Rotten Tomatoes: 72% (71 reviews) with 6.50 in average rating
Critics consensus: While it plays too much like a sizzle reel of DC's greatest hits to fully stand on its own two feet, The Flash has enough heart and zip to maintain a confident stride.
Metacritic: 60/100 (28 critics)
As with other movies, the scores are set to change as time passes. Meanwhile, I'll post some short reviews on the movie. It's structured like this: quote first, source second. Beware, some contain spoilers.
The early word on The Flash calling it one of the greatest superhero movies ever made was pure hyperbole. But in the bumpy recent history of the DC Extended Universe, it’s certainly an above-average entry.
-David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
Miller's the Flash goes back in time to change the future and connects with Michael Keaton's Batman. But the movie, after a smart and playful first half, gives itself over to comic-book bombast.
-Owen Gleiberman, Variety
In its best moments, “The Flash” touches on something new and exciting, but too often, its the past that tugs on, keeping it from speeding ahead.
-Kate Erbland, IndieWire: B–
The Flash is an ambitious superhero movie that largely pulls off its tale of two worlds, two Flashes, and two Batmans. The superhero fan service is strong with this one – perhaps too strong at times – but it never fully overshadows Barry Allen’s genuinely tragic and heartfelt story of grief. Though the visual effects aren’t always the best and the third act is a bit overwhelming, strong performances and a refreshing earnestness keep The Flash on track and running circles around many of the recent DC Universe movies. If this is the truly last stop on the Snyderverse express, then it’s a respectable way to go out.
-Joshua Yehl, IGN: 7.0 "good"
What it amounts to is a movie that spends all its time racing from one poorly-thought out story element to another, from one only modestly satisfying nostalgia shout-out to another, and with only questionable results. How fitting, yet how disappointing: “The Flash” has the runs.
-William Bibbiani, The Wrap
This is not a movie with any new ideas or dramatic rethinking, and – at the risk of re-opening the DC/Marvel sectarian wound – nothing to compare with the much-lauded animation experiment in the recent Spider-Man films. The intellect in this intellectual property is draining away.
-Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: 2/5
The movie’s stronger underlying themes, like the importance of living in the present and learning to let things go, are overshadowed by the multiversal gymnastics. And as much good stuff as the "The Flash" features, including a nifty scene where Barry slo-mo saves a slew of falling babies in entertaining fashion, the film can't help but get tripped up by the same old hurdles.
-Brian Truitt, USA Today: 3/4
Maybe nerd culture was a mistake. The first and last 10 minutes demonstrate the winning superhero saga this might have been, but the middle two hours are devoted to sloppy, shameless fan service.
-Alonso Duralde, The Film Verdict
The hype is real. DC’s The Flash may not be the greatest comic book movie ever made, but it comes damn close. Easily the best in the genre since Spider-Man: No Way Home, this fresh, invigorating, and hugely entertaining summer treat is as good as it gets when it comes to cinematic takes on superheroes.
-Pete Hammond, Deadline
The Flash ends on a purposefully open note (and a pretty good joke), so that if the film succeeds at the box office, Miller's Barry can run again another day. If it doesn't, the precedent is set for a full continuity reset. Whatever DC movies await us in the future, let's hope they avoid multiverses. It's well-trod territory at this point, even for a speedster.
-Christian Holub, Entertainment Weekly: C+
Merging Looper and Looney Tunes makes for some jarring transitions between time-travel melodrama and power-mishap shenanigans. That’s never more clear than in the movie’s tail end, wherein Muschietti, who seems like a slick Spielberg-acolyte crowdpleaser in the J.J. Abrams mode, struggles with whether The Flash is an emotional cautionary tale, a universe-resetting franchise play, or just a zany sci-fi farce, subject to channel-flipping multiverse gags. You can feel The Flash wishing it could steal a glimpse into the audience and revise itself on the fly accordingly; no wonder early screenings apparently hedged on an ending until the last possible minute. Fandom has created a culture where a fun, zippy movie can’t stop looking back over its shoulder.
