What Will The Flash Movie Be About?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated January 23rd, 2013 at 6:56 am,

the flash movie What Will The Flash Movie Be About?

With all the DC movie updates we got last week, the news that writer/producer Greg Berlanti might direct The Flash movie kind of got swept up in the current. However, when that news did drop, we got an interesting reaction from many of our Screen Rant readers: a number of them didn’t feel like The Flash movie had anything to offer.

After reading so many comments claiming that The Flash is a lame character, I just had to write a response. In my opinion, the sentiment that The Flash movie will have little depth or complexity to it couldn’t be more wrong. So let’s discuss: what will The Flash be about?


First of all, we need to establish which Flash we’re talking about.  The Flash has had more incarnations and copy-cat versions (some with multiple incarnations of the their own) than just about any other character in comic book history. We previously discussed which Flash is best for the movie; check out that discussion and weigh in if you’d like.

On the current Flash Family tree there is:

  • Jay Garrick (Golden Age Flash)
  • Barry Allen (Silver Age Flash)
  • Wally West (Kid Flash/Modern Age Flash)
  • Bart Allen (Impulse/Kid Flash #2)
  • Max Mercury (Quicksilver)
  • Johnny Chambers (Johnny Quick)
  • Jesse Chambers (Jesse Quick)

If you’re not familiar with The Flash comic book, time travel is a big part of the character’s mythology (his speed powers help him transcend both space and time), so there are actually even more variations of the character. The names I listed are what I would call the “primary speedsters” of the DC Universe; technically speaking, any one of the characters who have carried the Flash mantle (Garrick, Allen, West) are viable candidates for the forthcoming movie.

flash family What Will The Flash Movie Be About? Just some of The Flash Family

Comic book writer Geoff Johns has been in charge of The Flash comic book since 2000, and was also responsible for writing up a treatment for the movie, which he turned in to DC/Warner Bros. sometime in the Spring/Summer of ’09. When I asked Johns about his Flash treatment at Comic Con last year, this was his response:

“We’re caught up in a world that’s obsessed with speed these days. Texting, faster downloading… We’re always looking for ways to speed things up, it can be hard to slow ourselves down.”

Other comments made during that panel led me to believe that Johns’ treatment for the film had Silver Age Flash (and fan-favorite) Barry Allen at its center – which would make sense, since it was Johns’ reverence for Barry Allen that led him to resurrect the character more than two decades after his comic book demise (a record death length for a comic book hero, BTW).


Since resurrecting Barry Allen, Geoff Johns has done a major overhaul to the mythology of of The Flash – much the same way he did when he took over writing duties on Green Lantern. With both books, Johns managed to sweep away the increasingly absurd/cynical storylines that came with the 90s era, while still preserving the core values that have made Hal Jordan and Barry Allen enduring icons. Johns also took the prudent step of revising (not erasing) those campy sci-fi origin stories of the 40s/50s era, giving them more logical and weighted narrative dimensions.

the flash origin What Will The Flash Movie Be About?

In the case of The Flash, Barry Allen was originally portrayed as a forensic scientist working with the Central City police. One night while preparing to leave work, a mysterious bolt of lighting strikes a case of chemicals Allen is working with, spilling them on him and imbuing him with the ability to run at super speed.

That must’ve been a great origin story back in the day, but it’s a pretty thin premise for today’s savvy comic  book audiences. Johns has updated Allen’s origin, adding a brilliant backstory where Barry’s mother was murdered when he was young and his father was arrested as the prime suspect. It was the need to prove “what really happened” regarding his mother’s death that drove Barry into forensic science in the first place. In Johns’ revision, Barry is essentially a cop trying outrun the one injustice that forever plagues – and just like that, we have a strong foundation for a complex and interesting super hero protagonist.

flashstockpic1 What Will The Flash Movie Be About?

The Flash caught up in The Speed Force

Over the years it’s been revealed in the pages of Flash comics that there is a (sentient?) ‘Speed Force’ at work in the universe, which occasionally empowers individuals with the ability to move so fast that they can literally breach the limits of time and space. In the Geoff Johns era, Barry Allen has been brought into the epicenter of this Speed Force mystery and it has (for better or worse) become a central theme of his story. However, that same Speed Force storyline comes with the burden of a lot of time travel logistics.

