Somewhere The Rock is laughing and laughing. The Flash made less in its opening weekend ($55.1M) than Black Adam did ($67.8M), and we all know Black Adam was a colossal flop. The Flash is expected to make $350M worldwide (less than Black Widow, a movie that opened in the middle of the pandemic) and that is nowhere near recouping the costs of the film, somewhere in the $300 million range. (A movie has to make about twice what it cost to go into the black.)

It’s the penultimate chapter in the strange saga of the DCEU, not to be confused with the DCU, which is coming up in ’24 and beyond. The DCEU was conceived as WB’s answer to the MCU,  an interconnected universe of films, with the “Snyderverse” Justice League cast at its core. But nothing went according to plan. 

The Ezra Miller-starring The Flash was originally announced all the way back in 2014 (nine years ago!) with an original release date of 2018. In those nine years, the film underwent director after director, and delay after delay, as run down in the Ringer:

Seth Grahame-Smith was originally attached to the project before exiting over creative differences; Rick Famuyiwa was next up until he left because of, you guessed it, creative differences; the Game Night duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein then took the reins and, you’re not going to believe this, creative differences led to their departure. The good news: Warner Bros. finally found someone who would stick around in Andy Muschietti, who directed both films in a two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s It. The bad news: Deadline reported last year that an unnamed comic book adaptation set to come out in 2023 had supposedly gone through 45 (!) different writers in the development process. Given its notoriously troubled history, all signs point to that movie being The Flash. (If it’s any consolation, The Flash has only one credited screenwriter in Christina Hodson, who was responsible for Bumblebee and Birds of Prey, which are both delightful blockbusters.)

The original scheme for The Flash to spin out of a splendid Justice League movie ended when Justice League was a disaster in 2017, but Warner Bros. pushed on, for reasons that no one has really explained except blind hope, maybe. As recounted by Movieweb, the original 2018 release date was scrapped when a director couldn’t be found. Once-planned director Rick Famuyiwa went so far as to make at appearance at the 2017 Comic-Con panel that announced the plans for the DCEU, but he soon dropped out, and the movie was taken off the schedule for two years.

When eventual director Andy Muschietti signed on in 2019, the film was given a summer 2022 release date. Of course, then things happened, including the rise of the Sn•derbros, the Ray Fisher controversy, and a global pandemic. Ezra Miller’s record of erratic and illegal activities wouldn’t begin until the 2020 video of them choking a woman emerged, but their real troubles began during the pandemic, too late to recast.

As the years dragged on, Warners changed hands to AT&T, and the entire superhero film slate floundered in the wake of the Snyder-Joss Whedon disaster, the MCU continued to rake, and The Flash was moved to a November 2022 release date. It was also originally set to come out AFTER Aquaman 2. However, more delays led to everything being pushed back even further, into 2023, with Aquaman 2 now coming out AFTER The Flash, meaning a whole bunch of cameos by various Batmans had to be shuffled around.

Does any of this make sense? This timeline as as confusing as the one Barry makes in the movie!

With all of this time and effort invested in the film, the folks at WB – now helmed by David Zaslav – had no choice but to press bravely on, even when the January announcement of the whole new DCU plan led by James Gunn and Peter Safran meant that this whole timeline was about as relevant as the left over pizza in the bottom of your fridge.

Zaslav and Gunn stepped manfully to the hype breach, including a constant drumbeat of scooper tweets saying “The Flash tested well in a screening” and Gunn declaring it “one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.” The entire movie was shown at CinemaCon, to an encouraging response, and test scores continued to be waved around…until we arrive at the present day and a Cinemascore of “B” from audiences, which means lackluster word of mouth. (Sn•derbros are celebrating its demise because it proves….well, I guess it proves that Sn•derbros are horrible people.)

I’ve yet to see The Flash, but it has a lengthy list of strange cameos that cover the entire fraught history of the WB’s attempts to make their own MCU, and the ’90s merry-go-round of Batmans. In a way, it’s a fitting wrap-up of this tangled tale. 

EDited to add: Borys Kit has an excellent wrap-up that points out that the ending of The Flash changed because production dragged on through THREE DIFFERENT REGIMES at WB!

“It’s rare that you have a movie in post-production that faces three separate regimes with three separate agendas,” notes one insider. “None of them were scrapped because of ill will, just different visions.” 

So where does that leave us? The DCEU has two more lame duck films, August’s Blue Beetle which looks to be a low-budget teen flick more suitable for Max – which happens to be where it was originally planned to debut. However Xolo Maridueña’s Jamie Reyes is leading a charmed life. Not only did Blue Beetle survive when stablemate Batgirl was buried in an unmarked grave, reportedly it will make it through to the DCU. Of course folks said that about Ezra Miller too, and that looks extremely unlikely.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, to give the film its proper title, is still coming out in December and it’s said to be awful, if scooper tweets about test screenings are to be believed. And with that…the DCEU will be ended at last.

