Now that Justice League has come out, DC has two live-action versions of Barry Allen for audiences to watch. Between Ezra Miller and Grant Gustin, many fans are asking the question: which one is better? While it’s hard to say as of right now (we have yet see more of Miller’s Flash), there are clear advantages and disadvantages to each. For starters, Grant Gustin’s Flash has the benefit of being more familiar. There are plenty of families and kids watching The Flash who have grown attached to that version of the character. It will naturally be difficult for them to see a new version on the big screen and get accustomed to it.
On the other side of the spectrum, Ezra Miller’s Flash is backed up by an impressive special effects budget and more high-quality acting. It will be a different take with more resources to back it up, and that will attract several people right away. To be fair, we don’t believe that there is a clear winner of which Flash is better, but we will be highlighting the pros and cons of each. Going forward, we’ll see how Miller and Gustin fare in the long run, which leads us into the eight reasons why the DCEU Flash is better than the CW version and seven reasons why he’s worse.
15. BETTER: NOT AS DRAMATIC
There’s something to be said about the original vision of The Flash TV show and what it stands for now. The writers originally intended it to be a lighter, funnier superhero show that was in stark contrast to Arrow. While it still retains a lot of that vision, the main character isn’t nearly as light-hearted as he once was.
In each season, Grant Gustin’s Flash seems to be so dramatic and mopey all the time, and it’s just sad to watch. Compare that with Ezra Miller’s Flash who is still given his moments of drama with his dad and Batman but still has a light-hearted and excitable feel. Miller’s Flash is downright more enjoyable to watch unfold and develop as a character. Gustin just isn’t given great material to work with in that department.
14. WORSE: LACK OF FIGHTING TECHNIQUES
One of Ezra Miller’s trademark lines in Justice League was that he had never been in a fight and just pushed people before running away. That was the general theme throughout the entire film. It was fairly disappointing when the film went out of its way to portray this version of Barry Allen as a resourceful character.
Grant Gustin’s version definitely has a leg up in this regard. Throughout the show, he learned to use his momentum to beat different foes. There’s the supersonic punch and when he learned how to run on water. We get to see Barry’s fighting style improve in terms of how he comes to terms with his super speed. It’s a satisfying power crawl that we haven’t really seen with the DCEU Flash.
13. BETTER: FIGURING OUT HIS PLACE IN THE WORLD
When he start The Flash TV show, we already know what Barry Allen wants to be and where he intends to go in the future. Everything he does is centered around finding the Yellow Man who killed his mother and proving his father’s innocence. Even when he gains super speed, it feels like an afterthought when compared to his overall goal.
In Justice League, Barry Allen still has a lot of self-discovering to do. He hasn’t been in any real fights, he’s struggling to get a CSI job, and he has little experience being a hero. This leaves the potential for future DCEU movies to explore the Flash’s character and help him develop as a character. We’ll get to see his transformation where we didn’t so much with Gustin.
12. WORSE: NO APPLICATION OF SCIENCE
There’s a lot of interesting theories involved in being a superhero. Many people have asked how a hero would function in real life. After all, how much would it cost to literally be Batman? How accurate would you have to be to become the Green Arrow? There are so many questions in terms of being those characters that it’s a shame it wasn’t fully explored in Justice League with the Flash.
Thankfully, The Flash has given us plenty of opportunity to see how being a speedster would affect the human body. Barry Allen has to eat an insane amount of calories each day, has to wear a suit that decreases his friction against the Earth, and continuously train so that he can progressively get faster. It makes being the Flash seem a little more scientific and realistic.
11. BETTER: USE OF LIGHTNING
When the Flash runs, he secretes Speed Force energy off his body which translates to lightning. He can then use this lightning to help fight foes or give his phone a decent charge. In The Flash show, Gustin’s version doesn’t do a whole lot with the lightning. While he has learned to throw it when the occasion calls for it, he doesn’t do anything else with it.
In Justice League, we get a clear look as to how resourceful Miller’s Flash has been with lightning. Not only did he use it to charge up the Mother Box to revive Superman, but he was also shown using it to light a match for his race with Superman. He seems to think more critically in dire situations and exhaust every possible option where Gustin will just get depressed.
10. WORSE: NOT AS SEASONED
Experience is an impressive teacher. Whether you’ve made your way through college or had a bad relationship, you can attest to this. That’s where the DCEU Flash doesn’t have as much weight over the CW Flash. He is very new at being a superhero, and there’s something lost by him not being more realized. After all, the Flash we know and love is confident and powerful.
The CW shows us a much more seasoned Flash. While he had to learn the ropes in the first season, he quickly assumed responsibility and became the protector that Central City deserved. He later became a leader for Team Flash, making tough calls and decisions when there seemed to be no other answer. His leadership nature has a leg up on Ezra Miller’s Flash.
9. BETTER: COSTUME
This is something that some people will agree with and some people won’t, but it’s where some of us stand. Flash’s costume in the show is fine and very accurate to how the comics depict it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best. After all, it’s a very simplistic design, and the red on the suit doesn’t pop as much as we’d like it to.
