The Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t the only live-action superhero franchise exploring the multiverse in the near future. DC is also exploring the alternate dimensions angle with The Flash, with Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen exploring alternate realms in a narrative partly based on Flashpoint. We’ve known for nearly a year that both Michael Keaton’s and Ben Affleck’s versions of Batman might appear in the Scarlet Speedster’s standalone film, but it now appears that we might get both of them. But is that going to be enough to thrill and satisfy DCEU fans? Or are we about to have another Harley Quinn solo movie (more on that later), in other words, a dud of a bomb that no one ever asked for in the first place?
There’s no doubt about it, I was as excited as anyone at the prospect of seeing Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight again, but all of these studio negotiated nostalgia scratches aren’t enough to convince me that Ezra Miller is going to be an entertaining protagonist, or that the Flash is going to turn out to be a satisfying film.
Miller, who plays Credence Barebone in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, has also portrayed the Flash in the DCEU movie. He was originally cast as the Scarlet Speedster for a cameo appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before appearing in Justice League; Miller also appeared as the DCEU version of Barry Allen in the CW’s Arrowverse crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths. And yet even with all of these appearances, and a salvaged story arc in the Zack Snyder recut of Justice League, the fact remains that Ezra Miller was never all that popular with fans to begin with. In fact, most fans believe actor Grant Gustin is a far more favorable Flash than Miller.
Then there was the incident where he was caught on video choking a woman. Last April, a video surfaced involving actor Ezra Miller which enraged DCEU fans showing Miller choking a female fan before dragging her to the ground. While many initially thought it was a hoax, Variety reported that the clip has subsequently been confirmed as genuine. The brawl occurred in a bar in Reykjavik, Iceland, where Miller (who also uses they/them pronouns) frequents when he visit the country’s capital. According to the proprietor of the establishment, the actor had to be removed out of the bar afterwards (via Variety). A petition to remove Ezra from the Flash project quickly followed.
Haha ANYONE but Ezra – and I was so excited when he was first cast!
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) February 17, 2020
Even Grace Randolph, the popular the host and creator of Beyond The Trailer, who also gets a lot of insider information related to the entertainment industry, was initially sold on Ezra Miller as the Flash, but cryptically changed her mind on his involvement, and that change happened before the April 2020 assault incident. It should be noted that her stance appears to have softened in recent months.
But out of context smart phone videos, and Youtubers with opinions are only one red flag. It’s usually the production itself where a film lives or dies, and any movie that goes through multiple directors typically means it’s gonna be a hot mess.
And with this movie, there have been multiple directors and writers attached to the film, all leaving over creative differences, which isn’t all that unusual for a big movie, but this seems a bit much. The first script was written by Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, Chris Brancato, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim. Then in April 2015, a story treatment was being written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Then Seth Grahame-Smith wrote another script for the movie. Then Rick Famuyiwa was attached to direct. Then, in January 2017, Joby Harold was hired to do a page-one rewrite of the script, and the title for the film was changed to Flashpoint, based on the comic book story arc of the same name. Dan Mazeau was brought on as co-writer. Got all that?
The first first real signs of trouble began two years ago when former co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein left the film. The two initially came onboard to co-direct the Flash film after left. They announced they would be adapting the DC Comics crossover story arc Flashpoint. Their involvement in the film was announced in January 2018, but after a year and a half, around July 2019, it was announced that director Andy Muschietti would be taking over after Daley and Goldstein “moved on.” According to people familiar with the film, Daley and Goldstein resigned due to “creative differences” that cast a shadow over Flashpoint. Daley and Goldstein couldn’t come to terms with or work with Miller, who apparently caused difficulties by insisting on his own ideas for the role.
Before Muschietti was announced, it was widely reported that Miller was working on the script himself, with input from comic book veteran Grant Morrison. That’s also not a good sign, since actors aren’t usually good at writing their own movies. Eventually a writer with some experience scripting comic book films for the DCEU took over. Unfortunately that writer is none other than Christina Hodson, who wrote the screenplay for Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn and is also writing the upcoming Batgirl. Ugh.
The less said about this debacle, the better….
As a gay person myself, I don’t care about this, but it should be noted that some fans find his sexual identity to be unappealing. He’s very open about it, flamboyant even, so I can understand how his portrayal as a leading (heterosexual) man might become tainted by many moviegoers remembering who Miller actually is. Sometimes an actor can prevent the necessary suspension of disbelief from happening during a movie. It’s hard to forget some of the antics of Miller.
As for outright rejecting this film before it comes out, I think the chef’s kiss for me was when we learned who the real hero of the film. Nope. It isn’t going to be the Flash, or either version of the Dark Knight. Nope, it’s gonna be the original Mary Sue, a brand new, and equally unappealing Supergirl. Yes, Warner Bros is going all the way.
This movie is really starting to feel like one of those “hold my beer” jokes.