As for the future? Here’s a quick look:

Muschietti has been announced as the director for Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a reward for the thankless task of bringing the Flash to the finish line.

Sasha Calle’s Supergirl may or may not appear in the DCU – she hopes it does.

Jason Momoa is still rumored to be playing Lobo in the DCU.

Gal Gadot is moving on with her life, with Wonder Woman 3 cancelled.

Henry Cavill is probably tinkering on his computer between workouts.


And Ezra Miller? While WB folks kept alive the idea that this version of The Flash might make it through to the DCU, that was pure hype. The Flash entered the speed force….but he did not come out.

While I was researching this I came across a photo from 2017, a Gal Gadot selfie of the Justice League cast on the way to the triumphal 2017 Comic-Con WB panel. Look at those smiles. Could anyone have imagined the strange and sometimes tragic future that lay ahead?



  1. I saw The Flash and enjoyed it, but superhero movies as a whole, and especially multiversal superhero movies, are pretty much played out. I loved the animation in the latest Spider-man multiverse movie, but the story and pacing seemed a mess. I guess there might be a few more $1B superhero movies, but only because movie tickets are so expensive now.

  2. I think Blue Beetle may be the surprise hit of the summer. There’s a lot of interest in it from the Latino community and that will help get butts into seats, especially if they release a Spanish language edition. Fingers crossed.



  3. 1st off , how do you critique a movie you haven’t seen . It’s is a amazing moving , touching , heartwarming , funny & Ezira (they / them was great & the Batmen all 3 of them were fantastic , along with all the nostalgic cameos were off the hook. For its the 3rd best of the DCEU behind Z S JL & W W I. Those other comments seem to be DC haters , Because The Flash was Awsome & ill be recommending it to everyone !!!

  4. It was a mess, but I agree with Greg that there’s this weird agenda against the movie. The Flash/DC has been lumped in with Stan Lee and anything non-woke as ‘problematic,’ so you can’t seriously pretend that you guys don’t have it out for it. The movie was fine, narratively incoherent but not any worse than garbage like Black Widow praised for the ‘message.’

  5. I saw the end of it at the drive-in and what I saw didn’t look great. I think a lot of people were just turned off by Ezra Miller and Hollywood in General.

  6. At some point, you have to understand your movies are terrible. I’ve really wanted to like the DC movies, but they are always a hot mess when I watch one.

  7. If you haven’t seen the movie don’t critique it. This article seems very pointed and just downright inaccurate. I watched The Flash and it was pretty decent compared to the other DC movies we have gotten. The article literally calls the two other DC movies lame ducks…this “review” is clearly just a jaded opinion.

  8. No one seems to get that we are in an economic environment where a lot of us just can’t afford to go to movies like we used to. I preview movies so I can decide whether or not to spend the money and would never critique something I haven’t read or viewed. I enjoyed the film and plan on seeing it on the big screen.

  9. It’s $50.00 for two people to watch a movie. I’m not paying that, not that I can’t but it’s getting ridiculous.

  10. Don’t bother seeing it; it’s fucking terrible, just like a metric ton of other DC movies at this point. When they come out decent it feels like an accidental miracle.

  11. I thought it was one of the better super hero movie lately compare to marvel eternal which i literally fall asleep during theovie.

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  13. Haven’t seen The Flash but looking forward to doing so.
    Disliked Snyder’s Man of Steel, the high body count, the neck-breaking. However, I think Batman Vs. Superman and the Snyder-cut Justice League are very entertaining films and work well together as one epic story. Different from the MCU. More stylish. Not necessarily the versions of these characters I want to read about every new comic day, but not the train wreck some fans/critics make them out to be, either. Honestly in a way they were far more interesting than Marvel’s movies, which I have generally enjoyed (even Ant Man 3).
    I do think that some critics of The Flash can’t get beyond Ezra Miller’s personal life. It’s like they wanted the movie to fail, rather than for its success to somehow reward Miller (nevermind the hundreds of other peopel who worked on the project). If they were a really nice, squeaky clean actor would viewers be rooting for Miller and cut the film some slack? I really haven’t followed Miller’s issues. I liked him enough in Justice League. I like Michael Keaton. It’s gotten some decent to very good reviews. So, again, I’m looking forward to it.
    We are in a “too much of a good thing” moment. Between movies and television the last several years have just seen SOOOOOO MUCH comic book-related content. It’s mind-blowing, really. And that leads to some mediocre stuff. Some burnout. Some fans taking this all for granted. And that likely means that there is a dwindling audience, at least for now. But also we can’t go back in time. You can’t recaputure that feeling you had watching Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man for the first time or for the AVengers to finallyh gather on the big screen. Were those truly great movies, or was there just a lot of goodwill over the fact these characters had finally made the big time and the movies were competently made?
    I do think announcing the DC movie universe reboot while films like Black Adam and Flash were yet to be released was a mistake. I’m sure smarter people than me made that calculation. But that is what happens. Same in comicbooks. When a new creative team is announced for a title and their first issue is still months away, it does take some momentum away from the current creative team.

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