What Is The Flash's Runtime - And Is It Too Long?

In a stunning bit of irony, "The Flash" is no quick watch. DC's latest film, which stars Ezra Miller as the titular scarlet speedster in a mad dash effort to rewrite history and save his family from a cruel fate, clocks in at 143 minutes and 55 seconds. In other words, "The Flash" is just shy of 2 hours and 30 minutes, which means that it shares an almost identical run time with previous DCEU films such as "Aquaman" and "Man of Steel." There are longer DCEU films, such as "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Wonder Woman 1984," but there are also shorter DCEU films, such as "Justice League" and "Birds of Prey," the latter of which is the shortest installment in the franchise.

Functionally speaking, most DCEU films are closer in length to "The Flash" than they are to "Birds of Prey," so its duration doesn't necessarily stand out in that way. However, "The Flash" is notably the only DCEU film without a primary antagonist ... unless you count Barry Allen (Miller) himself, who spends the better part of the story tearing apart the fabric of time. With that in mind, is "The Flash" too long for what it is?

The Flash was supposed to reset everything (and it didn't)

Few films have a greater, more layered meta context than "The Flash." Multiverse narrative elements aside, The Flash's first solo adventure was meant to serve as the death of the DCEU and the birth of the DCU. If that doesn't immediately make sense to you, just know that Warner Bros. decided to reboot its live-action DC properties under the leadership of James Gunn and Peter Safran. Except "The Flash" ended with the status quo basically intact. Sure, Ben Affleck was swapped out for Michael Keaton and then George Clooney (who might actually be the DCU's new dark knight), but Bruce Wayne still knew Barry Allen at the end. And so did Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry.

And, aside from Clooney, "The Flash" killed every single character variant that appeared, some of them numerous times. If you purchased a ticket to see "The Flash" because you wanted to know how DC would shake things up in preparation for the new DCU, then yes, "The Flash" is overbloated, underwhelming, and entirely too long. What's more, this point of view doesn't even begin to take into account how audiences might quantify how long is "too long" to watch a film starring an actor facing hefty criminal charges.

The Flash does nothing new (except for the spaghetti metaphor)

But let's disregard the external contexts for a moment. Yes, "The Flash" fails to reset the DCEU for Gunn and Safran's slate of new films featuring new versions of familiar characters. Yes, "The Flash" prominently features Ezra Miller, who might avoid the consequences of their alleged actions because of their status as a celebrity. But is "The Flash" even a good movie? Does it earn its 2 hours and (almost) 30-minute runtime? Honestly, the answer depends on your personal preferences.

"The Flash" came under notable fire for its questionable CGI that, for lack of a more unbiased term, looks unfinished. Director Andy Muschietti told Gizmodo that the visual style was intentional, but that hasn't stopped audiences from making comparisons to "The Polar Express," an animated film that came out over 20 years ago.

Then there's the narrative. Multiverse stories are no longer considered novel. It's no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is just one, big multiverse now, and Sony is doing just fine with its own multiversal "Spider-Man" franchise. "The Flash" does make an interesting change to the fallout of time travel in that it causes ripples both forward and backward in time but the film doesn't really play with that concept beyond transforming Affleck into Clooney. 

Whoever convinced Warner Bros. that "The Flash" was the best superhero film of its time was lying to them. At best, it's okay. And for an "okay" film, yes, it's unquestionably too long. And we're not alone in that belief.

The Flash can't outrun its bad reviews

The Oakville News' review of "The Flash" includes the following line that opines, "The run time is too long for such an intimate story with so few main characters." For those who have yet to see the film (which, based on its dismal box office numbers, is a demographic that includes almost everyone on the planet), "The Flash" stars two characters, Barry Allen and Barry Allen, and both are played by Ezra Miller; yes, it quickly becomes cumbersome. Michael Keaton's version of Bruce Wayne is featured in the second and third acts but he doesn't quite reach top billing. And Sasha Calle's portrayal of Supergirl gets even less screen time than Keaton's caped crusader.

ReelBob reviewed the film in a similar way, stating, "at 144 minutes, 'The Flash' is padded with cameos, as well as scenes that are repetitious and go nowhere." More succinctly, in his Twitter blurb about his review, ReelBob wrote, "The Flash" is too long, too overblown and too weighty with too many distractions that unnecessarily drag out the story until it stumbles to a weak conclusion."

Ultimately, whether or not a film is too long is up to the individual viewer. But the evidence is pretty damning and there's no running from the truth, even for Barry –- "The Flash" just isn't worth the timesink.