CinemaCon is ongoing in Las Vegas, and The Flash was the centerpiece of the Warner Bros. Discovery presentation yesterday, dropping a new trailer—which was released online—and screening the whole film for an audience of press and theater owners. The Flash hype train is officially leaving the station, and yeah, we’re really just going to pretend like the last few years of Ezra Miller bullsh-t didn’t happen because a cape movie is good.
If you think Marvel isn’t watching how people react to Ezra Miller and The Flash, think again. If Miller and The Flash can get through a global launch and summer box office without significant friction, their decision re: Jonathan Majors is halfway made for them.
Which is not to say The Flash looks bad—it doesn’t. If Miller hadn’t spent a few years giving Carmen Sandiego a run for her money, maybe I could enjoy it more. I am glad that Michael Keaton looks less bored in this trailer (not for nothing, he’s out of the Batsuit this time, and that’s when his face can actually move and emote, when it’s free of rubber masks). And Sasha Calle seems fun as Supergirl. I don’t really care about Michael Shannon returning as Zod but watch The Flash “fix” Man of Steel the way Avengers: Endgame “fixed” Thor: The Dark World. Also, we get a glimpse of Ben Affleck back as his version of Batman. This movie looks fun, except for the offscreen albatross dragging behind it.
And maybe that’s not fair, but “separate the art from the artist” is one of the oldest debates in the book, and everyone has a different line in the sand. Mine is in the vicinity of meaningful accountability, and director Andy Muschietti reassuring everyone (again) that Miller is “taking steps to recovery” and is “very committed to getting better” isn’t cutting it. Miller is a publicity liability, I understand why Warners/DC Films is holding them back from press events like CinemaCon and limiting their exposure to the public. But like, if you can’t bring your star on stage to sell the film they star in, maybe…they shouldn’t be starring in that film. Maybe that’s one way to gauge if a person is ready for a comeback. “Are you willing to put them in front of the press and public?” If the answer is anything less than a confident “yes”, maybe there is still work to be done before we move on like nothing happened, no matter how good the movie supposedly is.