The Flash is a solid entry into the ever growing pantheon of DC Comics titles on television. It’s a well intentioned super-drama with good special effects, but it’s let down by flat visuals which fail to give the show a distinctive visual sheen and the fact it’s nowhere near as good as the early 1990s TV show of the same name. Grant Gustin (great name for a superhero, bad choice as an actor) plays Barry Allen, the Central City cop who moonlights as the super fast, superhero The Flash. Struck by lightning and covered by chemicals, Allen becomes a costumed avenger, fighting crime and a selection of ‘metahumans’ to keep his city safe.
As a show, The Flash is good, but it’s not great. Gustin just doesn’t have the gravitas to portray a superhero and he looks like a teenager, not an iconic comic book hero. It’s not helped that his father on the show is played by John Wesley-Shipp, the man who portrayed the 1990s interpretation of The Flash. That show is a Movies In Focus favourite, with the cinematography and costuming being infinitely better than what is on display here. That might sound harsh, but the 1990s Flash had a serious amount of visual panache that just couldn’t be replicated on the CW Network. The music by Blake Neely is good, but it doesn’t match the work down by Danny Elfman and Shirley Walker for the ‘90s incarnation.
The Flash suffers from trying to be too populist, going for the young audience rather than depth. It doesn’t have the sense of fun that Supergirl has, or the sense of adventure that its spin-off Legends of Tomorrow displays. It’s not serious, but it sits in a nether world of tonal mediocrity. Again, this sounds like I’m being overly harsh, but I just think that The Flash could have been better. In fact, the series’ best moments come from the nods to its predecessor, with Mark Hamill once again taking on the role of The Trickster, a Joker-like foil to our masked hero.
I’m judging The Flash against its 1990s counterpart. That’s unfair, but I think this comic book show is unfortunately a step back from what we were given a quarter of a century ago.
A plethora of short but sweet mini-documentaries, along with gag reels, deleted scenes and a 30 minute Paley Fest catch-up with the cast and crew. This blu-ray packaged is a detailed and well presented look at The Flash. Great stuff if you love the show.