Movies & TV Shows

The Flash’s Best Easter Eggs: Michael Keaton’s Batman, Nic Cage, Snyderverse

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The abundance of Easter eggs in The Flash is simply overwhelming, making it impossible to tally them all. However, we’ve meticulously curated the most exceptional ones in this grandiose superhero spectacle!

Warning: The following content contains significant spoilers for The Flash.

Following numerous delays, controversies, and false starts, WB’s latest DC cinematic extravaganza has finally graced the silver screen. Without a doubt, The Flash stands as the most ambitious addition to the DCEU thus far, particularly in its remarkable homage to comic book lore.

Barry Allen’s mind-bending ventures through the multiverse not only reunite the majority of the Justice League but also bring back Michael Keaton’s iconic Batman, complete with nostalgic references from the Burtonverse. Within the film’s extensive two-and-a-half-hour duration, a plethora of Easter eggs await discovery, some of which remain tantalizingly undisclosed even by the film’s overtly spoiler-filled marketing campaigns.

For those who have experienced the cinematic journey and desire to indulge further in their nerdy passions, we present our carefully curated selection of the most extraordinary, monumental, and cherished Easter eggs found within The Flash.

The Return of George Clooney’s Batman!

Let’s kick things off with perhaps the most astonishing surprise in the entire film: the reappearance of George Clooney as Batman, or more precisely, his suave portrayal of Bruce Wayne from the often criticized (yet now somewhat nostalgically embraced) Batman & Robin. It has been widely debated, including on this very platform, that Clooney wasn’t the best fit for the cape and cowl back in the day, especially in Joel Schumacher’s lighthearted rendition of the character, which called for a leading man comfortable with humor and slapstick, qualities not typically associated with the future Hollywood icon in ’97. However, he proves to be the perfect choice for The Flash’s ultimate and most delightful punchline.

When a bewildered Barry encounters Clooney’s character outside the courthouse instead of the DCEU’s Bruce portrayed by Ben Affleck, he exclaims, “Who the fuck are you?” Clooney’s deadpan response just before the screen fades to black — “Barry, what is wrong with you?” — is absolute comedic brilliance. In this Bruce’s mind, at least, Clooney never left!

Dark Flash and Flashpoint

A significant portion of the movie’s plot — Barry’s race to the past to prevent his mother’s murder and his father’s imprisonment — draws heavy inspiration from the DC comic Flashpoint by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert. Just like in the film, Barry’s actions in the past have dire consequences for the future of the DC timeline. However, the comic book’s time-altering events differ so greatly from the movie that explaining all the intricate differences would require an extensive discussion. Nevertheless, similar to the film, Barry’s actions have a profound impact on Batman.

The film showcases various instances of time travel by both Barrys, resulting in the emergence of Dark Flash, a future version of the younger Barry (yes, it’s a bit perplexing) who attempted countless times to save Batman and Supergirl during their battle with General Zod, ultimately transforming into a deranged monster. Although this incarnation of Dark Flash is an original character created specifically for the movie, it unmistakably pays homage to the long-standing tradition of the hero’s adversaries, such as Reverse-Flash, Zoom, Black Flash, Savitar, Godspeed, and even an unrelated Dark Flash from the comics.

Michael Keaton’s Bat-Suit History

When it comes to unraveling the enigma surrounding Michael Keaton’s Batman, The Flash delves into mind-boggling territory. Much has transpired since we last witnessed this portrayal of the Dark Knight over three decades ago in Batman Returns. Notably, this Batman evidently succeeded in transforming Gotham City into one of the safest havens on Earth, allowing a retired Bruce to recline in his decaying mansion, indulge in alcohol, relish old records, and whip up pasta dishes. However, thanks to a particular scene in the film, we learn that much more transpired during the intervening years.

When Keaton’s character finally decides to aid the Barrys in locating Superman and halting Zod, he ventures into his secret vault of Bat-Suits, granting us a glimpse at an array of costumes never before seen in the Tim Burton movies. The vault proudly displays an underwater suit, a blue and gray ensemble paying homage to the Bronze Age comics, a Knightmare-inspired outfit with goggles, the battle-worn suit from the 1989 film, and what appears to be a prototype costume reminiscent of the character’s Golden Age attire, complete with holsters for his grapple guns. It’s plausible that the latter even nods to this Batman’s own origins, which we never witnessed on screen despite Keaton’s expressed desire.

Jack Nicholson’s Joker Gets the Last Laugh

In the midst of this Easter egg extravaganza, The Flash couldn’t resist including a nod to the Joker. Not only does it reference Jack Nicholson’s iconic portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime, but it also resurrects his eerily distinctive laughing device, the same one Commissioner Gordon retrieved from the Joker’s lifeless body at the conclusion of Batman ’89.

We discover that Keaton’s Bruce Wayne actually preserved the Joker’s final gag as a grotesque trophy in the Batcave. It’s rather unsettling when you contemplate it, but Keaton’s Batman has always possessed an eccentric edge compared to other big-screen iterations. It’s fitting that he would keep a memento to commemorate his encounter with Jack Napier, the psychopath who murdered his parents and inadvertently shaped his destiny.

