Henry Bevan on Warner Bros.’ The Flash movie…
Ever since he zoomed onto the screen on the Justice League cartoon, The Flash became one of my favourite superheroes. He planted himself firmly alongside Batman, Spider-Man and Daredevil. When Ezra Miller was cast as Barry Allen, I couldn’t have been happier. Here was an actor who could deliver Barry’s goofy heroism with wit, charm and just a hint of danger. The Flash movie was off to a strong start, but it shouldn’t be surprising that a superhero whom can run fast enough to travel through time would have a convoluted path to appearing on the big screen.
The film has flicked through multiple filmmakers in the space of a couple of years. Eventually, everything settled when Rick Famuyiwa was announced as the director. He cast Kiersey Clemons as Iris West and Billy Crudup as Barry’s father, Henry Allen. There were hints of a Cyborg (Ray Fisher) team-up. Everything was going well. Then, Famuyiwa left over “creative differences”. All was quiet and now Variety reports Joby Harold is doing a page-one rewrite and the film has been stripped from the release schedule. Famuyiwa seemed to be delivering on the promises of Dope, and his departure turned the movie into such disarray it’s as if the Weather Wizard has caused a hurricane.
The constant changes and “creative differences” suggest Warner Bros. and DC have no idea what they are doing with the Scarlet Speedster. At this point, a page-one rewrite could be a good thing, as it gives Harold carte blanche and stops the film feeling like a mishmash of sources. But, for 2018 release, the changes are worrying. The film may have been pushed back, but the news proves DC are lost.
They don’t know what their universe is. After the critical backlash, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice received, they’ve meddled with their identity. They’ve gone from being director friendly to second-guessing what the audience want. This is a bad road to travel. Say what you want about BvS, but there is no denying it was its own thing — it tried to be different from other superhero movies and it tried to say something about society. It’s just a shame Snyder fluffed the message.
The Flash is a character who deserves an amazing, unique movie. The behind-the-scenes changes make me worry because they suggest we are just going to get a movie like everything else. After three Quicksilver appearances in X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and one from Barry Allen in Justice League, the Flash movie has to be unique to the character. It has to be visually amazing and not like anything we’ve witnessed before. It has to be weird and wonderful. This is a difficult job, and to achieve it there needs to be a singular voice. Harold may write an awesome script, but it needs to be led by the director. Even though Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t as big as a risk as everyone thought it was, the movie worked and was a success because of James Gunn; more than any other Marvel director, got to make the movie he wanted to make.
A page-one rewrite is a smart move, but it seems there isn’t enough time. At the rate WB and DC are making knee jerk reactions, and if The Flash isn’t a success in Justice League, you can guarantee another rewrite will happen. As a Flash fan, I just want them to get on with it. Two years isn’t a long time, and with all the constant changes, maybe The Flash won’t be fast enough to save the day.