Fans of the fastest man alive ought to poise themselves to race to the theaters because DCEU’s The Flash (2023) is set to be released on June 16, 2023, in the United States. It’s worth noting that premiere dates might vary depending on the locale or region, though you can expect it around the same week as June 16.
Prior to the global release, The Flash also had an advanced screening in Los Angeles, California, US, on June 12, 2023.
The film, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and directed by Andy Muschietti, has experienced several delays due to directorial changes, COVID-19, and multiple post-production setbacks, along with some controversies involving the show’s main star, Ezra Miller.
Pre-production for The Flash commenced as early as 2020, and filming began back in 2021. With a budget of around $220 million, The Flash is now finally ready for its theatrical run with a runtime of 144 minutes.
What is The Flash (2023)?
So the big question is, must you have watched the previous DCEU films before delving into The Flash? The safe answer is that you likely don’t need to be a semi-pundit of Snyderverse (old DCEU spearheaded by Zack Snyder) movies. The films that presumably preceded The Flash would be:
- Man of Steel
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
- Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Several spinoffs, such as the Wonder Woman and Aquaman films, also count here. But the good news for newcomers to The Flash is that it’s supposedly safe to treat The Flash as a standalone film.
The DCEU is poised to reset or reboot itself with a new creative helm, James Gunn (director of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy). The Flash will thus act as some kind of transition for this film universe reboot since he’s well-known as one of the few superheroes in the DC comics and animated universe to be able to manipulate time and even affect the past and the future.
At the same time, you can also treat The Flash as some kind of origin story for the titular character as well as a standalone movie due to its narrative structure.
The Story So Far…
As a preface to the synopsis, it needs to be said that any story involving DC’s The Flash character tends to toy with time travel and comic book science about alternate universes; so by nature, it’s convoluted and perplexing at times. That’s exactly what The Flash film wanted to tackle.
DCEU’s The Flash (Barry Allen version) always carried a psychological burden due to his mother’s death, so he travels back in time in an attempt to prevent his mother’s death.
Those who have watched Zack Snyder’s Justice League might remember that The Flash discovered this capability of time travel after helping his newfound team of superheroes saves the world against Steppenwolf.
Conflicts arise after Barry unwittingly creates an alternate reality following his timeline jump. In this alternate universe, General Zod is once again threatening Earth with an extinction event, and it’s up to Barry and his other self in the alternate reality he’s created to set things straight again in a more orderly timeline.
Thankfully, he won’t be alone since Supergirl, one of The Flash’s most notable allies in the comic books, is also present here somehow. Moreover, The Flash will once again be unceremoniously mentored by not just one but two versions of Batman.
Ben Affleck will reprise his role as one of the Batmen. His jaded and pragmatic Batman was one of the highlights of the Synderverse films, and he once again acts as a stoic ally and teacher to Barry.
Meanwhile, Michael Keaton and his version of Batman from the 1989 film Batman will also be brought into the fray as some kind of love letter for the fans and as another helping hand for The Flash. His version of the Dark Knight is notable for capturing the vigilante’s eccentricity and mystery.
It’s hard to say who belongs to which reality, future, or universe since this is a The Flash story, and timelines are constantly being toyed with. For all we know, there might be a secret villain reveal. After all, one of the chief inspirations for The Flash movie was the Flashpoint comic book story arc which also involves a similar Flash conundrum with time travel.
A Secret Villain?
What appeared to be one of the Flash’s most distinct enemies, Dark Flash was spotted in the trailers by eagle-eyed fans. Dark Flash is apparently the movie adaptation of the comic book’s Black Flash, which acts like some kind of grim reaper for DC’s resident speedsters, particularly those who keep messing with the past and the future.
Some fans also argue that this dark figure could be Zoom or Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne), which is The Flash’s most troublesome and malevolent enemy. Like The Flash, Zoom or Reverse Flash has the capacity to alter timelines and change realities– sometimes out of spite just to cause misery for Barry Allen.
Those are just heavy speculations, of course. For all we know, that dark speedster figure with the red lightning around him could be a new character or an amalgam of The Flash’s speedster enemies.
Beyond that dark speedster figure, there’s one sure enemy, which is General Zod, played once again by Michael Shannon, reprising his role from Man of Steel.
Will The Flash Introduce James Gunn’s New DCEU?
That’s an even bigger and more important question, but apparently, The Flash wasn’t originally meant to reset the DCEU. It likely just fell in the right time frame for the whole franchise and coincided with James Gunn’s reboot of the film universe.
Still, The Flash and its time-travel storyline allowed James Gunn to cherry-pick which portions of the DCEU will be reset or rebooted and which new pieces will be introduced to the film universe. It could also allow for some lesser-known comic books to be adapted.
Hence, The Flash won’t be a full reset button to act as a slate-wiper for the DCEU. It will, however, be a bridge to the old (Snyderverse) and the new DCEU (James Gunn). That should retain more chances for old DCEU actors and characters to come back, assuming legal entities and filmmakers are open to the possibility.
But for now, there’s only one way to confirm how The Flash will act as this bridge for the DCEU transition, and that is to watch the film. Again, it’s set to premiere in the US and more or less worldwide in theaters on June 16, 2023.