The Batmobile from Batman ’89 (And a New Batwing)

From the trailers, we already knew that Barry’s enthusiastic alternate-timeline counterpart would eventually stumble upon Keaton’s classic Batmobile within the old Batcave. It’s a delight to witness the return of Batman’s sleek ride in all its glory, even if we don’t get to witness its action sequences on screen. The lingering question remains whether this iconic vehicle still runs.

That being said, we do get ample time inside the cockpit of a brand-new, more spacious Batwing, equipped with some surprising tricks up its sleeve. While the original Batwing from Batman ’89 was essentially a one-man jet fighter, the new iteration is designed for multiple passengers and covert missions, allowing Batman to gracefully descend from the sky into enemy territory. Unfortunately, the plane always meets its demise during the final battle, regardless of Dark Flash’s attempts to alter the outcome.

Batman Goes Nuts and Other Burtonverse Homages

Since the confirmation of Keaton’s return to donning the Dark Knight’s cape for The Flash, fans eagerly anticipated several nods to the past. This was even evident in the marketing campaign, with Keaton reprising the famous line, “I’m Batman,” from the 1989 film in the Super Bowl TV spot. Another trailer showcased him uttering the improvised line, “You wanna get nuts? C’mon, let’s get nuts,” which became an iconic Keaton moment in ’89.

Both of these lines appear in the final film, but there are also more subtle callbacks. These include emphasizing that this Batman belongs to the old-school, analog era of the Baby Boomer generation. In one instance, when the heroes need to escape a Siberian dark site, Batman asks two Barry Allens, “How much do you weigh?” This harks back to Batman asking Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger), “How much do you weigh?” before employing his grappling hook in the ’89 film. To further emphasize the vintage nature of this Batman, he even needs to retrieve a tape measure to ensure their combined weights and his device will work.

Additionally, when the two Barrys initially encounter an aged and retired Bruce Wayne, he relaxes (perhaps a bit too much) in Wayne Manor’s cluttered kitchen. While Alfred is noticeably absent, the set design replicates the exact kitchen from the ’89 film, evoking memories of when Vicki told Bruce that his grand dining room wasn’t representative of him, and they both felt more at ease in this very kitchen.

Nic Cage’s Superman Finally Soars (And Battles a Giant Spider!!!)

This may be the most obscure inside joke in the movie, but even general audiences will recognize the cameo appearance by Nicolas Cage during the climactic “Chronobowl” scene. Barry catches a glimpse of several alternate Earths within the DC multiverse, including one where the ill-fated ’90s Superman revival film, Superman Lives, actually materialized!

The tumultuous development of this Superman project is legendary among comic book movie enthusiasts, and for good reason: it was undoubtedly the most audacious Superman movie ever conceived, with the famously eccentric Cage set to portray the Man of Steel’s demise and resurrection under the direction of Tim Burton, who took over after Kevin Smith had made a few attempts at the script.

Utilizing somewhat questionable CG, The Flash brings Cage’s long-haired Superman to life. He even confronts a giant spider in the scene, a nod to producer Jon Peters’ infatuation with featuring a colossal arachnid in the movie’s climactic act.

Crisis in the Multiverse with Christopher Reeve, Helen Slater, George Reeves, and Adam West

Moving on to the topic of questionable CG, The Flash takes a bold step by digitally resurrecting Christopher Reeve, George Reeves, and Adam West as easter eggs in the Chronobowl scene. Admittedly, these cameos may not be visually impressive, and one could argue that they don’t reflect well on the studio that approved them. However, in terms of notable easter eggs and references, it would be remiss not to acknowledge these nods to DC’s history on both the big and small screens.

The sequence also features Helen Slater’s Supergirl from the 1984 film, as well as a recreation of Jay Garrick, the original comic book version of the Flash who made his debut in 1940, nearly two decades before the more familiar Barry Allen iteration was introduced in 1959.

A Farewell to the Justice League of the Snyderverse

While the DCEU’s superhero universe technically continues until the release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom later this year, The Flash serves as a poignant swan song for the Snyderverse era of these characters. After all, the Justice League members appearing in the movie were all cast by Zack Snyder, the original visionary behind the slate of darker superhero films intended to establish the DCEU as a formidable competitor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice underperformed both commercially and critically, that grand vision crumbled, resulting in the fragmented “universe” we ended up with—featuring multiple Batmen, Jokers, and plenty of bewildered moviegoers by the time Black Adam and Shazam 2 came along.

As new heads of DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran prepare to hit the reset button on the DC Universe, The Flash offers a final farewell to most of Snyder’s Justice League, bidding adieu to Ben Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Jason Momoa’s inebriated Arthur Curry in a post-credit gag (although he will return for the aforementioned Aquaman sequel). The film briefly alludes to Henry Cavill’s Superman, but he never actually makes a physical appearance—a wise move, especially considering the recent Black Adam debacle.

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