“THE GUY WHO RUNS REALLY FAST”
The biggest complaint people seem to have about The Flash movie is that it will essentially be about ‘a guy who just runs really fast.’ Aside from some cool bullet-time-style action sequences, people don’t see how there can be sufficient dramatic weight for a feature-length Flash movie.
Well, we’ve already established that there is a great starting block to launch from – Barry Allen as a cop trying to “outrun” injustice. In that context, The Flash’s super-speed really becomes a metaphor for one man’s desire to right a wrong that was done to him; if Barry can be everywhere at once, fighting crime, he can stop the kind of thing that scarred him from scarring anybody else. Like the incarnation of The Flash we saw in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come graphic novel, the scarlet speedster can be a one-man army for justice, provided he never slows down.
But never slowing down causes its own problems in life (as Geoff Johns stated) – namely the inability to form relationships or find love (Barry’s longtime lover/wife Iris West is sure to be a part of the movie). Starting to see where the makings of a good dramatic Flash movie might be found?
Barry and Iris
Of course, spending a whole movie exploring one man’s super-speedy quest to right injustice isn’t enough without a good villain to interrupt his efforts. And this is another area where The Flash is facing an uphill battle in the eyes of the average movie goer.
People know that Superman has a Lex Luthor. Batman has the Joker. But what about The Flash? Who is Barry Allen’s nemesis? Well, I’ll tell you: it’s the nefarious NOBODY KNOWS.
Comic book fanboys are familiar with names like Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, The Trickster, Weather Wizard, Shade or Gorilla Grodd. However, if you’ve never read a Flash comic, those rogues I mentioned might come across as cheap B-movie knockoffs of other super heroes/villains – or in Grodd’s case, an invention too absurd for a sensible movie plot (a telepathic gorilla from gorilla world?).
The Flash Rogues
The Flash movie needs a good villain. My advice? Why stray from the golden road currently being paved by Geoff Johns? Why not go with Professor Zoom, a.k.a. Eobard Thawne, a.k.a the second villain to wear the mantle of “The Reverse-Flash.”
In the comics, Thawne started out as a guy from waaaay in the future (The 25th Century) whose obsession with the present-day Flash led him to copy his powers. During one of his many sprints through time, Barry Allen discovered Professor Zoom and defeated him, which created a bitter rivalry between the two. Over the course of that rivalry, Zoom has inflicted serious tragedy upon Barry’s life and even forced Barry to cross a line that no hero should (I won’t SPOIL the details for you).
During the Geoff Johns era, Professor Zoom has grown to be the primary villain of The Flash comic. We’ve learned that Zoom has always been striking at Barry and his descendants, up and down the timeline. As a potential movie villain, Zoom can do everything Barry can do; he can go anywhere Barry can go and has totally opposing goals, spreading crime and murder as fast as Barry can prevent them.
In terms of the emotional narrative of Barry Allen – a man trying to outrun injustice – Zoom would be the most effective rogue to have onscreen, in my opinion. If need be, Zoom’s origin could certainly be revised and changed from its time travel roots (which may be the best route to go, avoiding all the time-jumping madness).
That’s it for me: I’ve laid down a good foundation for a Flash movie and even sprinkled in some seeds that will hopefully get you thinking. Should the movie steer clear of time-travel? It would be easier, sure – but then, being able to outrun the limits of time and space are part of The Flash’s powers, so… it’s a tough call to make.
The logistical details still need to be worked out, but there is certainly enough there for an interesting take on an engaging character. Remember guys and gals: once upon a time, long ago, nobody thought that Iron Man would be interesting enough to carry an entire movie…
Artwork Sources: Ethan van Sciver (hat tip to Speed Force), Michael Turner, Ken Lashley, Scott Kollins, Andy Kubert & Jonathan Passow,