The Flash is a 2009 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It serves as the Flash's introduction into the DC Movie Universe and stars Andrew Garfield as the Flash, Barry Allen, with Emma Stone as his love interest, Iris West. Alexis Denisof portrays Heat Wave, the film's villain, while Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Charles Dance and Anthony Anderson provide supporting roles. The film was directed by Joe Johnston and the music was done by Cliff Martinez.
The film begins on a school sports day. Barry Allen and Hunter Zolomon come last in the race, but Barry is consoled by his parents, who congratulate him for at least taking part. However, nobody comes to console Hunter. The two become friends and learn of their mutual interest in science. They go on to become college room mates, but in the middle of the semester, Barry's mother is killed in a random mugging. He then decides to devote his life to forensic science.
Years later, Barry (Andrew Garfield) works as a scientist for the Central City Police. He is still haunted by his mother's murder, and still feels guilty that he could do nothing about it. Barry is also involved with the beautiful lab assistant Iris West (Emma Stone). One day, he is visited by his old friend Hunter (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who tells Barry that he is embarking on a project that could change the world of both science and humanity forever, and would be honored if Barry would help. Barry agrees to assist Hunter and the two conduct much research together.
Eventually, they realize that it is time to conduct an experiment to see if they have cracked the mystery. However, they lack a proper lab. Barry arranges it so that they can sneak into the police lab during the night and use it in the experiment. During the experiment, however, they lose control, which results in an explosion. Barry is struck by an energy bolt and bathed in chemicals, as is Hunter. Both are taken to hospital; Barry recovers a short time later with no injuries, but Hunter lapses into a coma.
The scene is investigated by fire consultant Mick Rory (Alexis Denisof), who is deeply puzzled by what he sees. Police Captain Darryl Frye (Charles Dance), who sees Barry as something of a son, pulls some strings, allowing him to be let off criminal charges, but he is also left without a job. He soon falls behind on rent and loses his apartment too. Later, he moves in with Iris, and their relationship becomes more serious.
Barry learns that the accident has enhanced his speed and strength, to his confusion and amazement. He sets about trying to recreate the formula that he and Hunter used on the night in hopes of learning more about it. He also sees it as a way of completing Hunter's research.
One day, Barry is walking through the city and witnesses a mugging, but does nothing about it. That night, he is awoken by a nightmare, in which he possesses super speed and fails to prevent a mugging, which leads to his mother's death. Inspired, Barry finds an old comic he owned about a superhero called the Flash; the alter ego of an average man named Jay Garrick. Barry creates a new costume and takes up the mantle of the crime fighter the Flash.
When Rory witnesses the Flash's abilities himself, he becomes obsessed with becoming more like him. He soon puts two and two together and figures out that Barry is the Flash. He meets with Barry and tells him that he will keep his secret safe if he gives him the formula he used on the night, which Barry has just about cracked. However, in a more cryptic way, Rory warns that harm may come to Iris if Barry refuses.
Once Barry completes the formula, he gives it to Rory, albeit a slightly incorrect version. Barry thinks that Rory wants to sell it on the black market, and by giving him faulty research, it would be harmless. He fails to actually take a look at what he does provide Rory with, which is a far more dangerous formula.
Rory attempts to recreate what happened to Barry and Hunter, and once again the experiment overloads. The explosion is far smaller however, and instead of gaining super speed, Rory gains the power to control fire. Calling himself Heat Wave, he begins a crime spree across Central City.
Barry deduces that Rory is Heat Wave and goes to confront him. The two have a large fight in the middle of the city, which Iris witnesses. Rory spots Iris and kidnaps her before fleeing the scene. Returning home, Barry finds a note left by Rory, inviting him to meet on the bridge, and telling him to bring the real formula.
Barry arrives at the bridge and meets Rory, both of them out of costume. Iris is not with Rory, but he promises Barry that she will be waiting for him at home if he just gives Rory the real formula so that he can also obtain super speed. Fearing for Iris' safety, Barry hands over his research and walks away. Suddenly, people begin murmuring around him and he looks up to see Iris suspended above his head from the bridge's framework. Diving into the back on an empty car where no one can see him, Barry changes into the Flash and charges off to rescue Iris. Rory witnesses this and transforms into Heat Wave. The two enemies stare each other down from opposite sides of the bridge and then charge at each other. A final showdown ensues, during which an oil tanker is overturned. Barry rescues the driver, but when he returns to fight Rory, he is knocked into the tanker. Rory tries to ignite the fuel line, but Barry jumps out of the way just in time. The sheer force of the explosion knocks Rory off of the bridge,, falling to is death. Barry finds the briefcase containing his research and throws it into the water, not wanting what he learned to ever be used for evil again. He and Iris return home, while the Flash becomes known as a hero to the city.
Just before the credits roll, the film cuts to Hunter lying in hospital, while a news report about the Flash plays on the TV, and his eyes open. In a mid-credits scene, Barry is walking down the street when a limo drives by and the driver's window opens to reveal Mercy Graves (Charlize Theron), who asks Barry if he ever considered coming to Metropolis to work for LexCorp, but he declines, stating that he is happy where he is, and then enters a coffee shop where he kisses Iris.
- Andrew Garfield as The Flash/Bartholomew "Barry" Allen
- Emma Stone as Iris West
- Alexis Denisof as Heat Wave/Mickey "Mick" Rory
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Hunter Zolomon
- Charles Dance as Captain Darryl Frie
- Anthony Anderson as James Forrest
Additionally, Charlize Theron portrays Mercy Graves in the film's mid-credit scene.
The Flash was followed by The Flash 2, which sees Hunter Zolomon become the villain Zoom in addition to the Trickster and introduces Iris' nephew Wally West, and The Flash: Speed Force, in which Wally becomes Kid Flash and assists Barry in battling Gorilla Grodd.