A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The biggest messages are about importance of team-building and working with others for the greater good, plus recognizing when you must let go/sacrifice a personal desire for the sake of the common good. Barry is shown (both by his younger self and the alternate Batman) how to come to terms with the fixed moments in time that he can't change and why the totality of people's childhoods and pasts, including their pain and trauma, inform who they become. The power of rescuing those who are defenseless/innocent, regardless of their background (or even whether they're human), is also a message. Themes of courage, self-control, perseverance, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
Barry and Batman (in any timeline) are selfless and brave, but they also have to learn to communicate, to work together to highlight each other's strengths, to defer to one another depending on circumstances. Kara Zor-El is a strong role model who's willing to fight for humanity after being saved by Barry and Batman. Both Barrys have to come to terms with their limitations and how their superpower has the ability to save -- but also to destroy.
Most main characters are White (Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, etc.), and most are men. Lead actor Miller is nonbinary and plays a male character. Two female superheroes: Wonder Woman (Israeli actor Gal Gadot, briefly seen), and, more prominently, Supergirl/Kara Zor-El (Sasha Calle, who is of Colombian descent). Barry's mother is a White Spanish-speaking woman (her nationality is unnamed, but actress Maribel Verdú is from Spain). Barry's love interest is Iris West (Kiersey Clemons), a Black reporter with a small but important supporting role.
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Violence & Scariness
Several different forms of violence, including the disturbing recollection of Barry's childhood trauma: his mother's death from a fatal stab wound, his innocent father going to prison for it. Batman and The Flash engage armed thieves in a tank in a street pursuit that leads to explosions, injuries, and presumed deaths (fairly high body count). At one point, The Flash has to save several newborn babies and their nurse, who've fallen from a high-rise hospital that's crumbling into a sinkhole. Although they all survive (as does a therapy dog that also fell), it's a tense scene. A mysterious villain throws Barry out of his known timeline into an alternate universe, wreaking havoc on the timelines and forcing Barry to relive Zod's invasion of Earth. Barry, Barry, and Batman use their combined forces to rescue a Kryptonian being who's tortured and starved by the Russians, leading to a huge shoot-out and multiple injuries/deaths. Other large-scale violent scenes similarly involve a battle between the Justice League forces and evil aliens (Zod's lackeys). (Potential spoiler alert!) Heartbreaking scenes involving Barry and his alternate Barry and Barry and his mother at the end of the movie.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
While holding the Lasso of Truth, Barry says he understands what sex is but has never had it. He's interested in Iris, but they don't do more than briefly have a beer together. The alternate-timeline Barry has an obvious crush on Kara. Wonder Woman and Batman stare at each other lingeringly. Nonsexual partial nudity in a sequence when the second Barry realizes that using superspeed can leave him naked. His entire torso, legs, sides, and butt are visible. He covers up his genitals with cookware, hands, etc.
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One prominently featured (but humorously deployed) "Who the f--k is this?"; frequent use of "s--t," plus "d--k," "bats--t," "big scrotum," and more.
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Products & Purchases
On screen: Mercedes, BMW, iPhone, Apple, Mac, Puma shoes, Twinkies, Kikkoman soy sauce. Off-camera merchandising includes apparel, games, toys, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink occasionally (wine or beer). A character does a shot of unspecified liquor at a bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Flash is part of the DC Extended Universe and is based loosely on the comic Flashpoint, when Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) travels into the past of an alternate timeline to prevent his mother's death. That decision wreaks timeline havoc, so Barry must work with his alternate younger self, as well as other members of the Justice League who exist in that timeline, to fix it. Expect lots of comic book-style action violence, including explosions, military-grade weapons, lethal alien technology, and, of course, Bruce Wayne/Batman's cache of high-tech vehicles, weapons, and gadgets. The body count is fairly high. The movie also explores mature themes about how trauma and the past shape people and shouldn't be tampered with. Language is occasionally strong, with "s--t" used the most frequently, plus "d--k" and one humorously deployed "f--k." There's not much romance, though it's clear Barry is interested in Iris West (Kiersey Clemons), and two other characters briefly make eyes at each other. Nonsexual partial nudity includes a funny sequence in which the second, younger Barry realizes that using superspeed will cause his clothes to fall off, leaving him naked in public spaces. He uses his hands and other available accessories to cover his genitals while his torso, side, and buttocks are visible. Characters drink occasionally. The movie's biggest messages are about the importance of team-building and working with others for the greater good, as well as recognizing when you must let go/sacrifice a personal desire for the sake of that good. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This time-traveling, nostalgia-filled adaptation of Flashpoint is entertaining and benefits from Keaton's standout supporting performance. The two Barrys are amusing to watch, particularly because the original Barry is fairly socially awkward, while the younger Barry is somewhat spoiled and easygoing (having not been burdened by his mother's death and father's subsequent false imprisonment). The two develop a surprising chemistry as they try to track down Batman and Superman and do something that seems impossible. Three memorable female cast members also offer impactful supporting performances: Kiersey Clemons as Iris West; Maribel Verdu as Barry's mother, Nora Allen; and newcomer Sasha Calle as Kara Zor-El (aka Supergirl). But this is definitely the story of the two Barrys -- and, later, their camaraderie with Batman.
Andy Muschietti directs, based on Christina Hudson's script, which ramps up the pop-culture references and nostalgic bits. There are several jokes about how the original Barry's time travel has created a world in which all of the Brat Pack actors swapped signature movie roles. Keaton's appearance is also nostalgic, of course, and there are a host of Easter eggs and cameos that will make audiences either applaud, laugh, or roll their eyes, depending on how they feel about the sentimentality of the sequence. While Miller's two roles complement each other, it's difficult to talk about the actor without acknowledging the many accusations and criminal allegations that have been made against them. The DC Extended Universe is reportedly not going to recast the role, even though all the time travel makes the Flash an easy character to consider for that strategy. And a few of the scenes are a bit cringey to watch given the nature of the charges against Miller, but ultimately they're largely outshined by the movie's crowd-pleasing elements.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.