Speed, Nostalgia, and Awkwardness

The funniest gag in The Flash happens in an alternate timeline and involves the infamous Eric Stoltz cut of Back to the Future. Stoltz was replaced (of course) by Michael J. Fox partway through production when the creative team didn’t think Stoltz fit the part. It’s ironic then – The Flash exists in its own alternate timeline where Ezra Miller was wrongly cast in the lead role, except that’s the version we got in this universe.

That’s not in reference Miller’s off-screen behavior, deplorable and embarrassing as that is. This is strictly on-screen, where the needed charisma to play Barry Allen is there, but Miller comes off as hopelessly forced and inauthentic, playing an awkward teen-ish superhero… awkwardly. He’s peak introvert, placed in front of the camera and asked to do non-introvert things but can’t seal the authenticity. Or at least, that’s how it appears on screen.

Underneath this movie Flash is a strong, worthwhile script that’s worth producing

Miller’s bad vibes are stitched together with obvious nostalgia. A little after after Marvel drew applause for mixing multi-verse Spider-Men in No Way Home, The Flash tries the exact same thing, expecting the same response. It’s too designed and obvious to work, the type of thing drawn on a board room whiteboard during a committee meeting, with lots of lines connecting each point to solve the Marvel formula, as if this were some mathematical equation.

Being honest, yes, it’s fantastic to see Michael Keaton in a bat suit again, to hear the iconic Danny Elfman theme, and to explore other bizarre what-ifs in the DC cinematic history. The script nails a number of gags dead on, producing laughs that make it easier to stick with Miller’s stiff performance. Every seam is evident though, as if watching a series of contract negotiations (with both actors and their families), while executives cheer as their money allows them to reveal numerous likenesses through surreal, imprecise CG effects. But, they never understood the why of it – why Spider-Man worked as it did, which was lucky post-pandemic timing as much as execution.

Outside of the humor, Barry Allen’s struggles and emotional scars from his mother’s passing work wonderfully, even better than The Flash TV series, and that had season upon season to build on that same story point. Underneath this movie Flash is a strong, worthwhile script that’s worth producing. Then came the panic about Ezra Miller, and the desperation to off-set it. That’s where The Flash went awry.


A 4K source helps this Blu-ray presentation, even if the uneven encode struggles a bit with a faux grain structure; typically that’s a background problem, but does slightly erode the top-end texture in spots, however minor. Otherwise, the definition looks wonderful, the sharpness on-point, and the clarity runs high.

Color often shifts the palette, sometimes flatter grays and blues, other times hyper-vibrant (especially the speed running, with yellow sparks and the intense red suit). Scenes can offer pastels, cold teals, and other stylistic choices.

The Flash looks hyper-bright much of the time, assuming the scene in question isn’t at night (although highlights still stand out). Interiors reach a point where they intentionally clip and frequently to add a dream-ish touch. Superior black levels help give The Flash outstanding depth.


Things start with a hearty low-end from various engines, Barry’s super speed, and collapsing buildings. It’s satisfying, thick, and deep in range. Zod’s attack on Metropolis, dropping debris and beam weapons, is sensational. Excellent stuff.

Directionality bounces all around this Dolby Atmos track, including the heights. Especially prominent, even amid the action, is the score, beautifully sweeping into every speaker. Gunshots and vehicles pan between each channel with accuracy expected of a production at this scale. Sparks from super speed whip overhead and behind whenever activated. Russian winds cut through the soundstage in a fantastic ambient touch.

What’s missing is volume, the mix pinched in the top end. The Flash needs a little extra bite there, the kick lacking. Still, it’s an overall excellent track, but a point off from the best.


A better-than-usual 36-minute making of has personality and energy. That’s well worth watching. A peak at Keaton’s return and another on Supergirl follow. A scripted podcast and a look at the recording session/making of is less than two-minutes long.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Flash (2023)
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There’s no denying The Flash contains numerous, entertaining moments, but it’s let down by the obvious, forced nostalgia and its star.

User Review
4.5 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 49 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

One thought on "The Flash (2023) Blu-ray Review"

  1. The Phantom Stranger says:

    I believe the movie’s box office potential was decimated before release with Gunn announcing his entire reboot of all DC films. The bad publicity for its star didn’t help, a controversial casting choice even before Ezra’s problems came to light.

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