For example: that fateful lighting bolt that struck Barry Allen and gave him his powers? Well, without going too far into The Flash’s history with time-travel (no pun), let’s just say it has been proposed that the lighting bolt was Barry Allen himself, using the Speed Force to set his own destiny in motion. See what I mean about the burden of time-travel? It’s a tricky device to shape a cinematic origin story around…

Continue for Flash movie story and villain ideas…

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  1. My only issue with this…I'm a Starman fanatic, I like the Shade better when he's NOT the villain XD

  2. My only issue with this…I'm a Starman fanatic, I like the Shade better when he's NOT the villain XD

  3. You can summarise every superhero in existence with one or two lines. But that doesn't mean you've fully explored their character. Barry Allen and Wally West(whichever one they choose) are both deep, multi-layered characters capable of supporting their own movies. And 'he can run fast'? Have the decency to use wikipedia at least, Aknot. Validating my previous comment..

  4. Well, technically my point is that there is sufficient material to make a good dramatic movie of the The Flash. Yeah, it'll be real tough with things like “The Speed Force” and time-travel to contend with. No Doubt.

  5. Well, technically my point is that there is sufficient material to make a good dramatic movie of the The Flash. Yeah, it'll be real tough with things like “The Speed Force” and time-travel to contend with. No Doubt.

  6. Im glad you like my attempt. Like i said it needs some “thickening” but overall for mass audience appeal i think this could go right. I do happen to believe the Shade could carry a movie as the sole villian. His Power Set is amazing as well as amazingly under used in the DCU. Usually hes presented as a low grade shadow Green Lantern with a cane. However when used to his actual full potential he can make shadow constructs ala GL, teleport through shadows, summon shadow demons, banish people to a shadow realm and much more…. Not to mention he is immortal. But for my treatment id ditch the cane and top hat, give him a armani-ish black suit, dark hair and blacked out eyes that all fade in and out like shadows when he moves. Id bring his power set to Shade constructs that he maintains by physical contact (example: Knives, spears, swords, hammers, ect.) Limited teleporting – from shadow to shadow in the same room or 100 yard radius…. No demons or Shadow Realm. But if you can imagine a Serial Killer/Rapist with those abilities, i think that would be a great 1st movie villain. Especially vs. a rookie Flash who doesnt know his own potential.

  7. Yeah i feel you. I too like the Starman treatment especially since they use his full potential as a powerful character. But I would take him as a villain if hes written tastefully, because well….. lets you and I face it. We'll never see a Starman Movie… even if they some how managed to get around to making one they would never get advanced enough into the story to make the Shade a “good” guy. Atleast here he'd be used in live action as a Awesome Villain.

  8. Bullet time from the Matrix was made for this movie. Satellite Shots. After Blurs and Shock Wave effects from Wanted. Id watch 2 hours of a man systematically dodging and ducking and out running obstacles. Vibrating through solid walls. Running up buildings, Running on water. Plus a Flash' perspective on the world in slo-mo would be classic. People will watch Superman fly and lift buildings. They watch Batman swoop out of the shadows and take down 50 men and still have enough left in the tank to take on the Joker. I wanna see the Flash outrun an explosion at pointblank range… Whisk away 20 hostages sitting in a circle about to be shot mob style by 8 gunmen surrounding them w/ AK's… and not one bullet touches them!… Run from Central City to LA to NYC and back in under a few minutes. I want to see the impact of a High-Speed Punch coming at you at about 700 mph from a mile away!!… or a guy get punched from head to toe over 500 times in 2 seconds flat!!! My friends tell me you wouldnt watch that and ill show you a Liar.

  9. How about a big “NO” on time travel? That sounds like “Jumper” and that whole “I'm over here and now I'm over there” junk is confusing and annoying.

    Also I love these villain names haha Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang?
    Also the pic of the “Flash family” with that little girl Flash… Meh… still kinda lame.

    I think it could be a good movie, but not nearly on the same level as Batman or the upcoming Green Lantern… It depends on who they get to be him I guess.

