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The Initial Similarities Between The Flash and Spider-Man: No Way Home, Explained


Superhero movies have become a cultural phenomenon, with comic book adaptations dominating the box office in recent years. These films offer audiences a chance to escape reality and immerse themselves in a world of heroes and villains where anything is possible, and The Flash and Spider-Man: No Way Home are no exceptions. The two huge franchise projects have generated a lot of excitement among fans at the same time, garnered some suspicions based on similarities of some elements between the two films.


The DCU’s upcoming feature-length film is adapted from the 2011 Flashpoint storyline in DC Comics, which has no relation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in any way. Still, it’s impossible not to identify some parallels between Ezra Miller and Tom Holland’s characters as they continue their respective live-action adventures. Even with different writers and directors, many fans believe that The Flash’s multiverse adventure, with two speedsters, two Batmen, and an alternate-universe Supergirl, is a variant of Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s plot. Here is what these eagle-eyed fans mean exactly.

Both Heroes Are Billionaire Proteges

Warner Bros. Pictures

One of the first noticeable similarities between the young heroes is that they are both recruits of billionaire heroes, as seen in the events of Justice League, where Ben Affleck’s Batman visits Barry Allen to enlist him into the team against Steppenwolf. This scenario is akin to what ensued in multiple events of Marvel Phase 3 when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) took a young Peter Parker under his wing. Barry and Peter both have received guidance and nuggets from more experienced comic characters, carrying on the best and the worst lessons with them as they progress in their respective franchises.

Related: The Flash Labeled by First Reactions as One of the Best Superhero Films Ever

They Both Alter Timelines

spider-man-no-way-home-new-suit-
Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures

Another similarity is the insertion of disrupting timelines and multiverse madness. In Peter Parker’s efforts to undo the impact of Mysterio’s schemes, he visits Dr. Strange, who casts a spell that makes everyone forget that their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is just a teenage high school student. However, the spell goes south, leading to a timeline break and a world-ending dilemma. In contrast to No Way Home, Barry Allen’s secret identity is still intact, but what he tries to prevent, according to the Flashpoint storyline, is the death of his mother, which leads the speedster to travel back in time, thus inducing parallel worlds to collide, leading to arrivals of new and familiar faces.

While the theme of the Multiverse is becoming another common trope in superhero movies, how it worked in Spider-Man: No Way Home for the MCU differs from how The Flash will utilize the multiverse in the DCU. Salonie Powar, via Cinedope, gives a good breakdown of their contrast:

James Gunn and Peter Safran have made it clear that they’d like to keep the different universes separate (rather than embrace the multiverse) by introducing the concept of Elseworlds for projects like Robert Pattinson’s The Batman. So where Peter was able to stop his prime Earth’s timeline from changing due to the multiverse, Barry won’t be able to do the same for his prime Earth — as the fate of the new DCEU era depends on the prime Earth itself changing.”

Each Film Brings Back Past Villains

Electro, Sandman and Lizard attacks the three Peters
Sony Pictures Releasing

As part of the results of altering timelines, The Flash features the return of DC villains fans haven’t seen onscreens in a while. In the trailer, we see Faora-UI and a resurrected Zod, who was last alive in 2016’s Man of Steel before Superman brutally snapped his neck. Spider-Man: No Way Home also re-introduced famous villains from its live-action, like Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Electro, and Sandman. Based on The Flash’s trailer, the introduction of former villains looks exciting, but we hope it doesn’t make the film convoluted as some claimed the plot for No Way Home’s plot.

Related: James Gunn Comments on Ezra Miller’s Future as The Flash: ‘We’ll See How Things Go’

The Return of an Iconic Actor and Its Purpose

Michael Keaton returns as Batman in The Flash.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Due to the controversies surrounding Miller, it may seem the cameo of Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne from the Tim Burton Batman movies may be a marketing ploy to draw fans into the theaters, just as Jon Watts and Marvel Studios utilized the speculations of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s appearances to instill fan hype. Still, Keaton’s cameo can achieve more than nostalgia and fan service. The details of The Flash’s plot remain vague. However, we hope The Flash will rip a page from No Way Home’s book. That is, how it used Garfield’s and Maguire’s web-heads to further groom Holland’s. Spider-Man: No Way Home featured scenes that allowed the three alternate characters to interact with one another while using its plots to give each character proper send-offs. The Flash can do the same.

Firstly, by bringing Keaton and Affleck together, The Flash can use their interactions to honor their past portrayals of The Dark Knight, considering it might be the last time we see them wear the cape. The same goes for the different variants of Barry Allen, the pairing of both variants is a chance to add complexity and depth to Miller’s Flash like never before since his debut in the DC universe. Similar to how the other Spider-Man variants helped Holland’s version evolve as a mature character ready to lead the future Avengers, we want to see the two Barry Allens challenge themselves to heal from past trauma and learn to realize their full potential in the comics or as Grant Gustin’s Flash from the Arrowverse accomplished during his spell.



This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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