Sunday, December 24, 2023

Sleeping with the Fishes: Aquaman 2 and the Death of the DCEU


What began with so much ambition ten years ago with Man of Steel in 2013, gurgles its way to a watery grave with this weekend's release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. I feel bad for director James Wan and everyone involved in A&TLK as this project arrives with an air of total futility about it. Honestly, even if it wasn't already known that the DC cinematic universe was due to be rebooted, I think A&TLK would have had the same inevitable last gasp vibe to it. Exhaustion clings to this movie like barnacles to a boat. It feels like the DCEU has been utterly played out. 

In 2018, the first Aquaman was a breath of fresh air for the DCEU. Colorful, unabashedly embracing of its fantasy elements and bereft of any hint of dreary edge lord attitude, James Wan showed that the DC universe could go all in on fun and that audiences would respond. It became the most successful film in the DCEU, bringing in the kind of box office results that were typically associated with the MCU. Given the fact that it grossed over a billion dollars, a sequel was always going to happen. But in between then and now, the plug was pulled on the DCEU in the wake of 2022's Black Adam and as soon as that happened, everything that was already in the pipeline, including A&TLK, instantly felt dead on arrival. 

Perhaps if The Flash had done a better job of wrapping up the previous era and setting up the next, A&TLK wouldn't have felt so much like an afterthought but it didn't - if anything The Flash only made everything more muddled - and so A&TLK arrives less as a fond farewell to the last ten years but as exactly what it is: the unintended end of an era, devoid of any special fanfare. 

That's something that was beyond the control of anyone involved with A&TLK but as I said earlier, had this arrived in a world where the DCEU was still pushing on, I think it would have still left audiences with an overwhelming sense of "why are we still doing this?" Or even more specifically, "...why did we need an Aquaman 2?" 

The answer to that, of course, is that no movie as successful as Aquaman was ever going to not have a Part 2 - especially when it was part of an ongoing cinematic universe. But as much as Wan tries to recapture the same sense of fun as the original, it's clear that he left it all on the table with the first film. Some characters aren't meant to support a string of sequels. Not every character lends themselves to a franchise and I think that's definitely true of Aquaman. If nothing else, it definitely can be said that if there was going to be an Aquaman 2, they should have found someone else who was as eager to put their stamp on the character as Wan was when he did the original. 

As with the first film, there are plenty of cool designs here involving the various Atlantean technology, undersea environments, and fantastical creatures (in A&TLK's best moments, Wan leans into the horror vibe - there's even a neat aural shout out to Texas Chain Saw Massacre at one point) but there's nothing here that outdoes or improves on anything in the first film and it's hard not to get the sense that Wan is fully aware of that too. Add to that the fact that this is all in support of a franchise - both Aquaman and the larger DCEU itself - that we all know is finished and this just feels like one exhausted sigh of a movie. 

It may not have started off as such but the fact that A&TLK was completed with the full knowledge that it would end up serving as the last word on the DCEU definitely puts the last lines of the movie in an amusing light. Yes, the train was already on the tracks when the plug was pulled on the DCEU so there was no way to rethink the movie in its entirety in order to put a respectful cap on the past decade of films but Jason Momoa's final speech easily could've been rewritten on the fly to send things out on a more slightly elegiac note, had they wanted to - especially as the occasion that he's addressing is one of change, of moving from one era to the next with a spirit of hope. So his words could have worked in the context of the film while also applying to the meta context of the moment. 

But they straight up said "nope" to that and I guess in the end I have to respect that the last words spoken in the DCEU (and I'm paraphrasing) are "...I'm Aquaman! Woo! Yeah!" I don't know if I would call it a "fuck you" to the DCEU per se but it definitely feels like, hey this is our moment and we're not sharing it and we're going to revel in the fact that freaking Aquaman of all characters is the last one standing and the last one out the door.  

Now, there may well have been zero message underlying Momoa's last words but when the mid credit scene has a character happily eating a cockroach, it's hard not to feel like this wasn't a warm or respectful goodbye to the DCEU. I have to imagine there was a feeling of being fucked over once James Gunn's reboot was announced and if some resentment towards that manifested in the movie in some way, it wouldn't be surprising. 

In any case, the ten year odyssey of the DCEU is now done and over. A lot could be said about all the decisions that were made over the past ten years, many of them terrible, but at this point dissecting the many failures of the DCEU seems like wasted energy (although I do hope someone writes a book about all of it one day). The bottom line is that I don't think Warners/DC ever knew how to properly showcase these iconic characters and I think they made a critical early error in entrusting their universe to Zack Snyder. He's a talented director, yes, but also one who has no feel for the DC universe - or for the concept of superheroes - whatsoever. If you gave Snyder something like Miracleman or Spawn, he could likely kick ass with it but something that requires a much more pure outlook on selflessness and altruism, forget it. 

Warners should've seen the reaction to Man of Steel as a five alarm emergency and ditched Snyder post haste. The impulse to keep trying to course correct turned the DCEU into a wobbly Jenga tower. It was never going to right itself. 

Will James Gunn do better by the DC universe? I think so. I certainly hope he will. The thing is, I don't see how he could do any worse. For the last ten years, we watched a studio continually fail to know what to do with the most iconic superheroes of all time. As I look at the various rankings of the DCEU films being posted across the internet now that the book has been closed on this era, I think the most damning thing that can be said about the DCEU is that, however you rank the films, whatever anyone puts at the top, Matt Reeves' The Batman is a better movie than every single one of them.   

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Nerd Notes: State of the MCU

One of the biggest box office narratives of 2023 as far as the entertainment press was concerned was that it was the year of superhero fatigue, with the MCU suffering an uncharacteristic failure with The Marvels. But the fact is, Marvel had a successful year overall in 2023. Any franchise that puts out three films in a year with two of them landing in the year end worldwide box office Top Ten is doing ok. For anyone to say it isn't is just indicative of the need of many to seek clicks with hyperbolic "is the MCU is dead?" headlines. Warners/DC had four flops in a row in 2023 but where were all the articles speculating whether there was even an audience for a DC reboot? Nowhere, because those wouldn't generate clicks like trashing the MCU would. It's all driven by pure cynicism. 


The box office failure of The Marvels definitely was uncharted territory for Marvel but to put things in perspective, The Marvels was a movie that was primed to fail. Setting aside the army of online misogynist trolls who were working overtime to trash it months in advance, this is a movie that, thanks to the actors strike, did not have the traditional promotional machine at its disposal. 

With the best aspect of the film being the chemistry between Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani, the fact that this trio couldn't make the rounds on the talk show circuit and that they couldn't hype the movie before fans at conventions, really kneecapped its chances. 

Whether or not The Marvels might have performed better under more optimal circumstances, we'll never know. Maybe it would have been a flop regardless. Does that mean that superhero fatigue has finally set in? I say no. It's not as though Marvel was racking up a series of losses in 2023. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania were both in the Top Ten for the year (with Quantumania beating both Fast X and Mission: Impossible domestically) as was the non-MCU Marvel film, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, so it's not as if the Marvel brand was actively turning off audiences. It's clear that if the movie is right, people will still show up. 

Comic book movies have become so pervasive that I think audiences simply are at a point where a movie needs to be perceived as special in order to get them out to the theater. In the case of Marvel, they've been facing a new challenge specific to them with the rise of Disney+. Before Disney+, there was a greater imperative for audiences to see the latest MCU entry in theaters. Now, when everyone knows that everything will hit D+ not long after its theatrical run, that drive has dissipated. In addition to that, I think the interconnectivity between the shows and the movies has generated the feeling that there's just too much work involved in keeping up even though in reality that isn't quite the case. Someone could go into any of the recent movies will no exposure to the shows and still follow them. However, as long as people believe otherwise, it presents a psychological obstacle to getting general audiences to go to the movies. 

As an MCU fan I love how the shows and movies bounce off each other now but I think adjustments are needed when it comes to the back and forth between the shows and movies. You can't reasonably ask people to pay for a streaming service just so they can watch series in order that they can go into the next movie knowing what's what. Hardcore fans are all for it, sure. More shows! More connectivity! But that's becoming a detriment to holding on to general audiences. It's one thing for the Scarlet Witch to take a detour over to Wandavision and then return to the big screen with Multiverse of Madness but when you're talking about characters that were introduced for the first time on Disney+, it's a much harder sell to get people into the theater for the follow up to stories that they didn't watch in the first place. 

There was always going to be growing pains for Marvel post Endgame, especially as they took bigger swings with weaving shows and movies together for the first time. To add an array of real world complications to those challenges, though - such as the pandemic, the writer and actor strikes and the tragic loss of Chadwick Bosemen - it's not surprising that this has been an unsteady stretch for the MCU. The thing is, though, they're in a good spot right now. The Marvels gave them their first legitimate bomb but at the same time, it tee'd up the next step in the Multiverse Saga perfectly. Along with that, Loki season 2 was the strongest MCU series so far, the conclusion of which fed into the Multiverse Saga brilliantly. The MCU is moving forward with audiences having a better sense of where things are going than they've had in awhile.  

Putting Marvel in a stronger position still is this week's news that Jonathan Majors has been dropped by Marvel following his trial. The question of whether Marvel was going to keep him on or not given his legal troubles was a point of uncertainty that has hung over the future of the MCU for months. Now it's done. While some are questioning whether this means that the character of Kang will be dropped and that Marvel's plans for AvengersThe Kang Dynasty will now be changed, I think it will simply be a matter of recasting the role. Marvel has been down this road many times, right from its earliest days. Don Cheadle took over for Terrence Howard as Rhodey. Mark Ruffalo took over for Ed Norton as The Hulk. Harrison Ford is taking over for the late William Hurt as General Ross. There's no reason why they wouldn't recast Kang. It would be ridiculous not to, especially given how integral the character is to their current plans and how much they've built the Multiverse Saga around him. Recasting Kang also presents a perfect opportunity to generate renewed buzz for a character that got off on a slightly awkward foot with Quantumania

Going into Phases 4 and 5, it was uncharted territory for Marvel in every way. Now they have a better handle on where they stand. With their only theatrical film in 2024 being Deadpool 3, they have the breathing room for whatever projects they have in place taking them through Secret Wars to be fine tuned and I definitely think that the lessons they've learned over the past few years are going to determine the shape of the MCU post Secret Wars. I believe Secret Wars was always planned to be a soft reboot of sorts for the MCU and I think the rocky reception of some Phase 4 and 5 projects will only further feed into that decision. 

I think post Secret Wars, the MCU will still be interconnected but not as intensely as it has been. I think there's going to be a greater drive towards making stand alone movies and shows and less of a shared narrative. I could be totally wrong, of course, but I can't help but think Kevin Feige and co. are going to feel the need to adjust and find a balance between satisfying the hardcore MCU fans while also not making it seem like there's no longer an easy entry point for new or lapsed fans.  

Bottom line is that the idea that the MCU is in any danger of being derailed or shut down is absurd. Adjustments will be made, focus will be renewed, but the MCU is going to - obviously - keep moving ahead. Marvel simply has too many weapons in its arsenal to not be able to rebound from any slump or setback. I mean, we haven't even gotten to the Fantastic Four or The X-Men yet - both of which are entire universes unto themselves. 

Hell, they could do a freaking Defenders movie (Dr. Strange! Hulk! Namor! Silver Surfer! Valkyrie!) and that's a whole other mega franchise for them. 

Once you've got the Defenders in play, you've set yourself up for an Avengers/Defenders War movie. As any comic book fan could tell you, Marvel has got endless cards to turn over. While it's preferable for every movie to be a hit, Marvel can afford to take a chance (a shit ton of chances, even) knowing that they always have the big guns to pull out. When you know one of the bullets in your chamber is an Avengers vs. X-Men movie, you're not sweating the failure of The Marvels.

The absolute worse case scenario for Marvel would be that they're eventually forced to stick solely to the A level characters - Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers (a team that is fueled by its endless roster changes), Iron Man, Cap - and try and have as much of a guaranteed blockbuster every time out as they can. And if that's the worst case scenario, that's still pretty awesome. I don't think it'll ever come to that. I think they'll be able to successfully keep experimenting with introducing lesser known characters but look, if you told a Marvel fan years ago that, hey buddy, the worst you're gonna have to look forward to is a big budget Avengers or Spidey film ever year or two, they'd incredulously respond "What the hell do you mean the worst? That sounds fucking incredible!" 

So however it unfolds, here's to the future of the MCU, still the surest bet in pop culture there is. 

Friday, June 30, 2023

Lost in the Multiverse

In the wake of The Flash's disappointing box office, things are looking grim on the DC front. Or at the very least, uncertain. It seems clear that audiences are not buying what DC is selling at the moment and it's unclear what's going to turn that around. What you can bank on is that WB will never throw in the towel on the DC universe. That is an IP gold mine that no studio is ever going to forsake. So no matter what kind of failures the DC universe suffers, the movies will keep on coming. It's just a matter of what the latest plan for the DCU will be. 

For long time comic fans, the great irony of DC's current movie dilemma is how badly they've botched the multiverse aspect of their universe and, more than that, how they've forfeited that space to Marvel. For years, the multiverse was DC's thing. While Marvel had one streamlined universe with one continuity, DC was the comic universe that dealt in a myriad of multitudes. To explain the aging of their characters and to explain the multiple versions of their characters, DC had a multiverse that allowed Golden Age characters to exist in their own universe and Silver Age characters to exist in theirs, with the opportunities for crossovers between the two. One of the most legendary comics in DC history is 1961's Flash #123, an issue in which readers were presented with the tale of the "Flash of Two Worlds," with present day speedster Barry Allen meeting the Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick and it was the popularity of this issue with readers that led to a series of annual crossovers between the Golden Age Heroes of the Justice Society of America, whose roster included the likes of Hourman and Dr. Fate and the present day Justice League. 

For decades, DC had used the multiverse to account for continuity errors or to simply allow alternate versions of characters to remain in play, just not within the primary universe. But by the '80s, the thinking within DC was that to compete with industry leader Marvel, they had to emulate Marvel's singular continuity and trim the fat from their universe, paring it down to just one world. So 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths was the big move on DC's part to rid themselves of the multiversal baggage that had built up over the course of fifty years and, hopefully, make their universe more new reader friendly. It ended up being an imperfect act of housekeeping, with editorial at the time failing to make a totally clean break between the past and present of DC. Remnants of prior history survived here and there and some characters were given a fresher slate than others. But even though it was a slightly sloppy segue way from one era to the next, overall it worked and the bottom line was that readers understood that there was now one connected DC universe going forward. 

That lasted until 2011 when DC decided to reinstate the multiverse with the Flashpoint storyline. So on the publishing side, decades after changing their universe to be more like Marvel, DC decided to get back in the multiverse game. Meanwhile, in the movie and TV realm, while Phases 1 through 3 of the MCU had been very liner, moving from Point A to Point B to lay down the foundation of the MCU, going into Phase 4, the new watchword of the MCU, according to Kevin Feige, would be "multiverse." On the Sony side of Marvel, this was also true with 2019's animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse being all about the vast multiverse of Spider Heroes, including everyone from Spider-Noir to Spider-Ham. While WB/DC was still in the process of struggling to create a singular shared universe to match the MCU, Marvel was already moving on to stake their claim as the masters of the multiverse, dubbing Phase 4 "The Multiverse Saga." What historically used to be DC's domain has now become perceived by the public at large as a Marvel thing. The multiverse was something that DC chose to give up and now they're forced to play catch up. 

With Phases 1 through 3, Marvel provided a model on establishing a cinematic universe but following their example proved difficult for WB/DC. Now in Phases 4 and 5, Marvel has been showing how to establish a cinematic multiverse but, again, as it was when it came to building a linear universe, when it comes to their multiverse game, WB/DC still just wants to short cut their way to where Marvel's at without putting the same effort in. 

Marvel has staked out the multiverse front with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) and the Disney+ Marvel shows Loki (soon to debut its second season) and the animated What If? (also due to have a second season). They've dominated this space in a way that WB/DC is ill equipped to compete with. 

Case in point: The Flash

Even with Marvel beating them to the punch, The Flash still could have made the statement that DC has its own bragging rights to the multiverse but it did not send that message. It's not the fault of the filmmakers so much as the fault of a fickle studio demanding last minute changes. First and foremost, the problem that hinders WB/DC is that they lack the strong guiding hand that Marvel has and the willingness to stay the course and see things through. Whether that will change with James Gunn, who knows? For now, DC looks like a company that's been forced to play a weak hand. 

Aside from the lack of a clear strategy in place, in reflecting on The Flash and how it compares to the MCU's multiverse projects, the main flaw in DC compared to Marvel is how small and diminished their multiverse seems. Everything about the MCU's multiverse (and Sony Picture's part in it as well) has been about expansion. It is about opening up new possibilities, new avenues to explore, introducing new characters. DC's multiverse, on the other hand, seems like a sad wax museum. In The Flash, when Barry is seeing the various multiverse and it's just these poorly generated CGI images from DC's past, whether it be Adam West's Batman or Christopher Reeve's Superman, it gives the impression that DC's multiverse is simply about nostalgia and looking back on these inert figures sealed in amber, as opposed to Marvel's multiverse, which is about forging ahead and discovering new possibilities. 

Across the Spider-Verse makes the idea of seeing spin offs with Spider-Punk or Spider-Gwen and others a very welcome possibility. Multiverse of Madness, Loki, and What If? showed that there's endless, and endlessly surprising, variants on the Marvel universe. For its part, The Flash leaves audiences wondering "What was up with Nicolas Cage as Superman?" I say when you're trying to thrill and excite an audience on the possibilities that lie within your multiverse and you choose to waste screen time (and FX dollars) on an in-joke within an in-joke that is pitched to an incremental number of viewers - and even then is really not so much a "joke" at all but simply a reference (you not only have to know that Nicolas Cage was up to play Superman in a '90s Tim Burton movie that never happened, you also have to know that producer Jon Peters infamously insisted that he should fight a giant spider) - you're doing it wrong. 

It's even more galling that while it goes out of its way to reference a version of Superman that never even existed, The Flash completely passed on the opportunity to honor the CW's Arrowverse, which ironically actually was successful in creating a live action, interconnected DC multiverse in a way that the movies haven't been. WB/DC will of course keep trying and perhaps in the James Gunn era the potential of the DCU will finally flourish. For now, though, the DCU and its pantheon of heroes and villains are mired in a mismanaged multiverse.  

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Running To Stand Still

There's a measure of irony to the fact that the first feature film about DC Comics' Scarlet Speedster should prove to reflect the fable of the tortoise and the hare. As early as 2017, Warner Bros. was developing The Flash as an adaptation of the Flashpoint storyline from the comics. At the time, nothing like that in the comic book movie genre had made it to the big screen. Had WB hit the ground running early on, DC could have initially had the multiverse all to themselves but creative issues kept The Flash from bolting from the starting line. In the meantime, both Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures were making slow but steady progress on their own multiverse sagas. Now here in 2023, in a world where we've had Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), and the currently playing Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, The Flash can't help but feel like it's lagging behind. Despite having the chance to be first over the finish line, DC is coming in a distant second in the race for the multiverse.  

On the positive side, there's much in The Flash that is fleet and funny. Despite the personal issues that have plagued Ezra Miller, they're very good here in a dual role as the Barry Allen of two different worlds. While I'll concede that Miller's portrayal of Barry might be like nails on a chalkboard to some viewers, I say their performance is in tune with the comedic angle screenwriter Christina Hudson and director Andy Muschietti are going for. 

The Flash's emphasis on humor might rankle some fans, especially devotees of the grim Snyder verse, but I think it was the smart choice to make. The Flashpoint storyline, if played totally straight, can't help but make Barry look pretty lousy, like a deeply reckless and short sighted person who can't see past his own selfish needs. The CW Flash series took the serious approach when they did their own Flashpoint and it only made Barry come off as an unsympathetic jerk. How could it not? Barry takes the fact that he misses his mom as a reason to unravel reality for billions of innocent people. 

In making The Flash essentially a comedy of (cosmic) errors, and portraying Barry's action as those of an emotionally stunted but well intended fool, it makes his actions more palatable. He's able to come across less as a selfish asshole and more like a helpless goof who's prone to catastrophe. 

The Flash has an almost lampoonish quality to it as Barry races from one reality to the next, dismantling the DC universe as he goes, with the multiverse like a set of spinning plates that Barry is madly struggling (and failing) to keep in the air. 

Things do get darker as the film goes on and as the dramatic stakes rise but yet it all comes back around to funny business with the movie ending on a punchline, the point of which being that the DCU has been permanently broken. It's a good laugh (with a great cameo) but at the same time, this is a movie that needed to bring clarity to the DCU and the fact that it doesn't is a problem. 

When the new DC regime, led by James Gunn and David Zaslav, came in last year and announced that the much touted "change in the DC hierarchy of power," Black Adam, wasn't actually going to lead to anything and that the DCU that began with Man of Steel in 2013 would be ending (despite the return of Henry Cavill's Superman in Black Adam's post credit scene), it fell on The Flash to make the case why that was a good idea and to establish what the new direction of the DCU would be.

Instead The Flash comes across as a cinematic pie in the face of the DCU, frequently sillier than even the most broadly comic Marvel movie and I have to think that's not what DC fans are in the mood for, especially in the wake of the universe they'd become attached to over the last ten years being so unceremoniously scrapped.

Say what you will about Black Adam but I think The Rock had the right idea in regards to not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Black Adam might not have been a monster hit but it made the right moves in teeing up the DCU for bigger things to come while going for a more palatable soft reboot of sorts. Even though movies like Man of Steel and WW84 might not have been the best vehicles for them, Cavill's Superman and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman were still very well liked and I think there was an audience that simply wanted to see them (and others from the Snyder verse) get their shot in a refocused DCU. If you're going to kick these actors to the curb, you've got to do it gracefully in way that respects their contributions to the DCU while also making the strongest case possible for a new direction and The Flash does neither. 

Additionally, The Flash squanders both Micheal Keaton's return as Batman and Sasha Calle's introduction as Supergirl. Both of them have some outstanding scenes (I particularly enjoyed the re-introduction of Keaton, in a fight scene that's reminiscent of a Pink Panther movie with Kato lying in wait to ambush Clouseau) but their arcs come to unsatisfying ends that feel undeserving of the characters. Reports say that the final version wasn't what was originally planned, with changes made since in order to accommodate the changes in the DCU but what they went with was not the right choice. After setting up Bruce, the two Barrys and Kara as a mini Justice League and following their strategizing to take down Zod, this section of the film ends on a deflated note and as a result the inclusion of Bruce and Kara ends up feeling pointless and dispiriting rather than heroic. 

Spoilers here but it feels like a poor choice to prime the audience to anticipate how Flash, Kara and Bruce are going to take down Zod only to find out that, oh, they don't. The entire time spent in Bruce and Kara's reality ends up being a prolonged lesson in failure and while the experience teaches Barry that sometimes there isn't a way to fix things, there should have been a better way to get him to that point without having the bulk of the movie be about everyone fighting a losing battle. 

The most curious flaw of The Flash, though, is that even though the story hinges on Barry changing the fabric of the universe to save his mother, he never shows any interest in finding out who killed her or why. It's doubly maddening in that Barry's other big motivation is in clearing his dad of the crime. So why does it never occur to him to find out who did it and bring them to justice? At the very least, where's the curiosity about this crime on Barry's part? I mean, it's one thing to not want to interfere any more overtly than he's already doing but how about getting some answers for himself? You can time travel but you don't want to find out why your mother was murdered? Really?   

It's such a bizarre oversight to have this not even be a factor in the film. In the comics the murder is committed by one of Barry's arch foes from the future but even if the movie didn't want to take it in that super villain direction, they've still got to address why this crime was committed in the first place and it's just crazy that it goes ignored. 

In the comics, Flashpoint was a blunt means to an end. Having Barry undo his mother's murder wasn't about exploring Barry's trauma. While that might have been the surface storyline, underneath that Flashpoint was just a mechanism meant to restore the DC multiverse that had been undone back in 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths and doing it within continuity. It was essentially a reboot in disguise. 

To apply what Flashpoint did in the comics to the movies, they needed to have a similarly clear and pragmatic plan in place of what they were looking to accomplish but unfortunately the goals The Flash started with changed drastically during the course of its production and post-production, going from teeing up the next round of adventures with the DCU characters we've come to know to becoming their awkward send-off and that last minute swerve badly kneecaps the final product. 


A production that ran into more problems than it could handle before it was able to cross the finish line, The Flash should have shown that the DC universe is still in the race but instead it makes it look like a franchise that's running on empty.