking nature in the comics, as well as the hero’s light, campy Silver-Age origins that always portrayed Flash as a colorful, vibrant character. In addition, Goyer’s writing also struggles during the more clichéd romantic segments with Tina, who’s written more like Rachel Dawes circa Batman Begins than Lois Lane circa Man of Steel; female leads have never been Goyer’s strong suit and it shows. Overall however, Goyer’s is the most solid foundation of all three drafts and, with a little tweaking, could still prove a massively entertaining installment in DC’s live-action canon.

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With Goyer off the project, Warner maintained that certain elements of his draft would be used in later drafts. A year later, TV writer Chris Brancato submitted a new draft dated September 4th 2007, which the studio gained enough confidence in to hire Shawn Levy (Real Steel), and later David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) to direct.

Brancato begins with a gushing description of Flash’s presence in Keystone City before showing both Barry and Iris Allen preparing for a visit from Wally. Wally, 14, is an abuse victim, a world-weary punk who thinks The Flash is lame, and wonders aloud why the hero would devote his life to fighting crime. Wally even steals a car to get his speed kicks and gets himself arrested. Barry picks up Wally at the police station where he works, but not before Wally meets Barry’s intern Linda Park, 18, and quickly falls for her. He’s crushed when he sees that she’s really after Hunter Zolomon, 24, another policeman. Barry, picking up on Wally’s desire for all things fast, tries to bond with Wally by riding dirtbikes together. “It’s not about the speed, it’s about what you do with it,” Barry says.

One day when Barry brings Wally along to the station, a fire breaks out and Wally is soaked in chemicals trying to save an unconscious Barry, whom we learn was killed that night. Ten years later, Wally becomes a motocross racer wearing the Flash emblem on his suit. He’s more jaded than ever, even telling a young fan with visible bruises on his body as a result of abuse to, “toughen up.” Wally’s best friend is John Harris, an original African-American character in a wheelchair. Linda is now dating Zolomon, and Aunt Iris is now a state senator who promotes sustainable energy and being green. The mayor of Keystone is Vandal Savage, who’s also owner of the Savage Energy Company, where his assistant Mark Mardon works. Fans will instantly recognize what those names mean for the plot ahead.

Later, Iris and Wally are caught in a lightning storm, which takes the life of Iris. Wally holds her dying body while she confides that there’s a secret to the ring Barry always wore. The lightning seems to activate Wally’s powers, causing him to suddenly “appear” places quickly and not know how it happened. After Iris’ funeral, Wally and John find Barry’s Flash suit in his ring and decide to test the limits of Wally’s speed; he is shown running up buildings and even briefly reversing time’s flow. There are several “gags” of police officers with speed guns catching Wally travelling several hundred miles per hour, and assuming their equipment must be broken.

Wally begins to suspect Iris was murdered, and we soon learn that Savage and his mistress Samantha are to blame. Wally investigates Savage’s home and stumbles on a collection of ancient weapons from across the world in his basement. Savage finds Wally and incapacitates him, then calls upon Hunter Zolomon to kill him. Zolomon is revealed to have been in on Barry’s death as well, and is shocked when Savage confides in him he is actually immortal and has lived for centuries.

In a hitch, Wally uses his vibrating ability to travel back in time and contact Barry, who vaguely references the Speed Force’s ability to allow them to communicate. Barry races Wally and teaches him the ropes, like how to run over water and vibrate through brick walls. Returning to his own time, Wally confides in Linda his suspicions of Savage on a dinner date, but has to keep running out to defeat the many villains, all minor Flash rogues including Pied Piper and Rainbow Rider, who have been sprung from prison. Seeing his exhaustion after ever disappearance, Linda asks Wally, “Do you have a coke problem?” to which Wally replies, “No…speed.” Ha.

Savage soon enacts his plot to destroy Keystone City and then the world, in order to start back with one Adam and one Eve in the beginning of a new age. Using Mardon’s weather technology, Savage creates several cyclones to destroy the city, but Wally dissipates them by creating his own counter-cyclones. Flash also fights raging flood waters, before finally defeating Savage and preventing a hoard of bombs from falling on the city to finish the job. Wally and Linda confess their feelings for each other, and Linda later asks Wally if he does everything fast. “Not everything,” he says, and kisses her, before hearing a cry for help and speeding off into the night.

Where Goyer’s draft had an edge in its storytelling, Brancato’s feels tighter in its special effects and speed sequences. Despite a few cheap-sounding sequences when, for example, Wally evades being hit by a bus by merely “appearing” to the side of the road as it passes, Wally’s powers are written far more uniquely than Goyer’s slow-motion sequences. I particularly liked the sequence when Wally searches every face in Keystone City like a lineup until he finds the man he’s looking for.