Miller’s Flash has a much more exciting costume in Justice League. Complete with deep scarlets and black undertones, there’s a lot to look at with this design. On top of that, it’s much more visually appealing in terms of color palette. We appreciate Snyder’s different take on the Flash’s costume and we can’t wait to see more of it in the DCEU.
8. WORSE: SPEED FORCE
In Justice League, we get a brief scene where Barry Allen is talking to Bruce Wayne about a separate dimension he calls the Speed Force. Comic fans will immediately know what he’s talking about, but everyone else in the audience isn’t going to have a clue as to what it means in terms of his powers.
The Flash gives us a much more in-depth look at the Speed Force. Not only is it a dimension where speedsters can reside, but it serves as a guardian of the timestream overall. It has its own autonomy and functions neutrally against the rest of the universe. We’ve also seen Barry go in several times and come back a new man. He’s even been able to tap into the Speed Force to become a much more impressive character.
7. BETTER: MORE COMPELLING
There are a lot of moments in The Flash that are very emotionally moving, like when he calls his mom on Earth-2. Then there are other moments that fall flat on their face, like when he went into the future sans-Iris during season three. In terms of emotional weight, the show is hit or miss.
That’s not the case with Miller’s Flash. He seems to bring the heart and soul to Justice League, having the least amount of experience in combat. His talk with Batman about saving just one person was particularly moving, as he slowly learned what to do after that. His personal growth in that film was overall more satisfying to watch, at least in our opinion.
6. WORSE: HIS MOTIVATION
We don’t ever get to see what exactly happened to Barry that turned him into a hero in Justice League nor do we get the full scope of what happened to his mother and father. Because of this, the writers had to bring a character that was very forward-thinking and not burdened by the demons of his past. That would be Batman’s job anyway.
However, in going this route, a fundamental aspect of Flash’s character is lost. Thankfully, the murder of Nora Allen and false incarceration of Henry Allen is on full display in the CW show. Barry constantly works toward the good of humanity because of the very tragedy that shaped the rest of his life. The worst part? He knows that he can never change what happened.
5. BETTER: SENSE OF SPEED
While we can’t knock on the CW too hard (they do have a low budget after all), they don’t always convey the Flash’s speed very well due to some iffy special effects. Some of the speedster fights are very well done, but when there’s fake-looking effects and models all around, it’s hard to get too invested.
That’s where the budget of Justice League makes all the difference for Barry Allen. Every time he’s about to run, lightning comes off of him before he zooms off into the distance. We see buildings and scenery zoom past him as he speeds through each scenario, and there’s a real sense of power along with it. Time slows down to a halt when he moves, and the payoff was when he would share some rapport with Superman.
4. WORSE: ORIGIN STORY
It’s interesting to think how the Reverse-Flash, by going back in time and killing Barry’s mother, actually helped shaped the events that would turn him into the Flash. It led Barry to become a CSI, where he would eventually come in contact with the chemicals and lightning storm that would strike him and give him amazing powers.
Sadly, this story isn’t really present in the DCEU. Barry hasn’t become a CSI yet but still has his powers, so there’s an argument to be made to how necessary his mother’s death actually is to the timeline. The show has handled this better so far, giving us plenty of reason to root for the character from the very first episode. We feel bad for him and can’t wait to see him take down the Reverse-Flash.
3. BETTER: LEARNING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A HERO
Every superhero has to go through their own arc to learn what it means to them to be a superhero. Grant Gustin’s Flash seems to never learn that lesson as he constantly performs actions for his own personal gain without any real perception of consequence for those closest to him. Even after he learned the ramifications of time travel, he still went back to save his mom and made everyone’s lives worse as a result.
Ezra Miller’s Flash still has a long way to go in terms of being a superhero. In Justice League, we get to see him learn how to be a superhero and make quick decisions to save the innocent and fight the bad guy. He takes a very supportive role, retrieving Wonder Woman’s sword for her and rescuing Cyborg’s dad, and he leaves the movie with a greater knowledge of how to be a true superhero.
2. WORSE: FLASH FAMILY
With the two Flashes are two very different approaches to his allies. The DCEU Flash shows us a Barry Allen who doesn’t have a lot of friends. Instead, he operates all alone while trying to get a CSI job while still being the Flash. His family doesn’t come into the picture until Bruce Wayne shows up at his door and brings him into the Justice League.
The CW show builds a lot of the Flash’s character on the idea of family. From early on, Barry doesn’t have a biological family to turn to. Instead, everyone who surrounds him is there because they love him. He slowly gains speedster allies as well who are more than willing to die for him. It’s heartwarming to see unfold, and a facet of the hero’s character that we wish the DCEU would explore.
1. BETTER: CLASSIC PORTRAYAL
In terms of most of the events that define the Flash, Grant Gustin’s version is much more classic. The one area where he hasn’t quite nailed it yet is his personality. While he started out a little more fun-loving, he quickly turned into a guy that was more focused on being depressed and dramatic. After all, it is a show made by the CW, so what do you expect?
Ezra Miller’s Flash changes up a few of those defining moments for his character but excels in the personality department. Flash has always been the jokester of the DC Universe, using his speed and high IQ to crack a few jokes here and there. Justice League gives us a taste of this more excited Flash who’s just ready to have super friends and save the world from destruction.
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