Well, we’re here — it’s the opening weekend of The Flash. We made it. The finish line has been crossed, and people will be actively seeing the film in theaters this weekend. Given that this film is drawing off of “Flashpoint” and the impending James Gunn/Peter Safran reboot of the DCEU, there were a lot of questions going into this film — some that I don’t think were left too ambiguous. Pivoting from that, the third act specifically featured a major question of ethics regarding likenesses.
Spoilers for The Flash post-credits scene are below. You have been warned.
Let’s tackle the inflection point of the third act. While multiple versions of The Flash are battling in front of many versions of the multiverse. No matter what happens, Supergirl and Michael Keaton’s version of Batman dies, and Zod takes over the world. It’s based on Barry Allen going back in time and changing the scenario at the grocery store, which allows his mother to be alive and his father not to be blamed for her murder.
While the Dark Flash, Young Flash, and our Barry Allen are fighting, we get other glimpses of other universes. It’s bizarre and a deep-cut easter egg, but a CGI render of Nicolas Cage as Superman shows up to fight a giant spider (a riff on a Tim Burton Superman take of what could have been). But there are also other renders of people who have passed away – George Reeves, Christopher Reeves, and Adam West. It’s a multiverse film, including Ben Affleck, George Clooney, and Michael Keaton’s Batman, Sasha Calle’s Supergirl, and General Zod characters. You have to expect some fan service.
However, it doesn’t feel right to bring these iterations of deceased actors out in a parade of “remember these people?” Especially when you consider how strong these portrayals were to elevate these characters in another medium (in some ways, WB can’t get past the Reeves Clark/Superman because it’s so good). But to parade their likeness in a Playstation 2-esque CGI suit is unbecoming of what their memories should be.
Let’s talk about the post-credit scene, which is also confusing. We see Barry Allen carry a drunk Aquaman outside a bar as he explains the film's events. Because he decided to alter the camera in the supermarket, his dad is a free man, but George Clooney’s version of Batman seems to be the main Caped Crusader in this timeline. Aquaman 2 is coming in December, but are we to believe that the Snyder Verse characters are in the Clooney verse? Would this be a way for the new Warner Brothers regime to keep these characters in play while trying to reboot the whole thing?
Well, only time will tell. The brief scene comes off more as a comedic footnote than anything concrete.