Still, this is a far less weighty, far more studio-friendly draft, bearing significantly weaker dialogue, pacing, and character motivation, on top of a predictable antagonist despite the story’s “whodunit” mystery aims. Brancato doesn’t seem nearly as enamored with the Flash mythology, cramming the entirety of his rogues into the script and robbing them all of any sort of depth. Why not save these villains for sequels? Could a Flash franchise not provide as awesome a cinematic rogue’s gallery as Batman’s? And like Goyer’s draft, the script isn’t nearly as light and funny as it should be, with few gags that aren’t tired clichés. Still, I appreciated Brancato’s attention to the Barry/Wally bonding sequences, which are appropriately emotional.

It’s unknown what caused Brancato’s draft to be shelved, but sources indicate the writer is still being credited for the film on even later revised drafts by Geoff Johns. Whether elements of his work survive in future rewrites remains to be seen, but the adaptation’s subsequent draft seems to quell that notion.

Three years later, when it seemed all but certain Warner’s Green Lantern from writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim would be a success, the studio immediately put them to work on scripts for both a Lantern sequel and a Flash movie designed to co-exist within the same universe. As with Lantern, Berlanti himself would be a possible candidate to direct. Owing to Geoff Johns’ recent changes in Flash comics continuity, the focus of the film would be shifted squarely on Barry Allen, with producers choosing instead to save Wally for later installments. In discussing his approach to the character with SciFiNow, Guggenheim said, “The Flash – to me – is about pure expression. Flash is untethered to the limitations of time and space – he can be everywhere at once and with that, I think, comes a certain freedom. Who hasn’t wanted to be faster? To get someplace quicker?” The writer later revealed, “With Green Lantern, what we were doing was combining a space opera with a superhero movie. Here, we’re combining a crime thriller with a superhero movie. There’s also an element of a sports movie, because the character is so physical and I feel like there is an athleticism to his power that other superheroes don’t have. I think that’s pretty cool.” Co-writer Berlanti further explained, “Though Barry Allen was a little lighter in the comic, I think because of the nature that he was a CSI and moved in this world of crime before this stuff happened. I think it’s tonally somewhere in between ‘GL’ and ‘Dark Knight.’ It’s actually a little bit darker than when we were working on (GL), because you’re dealing with somebody who is already a crimefighter in a world of those kinds of criminals and that kind of murder and homicide.”

With a draft dated February 16th, 2011, the adaptation would’ve likely received its evasive greenlight sometime around the summer of 2011…that is, if Green Lantern hadn’t been the leading cause of cyanide ingestion in adolescent viewers that year. The writers have since gone on to develop CW’s Arrow on a medium far better suited to their strengths. It’s soon to be joined by their announced Flash pilot this Fall, and we can already see several elements from their draft retained in their portrayal of Barry Allen for the small screen.

We open with voice over from Barry Allen, narrating and introducing his speedy abilities over a sequence of him zooming around town stopping generic problems like a girder falling and a mugging. Flash back to two weeks earlier, the ever-late Barry is a CSI police detective in Central City, which neighbors Keystone. Barry is infamous for taking on open cases, aiming to help victims find justice, very similar to the characterization seen in Arrow. Barry is called to a crime scene on the river, where a Jane Doe has washed ashore with no signs as to how she died. Later, Barry meets up with Iris West, his childhood friend and unrequited crush, who has lost her job as a newspaper reporter. She invites Barry to dinner, but he declines. That evening while examining the dead body, Barry flashes back to his childhood, when his mother pushes a Jay Garrick comic over the textbook he’s reading, telling him, “sometimes you have to step away from a problem to see it more clearly.” She takes him for ice cream, where they see in the distance the legendary scientist Dr. Eobard Thawne’s tower and talk about his building a particle accelerator. Back in present day, Barry theorizes the victim could’ve been exposed to extremely cold temperatures, but when he approaches Police Chief Chyre requesting a mass spectrometer to confirm it, Chyre tells him to “get some sleep” and “get laid.”

