‘The Flash’ Movie Ending, Explained: Is Barry’s Mother Alive? What Does The End-Credit Scene Mean?


Directed by Andy Muschietti, 2023 film, The Flash is a funny and thoroughly entertaining ride, even though, contrary to what we have seen in movies of this genre, the battleground sequence is the film’s weakest point. For me, what works is the organic humor that Ezra Miller brings to the screen with his vivacious presence. There might be a few hits and misses, but The Flash makes an earnest attempt to bring something authentic and unique to the plate. So, let’s find out in this recap what happened in the film and whether Flash is able to change his past and save his mother.

Spoilers Alert

‘The Flash’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Barry Allen had started feeling that he was the janitor of the Justice League, as whenever Batman made a mess, he was called to clean it up. There were times when Batman needed somebody to assist him as the work got a bit too much for him to handle alone, and Arthur never hesitated to give Batman’s protege a call. Barry, who was always jittery and hungry, reaches a hospital that was about to collapse, and he miraculously saves each and every baby falling from one of the top floors. Barry then rushes at lightning speed (literally) to where Batman was fighting some criminals, and even Wonder Woman arrives out of nowhere to their rescue. The boys were awestruck when they saw Diana, and their faces were like high schoolers who saw their crush for the first time and became so nervous that they ended up blabbering things that didn’t make sense.

Barry’s father, Henry Allen, was still in prison for the murder of his wife. Barry knew that his father hadn’t killed his mother, but he hadn’t been able to find any evidence to prove his innocence. He clearly remembered that when the real perpetrators had broken into his house, Henry was not even in the house and had gone to the supermarket to bring tomatoes. Barry had been relying on the CCTV camera footage of that grocery store, but when Bruce Wayne sent him that evidence, his hopes were shattered. Henry Allen was wearing a cap that day, and he didn’t look up at the camera, so it could never be proved that it was him who was picking up that can of tomato. Barry was disappointed in himself; he was a superhero; he hung out with the most powerful people in the world, and yet, he couldn’t save his father from being falsely indicted. Meanwhile, Barry had realized that he could go back in time, and he told Batman that he could maybe use this unique power of his to save his mother. Batman didn’t want Barry to go back in time, as he believed that changing anything could have serious implications. At that moment, it felt like Barry had abandoned the idea and had taken Batman’s advice seriously. But it was not so.

Iris West, Barry’s school crush, had started showing a lot of interest in him. She was a journalist, and at first, Barry thought that she was just talking to him because she wanted some insight into his father’s case, but later, he realized that it was not the only reason why she was making an effort. While talking to her, Barry realized that if he went back in time and didn’t talk to anyone and only made sure that his mother didn’t forget to pick up the tomato can, then maybe everything would change. As per his understanding, just keeping the tomato can in her shopping cart wasn’t going to have any sort of consequences, but Barry had little knowledge about the concepts of time travel, and he had no clue what blunder he was about to commit.

What Happens In The Alternate Timeline?

Barry went back in time and made sure that his mother picked up the tomato can. He was going to come back to his original timeline when he gets pushed by Dark Flash (a Flash from an alternate time), and he accidentally reaches the year 2013, when he was almost 18 years old. Barry goes inside his house to find out that his mother is still alive. He meets his younger self and realizes that because he had placed that tomato can in his mother’s shopping trolley, everything has changed. The older Barry realized that it was the day he got his powers, and he was skeptical if that would even happen with his younger self since now, everything was happening differently. Older Barry knew that it was important for his younger version to get those powers, so he took him to the exact same spot in the lab and waited for the lightning to strike. A problem arose when he realized that, though the younger Barry became The Flash, he lost his powers in the process.

Barry came to know that the world didn’t know about Aquaman and Wonder Woman because they probably weren’t born, but his only source of hope was that Batman existed in this timeline. He went with his younger self to the Wayne mansion only to find out that Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) was a recluse and that he was not the Batman (Ben Affleck) he knew. Keaton’s Batman had retired, and he told both the Flash that he wouldn’t be able to help their cause. Batman told them that if they changed something in the past, as much as it had an effect on events that took place chronologically after it, it also had an effect on things that happened before. Keaton’s Bruce Wayne gets moved by the plight of Barry, and he decides to come on board and agrees to take them to find Superman, who was being held in a Russian holdout. The three of them reach there to find out that it was not Kal-El who was being held there but his sister, Kara Zor-El. Meanwhile, in The Flash, General Zod arrives on Earth out of nowhere, as he came to know that the key that would help him revive his planet, Krypton, was hidden somewhere on Earth. 

‘The Flash’ Ending Explained: Is Barry Able To Save His Mother?

Originally, the growth codex, the key that General Zod wanted, was inside the last surviving Kryptonian, aka Superman. But now, because the Flash had changed everything, it was inside Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. Zod and his forces entered into deadly combat with Batman, Supergirl, and both the Flash. Keaton’s Batman and Supergirl kept dying on the battlefield, and the younger Flash kept going back in time in the hope of fixing it. But no matter what he did, they ended up meeting the same fate. Batman had told the Flash how certain things remained constant even in different realities, which he referred to as fixed points in time. While stuck in that loop, the older Flash came to the realization that he would have to let go of his mother because if he didn’t, he would break the fabric of the universe he resided in. While stuck in the transit phase, he saw how the different worlds were colliding with each other. The older Flash realized that the Dark Flash was a paradox that was created the moment he decided to jump the timeline and was stuck in the loop because he, too, wanted to change the past.

Though Andy Muschietti’s film is about a superhero, the underlying conflict is about a man who cannot make peace with his past. Barry had thought all his life about what he could have done differently to save his mother. Even his father was being accused of something that he didn’t do, and Flash just couldn’t see him take the fall for the actions of someone else. Barry went back to the supermarket, removed the tomato can from her mother’s cart, and placed it back on the shelf. He looked at his mother one last time, and though she did not recognize him, she gave him a hug, realizing that he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Barry came back to his original timeline, and he knew that no matter how hard it was to part ways with his mother, he had eventually done the right thing.

What Did The Flash End-Credit Scene Signify?

Though Flash came back to his reality, he had changed one thing in the past: he had placed the tomato can on the upper shelf so that when his father came, he would have to look up and the camera would capture his face, and he would be able to use the footage to prove his alibi. The Flash‘s ending gave us a surprise that neither we nor Barry saw coming. Barry was happy that he would meet the Batman he knew, i.e., Ben Affleck, and he wouldn’t have to deal with Keaton’s Batman. But to Barry’s horror, his changing the past and keeping the can on the top shelf had an adverse impact on his reality, and though he was able to save his father, a different man was Batman now.

Batman’s car stopped, and instead of Ben Affleck, George Clooney came out, clad in his suave outfit and looking all dapper. Later in the end-credit scene of The Flash, we saw that Barry met a drunk Aquaman in the bar, and he told him that though Batman was a different man in every timeline, Aquaman remained the same. Barry sought Aquaman’s help, but he was unable to understand anything. Aquaman fell on the footpath, and Barry didn’t know what to do with him. If there is a The Flash sequel, we will definitely see Flash once again going back and forth in time to bring back the Batman he knew. It may be possible that many other things were also changed apart from George Clooney being the Batman, which we believe Barry would come to know eventually.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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