  10. “And 'he can run fast'? Have the decency to use wikipedia at least, Aknot. Validating my previous comment..”

    For The Flash? It is true ask any “Joe” that doesnt read comics and they will tell you… the Flash? oh he runs fast. I may know what the Flash can do you may know what the Flash can do but the average movie goer sees him as the guy that runs fast.

    So no I dont need to look up the Flash on Wiki. Thanks though. Again MOST PEOPLE know him as the guy that can run fast. You know like stretchy guy, flame dude and rock man.

  11. True enough, I have to agree with you there, but I have always held tight to my hopes that eventually we'll see a mini and/or animated series. It'd be pretty dang perfect. Ah, well, wishful thinking.

  12. If mainstream recognition why was Iron Man such a success? And Hancock? Like I said, all that matters is whether it's a good movie(and maybe whether it had any big stars). Word of mouth will do the rest. The Flash(again, if it's a good film) will become a mainstream hit eventually, even if it wasn't at the beginning, just like many other examples.

  13. I actually like the idea of Gorilla Grodd. I think he was Flash's main villain. The concept of a talking gorilla from another universe is a little convoluted, but he should still be in it somehow.

  14. Ironman was popular cause of cast and effects. That is what got people into the theaters.

    Hancock? Will Smith. (was that based on a comic hero?)

    Word of mouth will not detract people from saying oo yeah I know the Flash he runs fast no thanks.

    I dont think (MO) it can stand on its own yet. Especially if it is a disaster or not greatly liked it could have an impact on a JL film…

    JL first secondary characters next.

  15. Give The Flash his own animated movie first to test the waters!

  16. So with cast and effects Flash can be popular too? Thanks for clarifying.

  17. You're underestimating the intelligence of the average moviegoer. Word of mouth didn't make people say 'Iron man? Another rich guy in metal armor? No thanks I've already seen Batman.' The Flash can and will stand on its own as a movie, whether you like it or not.

  18. Whether I like it or not has any bearing on the matter. I like Flash (watched the TV series when it aired yeah im that old). Im a comic fan etc. However I dont think it will work. Never have I said I dont like it.

    Dont get your knickers in a bunch cause someone disagrees with you.

    I dont think it can stand on its own. Plain and simple. Regardless how many over reaching fan boys see it. Again my opinion.

    Would I see it? Damn right. (I see every SH movie no matter how bad) Doesnt mean it should be made. Have a super day and when it is made (b4 JL) feel free to post on my FB page. I will say you were right.

  19. As would be expected… I still think Flash would be a great franchise. And tho some people may just look at him and go oh yeah “the guy that runs fast”, im sure the trailers and word of mouth would intrigue people. By the way… I thought word of mouth was when you told someone about something they didnt know… So if ppl go “yeah the guy who runs fast” the W.o.M. part is where you explain his full powers and/or his story and the plot… yada yada, he heals fast… yada yada, he vibrates through solid objects… yada yada, he steals and gives kinetic energy… yada, in his eyes hes moving at normal speed and the world slows down….Atleast thats my understanding.

    Plus he has always been the most accessible SH out there next to Batman. Everyone wants to be The Flash. In reality hes a man who can do just about everything fast. As a outside non-comicbook person id want to see it cause id be like “what if i could do everything fast, what would that be like?”
    Brush your teeth, change clothes, clean your house, read a book, then run to work… all in under 10 min!!! Id love to see that!

    As for the Rogues… those listed above may not work (excluding Shade- See my earlier comments, I promise he'll work). But there are plenty that will- Cobalt Blue, Double Down, Murmur, Ragdoll, Heat Wave or even the Black Flash(Death)

    Save Zoom for part 2 and 3. He isnt the only threat in Central City… or Keystone for that matter.

  20. I wish people would stop recommending friggin' Chris Pine for EVERY “geek” movie being made now… He's just not that good. I'm in the minority I guess, but I thought he was terrible Captain Kirk. Easily the weakest link of the Trek movie (aside from the script, that is). Ryan Reynolds would've been a good Flash, but he's GL now. Bradley Cooper would be a good call.