But Barry is driven to avenge his victim, and ends up sneaking into S.T.A.R. Labs with a school tour to find the spectrometer. He’s caught by an employee Valerie, who kicks him out, but feels bad doing so. Barry returns home to find he’s forgotten Iris was having a party, and runs over to her apartment to find its an engagement party – she’s marrying a man named Nathan Newbury. A ten-year-old Wally West cameos briefly before being sent to bed. Barry starts to leave before Iris catches up to him. Barry congratulates her but leaves full of regret; Iris heads back inside with a brief look of disappointment. Returning to his place, Barry finds Valerie has sent him the data he needed on the victim, but when a rainstorm blows the window open, a bolt of lightning cracks through it and sends Barry flying across the room. Mid-blast, Barry again flashes back to his childhood, he and Iris playfully flirting as children, his father losing his job, and opening his front door to find his mother murdered and his father blamed for it, before being sent to live with Iris’ family. In the present, Barry is rushed to a hospital, where he wakes up to find he’s seeing things in alternating slow and sped-up time. Eobard Thawne, in his 40s, pays a visit to the hospital to take Barry into the care of his scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs.

Valerie and a group of other scientists begin to test Barry’s abilities, collecting data on the speed Barry travels and the calories he expends. Barry outruns a dragster, clears a canyon, heals two compound fractures in hours, and even stops a nearby tornado by running against its spin. He even finds time to send Chyre the info on the victim, forcing Chyre to publicly announce there is a serial killer on the loose who is freezing his victims to death. We later learn this killer is Leonard Snart, or “Cold” as he’s dubbed by the press. Cold kidnaps Chyre and kills him on live TV before threatening to destroy a major Central City landmark in five days. Barry resolves to help out with the crisis, but not before Thawne promises to use his developing particle accelerator to help Barry reach an alternate universe where the people he’s loved and lost may still be alive.

Iris, now an independent blogger, discusses the pattern to the Cold killings with Barry. We learn that it is the train station Cold is targeting, and when Barry shows up to stop him, Cold sabotages a train full of people to ensure his escape. Barry is forced to pull each individual passenger off the train one by one. But in examining the security cam footage in the tunnel, Iris thinks she sees a man’s foot within the tornado pulling people off the train. At dinner with Nathan and guest, Barry mocks her theory, further tensing their relationship. Iris takes to her blog to talk about the “guardian angel” that saved the people at the station, whilst Valerie and the gang at S.T.A.R. fashion Barry with a familiar red costume, unbeknownst to Thawne. The team hits the bar afterwards, and when Iris and Nathan see Barry out with Valerie, she becomes jealous. That night, Barry and Valerie have sex. The following morning, Barry and Iris again discuss Cold, determining that he isn’t a serial killer, but a hitman working for someone. Barry gets a call and learns Cold’s next target is Nathan, who is soon frozen and near death. When Flash shows up to rescue Nathan, Cold attacks Iris, but Flash bests him, confirming to Iris he’s real. Snart is taken into custody, and Flash leaves Nathan with paramedics and provides a handwritten set of instructions on how to treat him.

Iris goes to Barry’s house and says she recognized his handwriting on the note, revealing him to be the guardian angel she’s been writing about. They share an intimate moment, but Barry steps back and tells her she should be with Nathan. Barry goes to interrogate Cold, who cryptically announces, “he’s come for me,” before Barry is punched at super-speed by an unknown black-suited speedster. The two fight, and Barry learns this speedster is the one responsible for killing his mother and framing his father. But the villain beats him, leaving Barry alive with the mandate for him to, “stop running.” Later, Nathan admits to Iris he laundered money for what were later Cold’s victims, and all the money traces back to S.T.A.R. Labs. Iris is disgusted. Valerie learns the particle accelerator has a secret function – to steal away Barry’s speed. Hearing this from her, Thawne is revealed to be the dark speedster, and stands up out of his wheelchair and kills her. Learning this, and fearing Thawne will kill Iris if he runs again, Barry wants to stop being Flash. But once all the criminals he put away in Iron Heights prison (including Cold) are released, and bombs have been planted all over the city, Barry becomes Flash once more, defusing the bombs and stopping the criminals. Cold kidnaps Iris, while Thawne explains to Barry that they were mortal enemies in another reality, so he used his accelerator to travel to a new one and slowly destroy Barry’s life, then steal his speed. Cold attempts to shoot Iris with a cold needle, but Flash backhands it into Cold’s chest, and Cold dies feeling, “warm.” Meanwhile, the particle accelerator begins creating a black hole and sucking everything into it, fulfilling Thawne’s plan to destroy this universe and travel to a new one. Flash stops it in the same way he stopped the tornado – running counter to the flow, all while pushing Thawne back into the Speed Force. Barry is briefly united with his aged mother and father in the Speed Force before Iris revives him. With the crisis averted, Iris waxes poetic about Flash’s heroism while Barry monologues in voice over while running through the city. Finally, in a post-credits sequence, Flash skids to a halt after seeing something in his path. It’s Green Lantern, who tells him, “Lightspeed. Not bad.”

