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‘They just jangle keys you barely remember’: ‘The Flash’ and its misguided reliance on nostalgia couldn’t be summed up any better

The nail has truly been hit on the head.

nicolas cage the flash
Image via Warner Bros.

Thanks largely to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, superhero movies – especially ones that revolve around the idea of the multiverse or alternate realities – feel obliged to shoehorn in as many cameos as humanly possible in order to satiate a crossover-hungry fanbase. In the case of The Flash, though, the execution was fundamentally flawed from the beginning.

Even if we ignore the questionable methods used by the production team that involved combing through YouTube for clips of dead actors to be used in a $200 million blockbuster, there’s an element of niche pandering that appears to be for the sole benefit of director Andy Muschietti’s amusement more than anything else.

Ezra Miller as Barry Allen in 'The Flash'
Screenshot via Warner Bros/DC Studios

If we’re being honest, a huge part of the main target audience for The Flash – which is typically the 18-34 bracket for big budget escapism – may not have even seen Michael Keaton’s two-film stint as Batman that ended 30 years ago, while Nicolas Cage appearing as Superman only makes sense if you’re aware he almost played the role in Tim Burton’s abandoned Superman Lives that fell apart a quarter of a century in the past.

George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, and Helen Slater aren’t exactly deep cuts, but the former have been dead for some time and the latter headlined one of DC’s worst-ever features, so it’s hard to discern who exactly their haunting guest spots are supposed to appeal to.

In fact, a Reddit thread remarking on The Flash as a whole hit the nail pretty perfectly on the head when the cameos were described as “jangling keys you barely remember,” which is a damn sight different to Avengers: Endgame drafting in everybody to hammer home the importance of the Infinity Saga’s final chapter.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.