    I think they'll do Barry Allen, but on the off chance they'd do Wally West I have an oddball choice: James Roday of “Psych”. He sort of looks the part as I imagine Wally (hair color aside, which isn't a big deal), and his wisecracking/smartass style would be perfect for Wally. He'd have to bulk up for the part, but otherwise I think he'd be a great Wally. Regardless, please… No Pine.

    I like the treatment that was posted earlier, and then if it's successful bring in Prof. Zoom for the sequel. Then go balls-to-the-wall and give us a Gorilla City movie for the third film. Word has it the producers of the old TV show (has it really been 20 years??) wanted to do Gorilla City had they gotten a second season. Not sure how it could've been done on a TV budget back then, but today it could be awesome.

    Anyhow… The old show did a nice job of trying to make the comic book villains (somewhat) more realistic, and even added a good villain of their own (Remember “Pike”?). With writer of Johns' calibur involved, I think a Flash movie/franchise could be in good hands. Not sure about the director though… What has this guy done to prove he can handle a big budget film like this? He's more a writer than director, isn't he? His writing credits don't even seem all that impressive to me.

  21. I have to agree that most of the television shows, short of Bixby and Ferrigno as the Hullk, pretty well crapped out in a hurry. But I did like the Flash. The villains were pretty lame, but the character of the Flash himself was pretty cool. If anything, I'd like to see a film not where he's taking out thugs or bank robbers, but some other super villain with super powers. Someone strong, so you could play the whole 'speed vs. strength' angle.

    I'm curious to see how this one pans out. I've read probably 10000 comics or more in my life, and there were very few DC characters I liked. I was a fan of Batman, and of The Green Lantern Corps, and I really liked Solomon Grundy. The Flash was pretty cool, but sort of a dork on his own and in the JLA. Keep us posted.

  22. i do have to say that the movie really has to state that The Flash has super speed, not just a guy who runs fast.

    The Flash can heal fast, he can run through solid matter, time travel, create tornadoes with his fists, vibrate fast enough to create an electric shock, etc.

    Stuff like that. not that he runs super fast.

  23. you keep saying that he 'runs super fast' which is something that The Flash can do, but he can do much more than that.

  24. For an Origins film which I assume this will be, they'd be better off using the Speed gimmick sparsely with his ability to use, better understand & master it improving as the movie progresses. The story should feture his character as the gifted Forensics Investigator (like CSI on steroids) who has this new super human ability that he is slowly grasping and learning how to use to take his investigation to the next level, past the point that Barry the Forensics Investigator guy can go. We should not see the full power or speed of the Flash super hero until the very last act/scene where Allen is forced to push himself to that level, to take the leap past what he has considered a line he dare not cross for fear of losing control. The abilities of the Flash should augment those of Barry the Forensic investigator.

    SPEED FORCE: Allen gets this after being trapped in a trap laid by the Trickster at an abandoned army research lab. Long story short Allen ends up getting infected with something that consists of 2 things. An alien virus and a man made serum that alters ones DNA. The alien virus alters Allen’s genetics so he heals almost instantly depending on the wound. The man made DNA thing ends up altering parts of his DNA so that his body, in effect loses its internal stop sign; that switch which tells his body, no faster, no taller, no heavier, no harrier. Normally this results in a man destined to die a horrible and disfigured death (as the military found out just before it shut the project down) but for Allen the 2 combine to produce that 1 in a Trillion that works. The virus repairs what the serum damages with the end result being a human being without any limits on that which he chooses and since Allen is always about the chase, to catch his parents killer, this transforms into increased movement, all over his body at his will producing the Flash.

    VILLIANS: The tricksters is the first of 2 villains and is a psychotic serial killer with a thing for using what are normally innocent looking toys (like a hand buzzer) as dangerous devices or torture. The Tricksters trademark is to lure people in with novelty tricks that have been altered to produce deadly results. Examples: The no tear toilet paper roll conceals a packet of shared glass wrapped in a miniature pipe bomb; the tobgue staining gum is laced with acid that east thru human tissue; you get the drift. This is a sick dude who is far from the corny or campy Trickster in the comic books.