While the Green/Berlanti/Guggenheim draft isn’t a bad start, it’s also the least impressive of the three drafts, a bland, predictable, largely plot-driven take whose overall tone and approach leaves much to be desired. Which, in retrospect, is exactly what plagued Green Lantern: too ordinary a template left room for a mess of other cooks to enter the kitchen and make things worse. The story beats are there, the characters are there, and some inspired moments of dialogue and emotion are there. Even references to past Flash authors, in the form of “Infantino’s Diner,” “Wolfman Foundry,” etc., are there. What isn’t there is a compelling reason for translating the character and his iconic mythology to a cinema audience.

At least Flash’s powers are well-written, described as “Flashtime,” or slo-mo sequences showing Barry mentally calculating the number of people nearby and determining what course of action he must take, including how much force he has to exert to do it. It’s actually a pretty solid arc for Barry, the quintessential everyman who’s meticulously scientific and an all-around nerdy nice-guy as he should be. His motivations for becoming a hero are clearly illustrated, and his character flaw of constantly being late is carried through to the script’s climax. This is also the best draft in terms of its romantic lead; Iris is a well-written character and a more dynamic foil for Barry to pine after.

But like Barry himself, the script is too slow to start, and far too concerned with its grisly, unengaging CSI mystery subplot and silly attempts to filter the ordinarily bright, colorful, lore through a darker lens, to really get moving until the third act. It misses out on the super-heroics, the mysticism of the Speed Force that’s present in most modern Flash comics. In retelling Flash’s origins, those comics often feature the recurring image of Flash running so fast he ends up burning right through his shoes. This script includes the scene, but reads, “Barry looks down at his FEET, raw and bloody from the abuses of speed.” Seriously? It’s The Flash for God’s sake, would it kill these writers to embrace the cartoonyness of the character a bit? We don’t even get to see the red suit until page 72, meaning the entire first act and much of the second act features the awkward juxtaposition of a CSI detective being able to run really fast, without actually becoming a superhero until the very end.

Guggenheim and Co. get bogged down in the post-Dark Knight mentality of “darker” without really understanding what it is that made that film in particular work so well. Their Flash is incredibly derivative, even pathetically so at times, borrowing the latter film’s lines without half the profundity. The term “silent guardian” is used more often than once, and Barry even has voice over which reads, “I’m an eyeblink. A sunburst. A FLASH.” Ugh.

Then there’s Captain Cold, a far more interesting character in the comics, here reduced to the role of a stock serial killer in a bad horror movie and a generic Heath Ledger Joker clone. The script even deviates from the comics to give Cold a clichéd origin involving his family dying in a house fire. And to top it all off, when Cold is booked and arrested, he’s reported to have, “no fingerprints. No ID.” Might as well toss in “nothing in his pockets but knives and lint,” while we’re at it.

The CSI angle and crack team of S.T.A.R. Labs employees are, in truth, far better suited for the writers’ more fitting TV roots than the big screen, which is why I’m happy to see them develop the property for the CW instead, though hopefully with a bit more refinement.

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While none of these drafts are perfect, all three prove to be exciting prospects and solid starting points for a Flash feature film. So why hasn’t Warner pulled the trigger yet?

Well…because it’s hard.

It’s hard doing justice to a character with such a complicated mythology, one which demands a whole new kind of special effect to portray believably. Speed effects, alternate universes…these elements require an entirely new visual dynamic. Much in the same way Richard Donner developed and revolutionized flying effects for 1978’s Superman: the Movie, a Flash film would need a director similarly dedicated to bring the world of the character to life in a big, bold way. I don’t think Warner has found that director yet.

But the potential exists, nonetheless, for not just a really cool DC adaptation, but a really cool feature film altogether. In terms of influence, perhaps looking to the humor and color of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, the character definition of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, and most importantly, the grounded, yet good-natured verisimilitude of Donner’s Superman, The Flash could readily be the very definition of fun summer escapism.

In short, The Flash was practically born for the silver screen, and with DC finally gearing up for more DC films, it’s time to give Flash his time in the spotlight. Hopefully in the near future, be it on the small or silver screen, we will believe a man can…er…run really fast.

Ryan Maloney is a freelance writer/blogger maintaining Heraldic Criticism, where you can read more of his critiques of comics, movies, and comic book movies.