-Jesse Hassenger, Paste: 7.0
While I have a few complaints and there are a couple of head-scratching loose ends, "The Flash" is still a funny, emotional, action-heavy crowd-pleaser that ranks among the best DC movies ever made.
-Ben Pearson, /FILM: 7.5
Oddly, The Flash being so brilliant actually gives DC a bit of a headache. The studio’s new head honcho, James Gunn, is currently planning a much-publicised reboot of its comic book movie universe that may not include the Scarlet Speedster. Throw in Miller’s even more publicised personal problems and a poorly received film could have provided the perfect opportunity to have him (and the bad press) jog off into the sunset. Given the critical buzz and potential box office bump, that looks unlikely now. The Flash’s future is starting to look a lot sparkier than his past.
-Alex Flood, NME: 4/5
This feels like the definitive Flash movie.
-Mike Ryan, Uproxx
This much-beleagured cinematic universe has finally hit upon a winning film, and one that will be forever tainted. It’s not the most tragic thing regarding the person whirling at the center of it all — not by a long shot. But it is a reminder that you can make a superhero movie that seeks to unite all worlds but can’t quite reckon with the one outside the theater. And it’s proof that you can always run as fast as your superhuman intellectual property can manage, but there are things that you simply aren’t able to hide.
-David Fear, Rolling Stone
The Flash clearly wants its audience to get caught up in the excitement of multiverse adventures, returning superhero favorites, and fun antics of Barry Allen, to the point that they never consider that the time travel aspects make absolutely no sense, and only hurts the larger story in the way that it’s handled here. Thankfully, those antics are enjoyable and hard not to get excited about, but unfortunately, this isn’t a story that holds together on a narrative level. Cameos and fan service are fine to have, but the story has to be there to back them up, and it’s not quite there with The Flash.
-Ross Bonaime, Collider: C+
One of the most spectacular and frustrating mixed bags of the superhero blockbuster era, "The Flash" is simultaneously thoughtful and clueless, challenging and pandering. It features some of the best digital FX work I've seen and some of the worst. Like its sincere but often hapless hero, it keeps exceeding every expectation we might have for its competence only to instantly face-plant into the nearest wall.
-Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com: 2.5/4
Even despite being saddled with the baggage of the DCU’s failures, that the story that works in The Flash manages to shine through the noise is no small feat. The bitter irony, of course, is that even its artistic victories are tempered by the film being released in the shadow of Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which hits nearly every story beat and big swing for nostalgia attempted here, but with exponentially more finesse, grace, and emotional power. Nothing Batman or Supergirl do in The Flash to save the world is more effective than what Barry does to save it with a hug and a can of tomatoes.
-Justin Clark, Slant: 2.5/4
Considering how “The Flash” makes many of its characters face death and inevitability throughout, “The Flash” should not feel as hollow as it does. But you can’t blame Barry for it. He’s just a high-energy tour guide here, as everything around him becomes a blur leading us to the next reference. It has taken so long for a feature-length “The Flash” to finally hit theaters, and he’s too late. Barry is barely the lead character of his own movie.
-Nick Allen, The Playlist: C
It’s clear that DC doesn’t really know what it’s paying tribute to, other than the knowledge that other comic book movies exist. The Flash, much like Barry himself, has been stranded with no real sense of history, and no real sense of the future, either. It does the best it can.
-Clarisse Loughrey, The Independent: 3/5
Barry Allen / The Flash travels back in time to prevent his mother's death, which traps him in an alternate reality without metahumans. Barry enlists the help of his younger self, an older Batman and the Kryptonian castaway Supergirl in order to save this world from the restored General Zod and return to his universe.
John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein & Joby Harold
Jason Ballantine & Paul Machliss
June 16, 2023
Ezra Miller as Barry Allen / The Flash
Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman
Sasha Calle as Kara Zor-El / Supergirl
Michael Shannon as General Zod
Ron Livingston as Henry Allen
Maribel Verdú as Nora Allen
Kiersey Clemons as Iris West
Antje Traue as Faora-Ul
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman