DC is really pushing to keep up with Marvel in the construction of their cinematic universe. Not a week after the announcement of a Batman/Superman film they also announced that season two of Arrow, the Green Arrow-centric CW series, would feature an appearance of The Flash, with the intention of the Scarlett Speedster spinning off into his own series afterwards.
How well The Flash would work on a television show, particularly a television show on the CW, is definitely up in the air. But the prospect of a project with The Flash as the lead is pretty freaking awesome. Some might argue that a guy who runs really, really, really fast isn’t a marketable lead for a television show. To them I would first point out that there is going to be a second season of Arrow.
A second season. Of Arrow.
More importantly, however, I would point naysayers to the recently released DC Animated Movie The Flashpoint Paradox, based on Geoff John’s Flashpoint.
The story follows Barry Allen, The Flash, as he tries to make sense of an insane alternate timeline he awakens in seemingly out of nowhere. The idea of comic book characters thrown into an alternate timeline isn’t exactly genre-defying, but so far as alternate realities go, Flashpoint holds its own. More importantly, the movie highlights the qualities in Barry Allen that make him a viable protagonist for a franchise of his own.
The Flash isn’t at his coolest when he’s running really, really, really fast. He’s coolest when he runs so fast that quantum mechanics and theoretical physics and all that voodoo mumbo jumbo come into play (accurately, I’m sure). Flash Fact: if alternate timelines and the prospect of “time booms” tickle your tank you should be pretty pimped for more of The Flash.
His physics bending x-factor aside, Flashpoint sees Barry Allen turn into quite the leading man. Though his internal motivation of “if only, as an eight-year-old, I would have run faster, my mom wouldn’t have been murdered by a home intruder,” is pretty much ridiculous, The Flash is still plenty easy to root for.
But back to his dead mom.
If dead parents are good for anything its setting up a character to be a foil to Batman, which is a driving narrative force in the Flashpoint Paradox. But the Batman of Flashpoint is something else, let me tell you. Without spoiling too much, in the Flashpoint timeline the Dark Knight is a murderous, stubble-clad alcoholic who always has on in the chamber. Flashpoint Batman alone is well worth the price of admission. He serves not only as a badass, but as something of an answer to the question “why doesn’t Batman kill?” The answer is pretty practical. While Flashpoint Batman is awesome, he is definitely not “charm generation after generation with the broken psyche of an orphaned rich boy” awesome.
Batman isn’t the only DC staple to get a drastic overhaul in Flashpoint. A meathead of an Aquaman is at war with a sadist of a Wonder Woman. Johns really let his imagination run wild with his often radical remodels of the Flashpoint universe characters and seeing where the various faces of the DCU end up in Flashpoint is half the fun.
But throughout the bleak and treacherous Flashpoint Paradox Barry Allen is the only constant, a lone remnant from the DCU we know. Allen is a great choice in protagonist. He’s a pretty friendly fellow, and he’s got the determination and willpower of a Batman or a Superman. But more importantly, he’s something of an everyman.
Barry Allen isn’t a billionaire or an alien or a jet pilot, he’s a forensic scientist, and God knows the only thing more boring than watching CSI is living it. But Allen’s relatability stems beyond his job to something a lot more obvious.
The Flash doesn’t look like he’s on goddamn steroids.
Try all you want to dress up like Batman or Superman, the human body does not form a perfect triangle above the waste. The Flash, on the other hand, is lean and trim, you know, like an actual human being.
Also he has super speed.
And a very cool costume.
The (Flash)point is, where Superman Unbound was able to highlight some aspects of the Superman mythos that weren’t all that strong in Man of Steel, The Flashpoint Paradox highlights the aspects of The Flash with the most potential. Let’s just hope the potential television series is paying attention.
Is something as massive as Flashpoint ever going to be adapted to live action for the CW? Unless there budget multiplies ten times over I hope to God not. But you don’t need hundreds of millions of dollars to bring a great character to life.
And if Flashpoint proves anything it’s that The Flash is a great character.
And should be played by Idris Elba.