    The second and final villain in the film is the Mirror Master. A brilliant physicist who after the tragic death of his own daughter has slipped into madness, convinced he can get his daughter back by traversing reality and snatching her from the afterlife. He is obsessed with find a way, using light and mirrors to bend time & space to cross over from our world into the next life.

    THE THIRD ACT: The big finale has Allen able to achieve and control %75 of what he is capable of and he gets pushed across that barrier when forced to choose between his own safety and the life of an innocent. The mirror master does manage to break the barrier between this world and the next but the next is not the afterlife but an alternate reality to our own. In this alternate reality he sees an identical copy of himself but this version of him has crossed the line that all in law enforcement walk, chasing down the bad guys without becoming one. He sees what he would become if he were to abuse the gift he has been given and he doesn’t like what he sees. This alternate reality is a desolate world, dark and eerie. The Barry Allen there has, in a fit of rage to find his parents killer, has all but destroyed it leaving death & destruction in his path of supersonic speed. The thing about being the fastest man alive is being aware that everyone else is not and how fragile things can become when you are moving at such great speeds. This worlds Flash crossed that line and now the world pays for it.

    In the end the flash of our world must choose between finding the answer to who killed his parents, which the mirror master knows and stopping the alternate Flash from crossing over and destroying this world as he has his own.

    That’s my 202 cents worth :)

    I just borrowed a friends back issues of the new Flash series and now after reading this I am very much looking forward to reading them.

  25. And you didnt read everything I posted… 😉 I know what the Flash can do. Ive been reading/collecting for awhile. Im just comparing it to what the general populace “sees”. The ones that are not soun up like we are.

    When a movie is made it needs to “appeal” to a lot more then just us. I just dont think (and could be wrong) the Flash could get the audience on his own. Put him in the JL FIRST showcasing what he can do. THEN give him his own movie.

  26. I'm willing to bet a few years ago you would never have thought Iron Man and Thor could stand out as solo movies. Again, name recognition isn't everything. There's tons and tons of evidence to back this up, namely every movie ever that was an original script or adapted from somthing obscure.

  27. Ironman…. meh.. Thor if done right will always be a “rich” movie just because of the mythology in general behind it.

    Ironman… again I can go back to Rockem Sockem Robots… a simple concept and one that has been around for a long time of either people inside mech armor fighting or people controling robots for fighting.

    Dont get me wrong im not saying Flash is a “lame” character. Im just saying the Joe movie goer sees it as a man running fast. To have him strike out on his own w/o showcasing (See what I did there? no really did you get that joke? anyone?) him first in the JL to me is a mistake. Let the people have a “taste” of him and touch on some of the stuff he can do to garner interest.

    Thats all im saying.

  28. I see your point on some of the details of a Flash movie, but honestly alot of that seems like too much for 1 movie… especially a Origin movie. And it kinda strays a lil too far from the true origin for my taste and probably most FB's out there. Sounds kinda like a generic fast-guy Flash Rip-off…. No Offense… Just Saying.

    I personally think Trickster and Mirror Master arent the best villains for the job. Trickster would come off as a poor mans Joker(Jack Nicholson, Czar Romano Versions), and Mirror Master is just a really big hassle to explain his abilities and M.O., especially while trying to establish Barry.

    I agree that Barry's powers should blossom from his Forensics Analysis and investigations but I think its a lil more realistic(and fun) for him to jump to about 40-50% of his potential. I mean if you in real life figured out you could move, read and think faster than anyone, your gonna try and take it to your max.

    Just my thoughts tho.

  29. The Flash character seemed overly hokey. I had no interest in this character at all before the article here, but now I see this as coming off in only two ways – either geared for gritty science fiction adults, or make it fun and silly for the kiddies. I don't believe the Flash can be created to appeal to a wide range of demographics successfully.
    Since I never read the comics, I dont have any idea how the story was told – if it was whimsical or serious…….

    I just read up on many of the character from Flash stories and this one would be a difficult one to pull off in my opinion.

    Maybe this is one superhero they could rewrite completely and make this more of a hard-hitting scifi like was done with District 9, making the Flash and his enemies with a tone of tragic horror.