The Flash—Barry Allen (Ezra Miller)—helps Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince—Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)—stop a robbery. Afterwards, he revisits his childhood home, remembering his mother Nora (Maribel Verdu) and his father Henry (Ron Livingston) before his father was wrongly imprisoned for Nora’s murder. Overcome by emotion, Barry accidentally travels back in time to earlier in the day and informs Bruce Wayne of his desire to travel back and save his mother. Bruce warns him not to do it, but he travels back to the day of Nora’s death and prevents it.
On his way back to the present, he is knocked out of the Speed Force by another speedster and ends up in an alternate world where his mother is alive. He finds his past self on the day when he originally obtained his powers. Together, the two Barry Allens go to the Central City Police, where Barry arranges for the other Barry to be struck by lightning, as he was. This works but the original Barry loses his powers. He tries to teach the new Flash how to use his new-found powers and they see a broadcast by Kryptonian arch-criminal General Zod (Michael Shannon), who is about to invade Earth.
The Barrys try to assemble the Justice League but cannot locate Wonder Woman, Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) is not Cyborg yet, and Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) or Aquaman was never born. They travel to Wayne Manor to recruit Batman but find an older Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) who is retired. But they convince him to help them find Kal-El. They do find a Kryptonian pod in a Russian prison but find Kara Zor-El (Sasha Calle) or Supergirl inside, who helps by flying Barry into a storm so he can be struck by lightning, reviving his speedster powers.
Kara, Bruce Wayne, and the two Barry’s fight Zod in a long and rather overwhelming battle. In the process, they learn that Zod killed the infant Kal-El, so Superman never lived. Zod kills Supergirl and Bruce Wayne as well. The two Barrys travel back in time but cannot change the fate of their companions. Multiple versions of many DC heroes pop up again and again until the Multiverse begins to collapse in on itself.
The dark speedster who originally knocked Barry out of the speedforce returns as an older version of himself, who becomes angry when Barry decides to let his mother die to save the universe. The dark speedster tries to kill him but kills the wrong Barry, wiping himself out of the timeline. In the end, Barry restores the timeline, losing his mother, though he changes enough to prove his father’s innocence. Returning to the present, he finds Bruce Wayne changed. In post-credits, he tells a drunken Arthur Curry about his adventures.
The film was directed by Andy Muschietti from a screenplay by Christina Hodson. Many directors came and went during production. It was inspired by the Flash Comics storyline Flashpoint. It was delayed by Covid and other problems and finally appeared in 2023. It was praised for its plot, action sequences, some genuine emotion, and performances, with Ezra Miller and Michael Keaton particularly admired (they are great) but criticized for substandard visual effects and its third act. I had no problem with that. There are cameos by Nicholas Cage, and George Clooney as variations of Bruce Wayne. There were computer-generated appearances of Christopher Reeves, Helen Slater, Adam West, and George Reeves, and there is an appearance of the Flash as originally drawn by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert in Flash Comics #1.
Ezra Miller got in trouble with the law and there were calls for his ouster, but of course, he was the entire movie, so Warner Brothers arranged for his head-shrinking and went with the film. Ben Affleck actually enjoyed making this movie after the horror of Justice League. Michael Shannon did not want to be in it until Zack Snyder gave his blessing. I loved the Flash in Justice League as I liked him in the comics and on TV. His quirky motor-mouth seems perfectly in sync with his character. I liked him here too, and the multitude of Bruce Waynes and Supermans were a real hoot. Lately, DC (with Aquaman and Wonder Woman) has almost got it, and this one gives me some hope of a worthy rival to Marvel. Why they could not do a third Wonder Woman, however, is a mystery. All she does now is pop into other people’s movies, with her own music, and show how it’s done.