When DC announced that Ezra Miller would play the DCEU's Barry Allen in the same week that the pilot episode of The Flash aired to great acclaim — thereby separating DC's film and TV universes — fans had mixed emotions. Even Arrow star Stephen Amell took it as a sleight against The Flash star Grant Gustin.
Even though Justice League is a critical and box office disappointment, Miller is the fan-favorite breakout star thanks to an enthusiastic, often hilarious performance. Meanwhile, The CW series has returned to its lighthearted roots this season. While both interpretations of the character do share a number of similarities, there are a few key differences between them, allowing the DCEU Barry to stand on his own from The CW's version of the character.
The Flash Is About A Team, But Ezra Miller's Barry Is A Loner
One of the key differences between the two is their family situation. The CW's Barry has a strong family unit around him, thanks to Joe West raising him after Barry's father went to jail. Plus, Barry has a strong group of friends surrounding him; Iris West was a constant support for Barry as he grew up — and then, after he gained his powers, he became very close to the team at STAR Labs.
The Barry Allen we meet in Justice League is almost the total opposite. He is a loner who doesn't really know how to interact with other people — hell, he actually tells Batman that he doesn't have any friends. He lives on his own in a squat, keeping to himself. He's certainly a lot more reclusive than his television counterpart.
The DCEU's Barry Has A Better Handle On His Powers
One of the key elements of The CW show is Barry learning about his powers. Each season, he's had to train to improve his speed and even had to learn about things such as phasing through objects and throwing lightning.
In the DCEU, it seems that Barry has already mastered his powers. For example, he uses the Speed Force lightning to help the League revive Superman; in the CW show, Barry would have required a pep-talk from Cisco/Wells/Iris before he even contemplated doing it.
There's also the fact that Miller's Barry has seemingly studied the Speed Force, as shown when he explains to Bruce Wayne just how he's able to move so quickly.
Was It A Mistake To Separate The Two Universes?
There are some similarities between the two Flashes that are deeper than merely the name and power set. Both versions of Barry are obsessed with finding their mother's murderer, for example, filling poster boards with stories related to the case. They both visit their father in prison.
So, was it really necessary to have two actors playing the same character in different universes?
After seeing #EzraMiller's performance, it's safe to say that, actually, it wasn't a mistake at all. Both versions of the character are successful in giving us a familiar, yet unique, interpretation of The Flash.
DC decided to take a different approach to Marvel and disconnect their films from their television universe. It's clear that The CW's Flash is a much more experienced hero, having battled the Reverse Flash, Zoom and Savitar, whereas the DCEU version is just starting out — he doesn't even have his superhero name figured out yet. Starting from scratch with The Flash in the DCEU did require a certain amount of repetition, particularly when it came to the scenes with Henry Allen in prison, it allowed both portrayals to stand on their own.
What did you think of Ezra Miller's performance? Would you have preferred to see Grant Gustin on the big screen? Let me know in the comments!