You’ve probably heard by now that The Flash, DC’s latest big-budget superhero flick, will hit U.S. theaters on June 16. You should also know that the film’s star, Ezra Miller, has been accused of multiple crimes, including felony burglary, harassment and disorderly conduct, and, worst of all, abusing and grooming minors, to include isolating an Indigenous teen from their family.
And yet, despite this laundry list of heinous accusations, at no point did DC even consider pulling the plug on this movie. Instead, they have coddled Miller by blaming mental illness for their various alleged crimes, and rewarded them with praise for their performance and a promise to include them in any future Flash films.
Even if it’s true that Miller struggles with mental health issues — and I have no reason to believe it isn’t — that is not an excuse for any of their alleged criminal actions. Yes, they should seek treatment, but they also should have been removed from the DCEU long ago. DC and Warner Bros., unsurprisingly, decided that money means more to them than not supporting terrible people, and so now we’re stuck with Miller’s Flash film.
I’m sure this movie will rake in tons of money, thereby “justifying” the studio’s decision to go ahead with it. But I, for one, do not intend to give them one single cent in support of this shameful display of greed and callousness. And you don’t have to either, for I, with the wonderfully witty assistance of my fellow Book Riot writers, have compiled this list of activities that would be a better use of your time than watching The Flash. No matter how bad or how good the film is, I can guarantee these activities — some book-related, some not — are a much better use of your time.
- Watch the TV show: I cannot believe that I, Barry Allen-hater par excellence, am reduced to recommending the infuriating, ever-worsening, entirely-too-long CW series The Flash. The only thing I can say in its favor is that Grant Gustin is not a violent abuser, which is admittedly a big plus. I can more enthusiastically recommend Justice League: Unlimited, a cartoon series featuring the voice of Michael Rosenbaum as the Flash/Wally West.
- Go see Across the Spider-Verse: As Sonali Dabade reminded me, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is out right now in the U.S. If you want to see a superhero explore different universes, here’s a film you can feel good about!
- Read some comics: No-brainer, huh? Indulge in some of the Flash comics Jessica Plummer recommends. Danika Ellis suggests reading comics by Indigenous creators. Find some recs here, and then buy them from ATCG Books and Comics, the only Native-owned comic book store in the world!
- Do the dishes: Seriously, they’re starting to pile up.
- Watch Michael Keaton’s other movies: A lot of people are excited to see Keaton return as Batman, especially after being deprived of his performance in Batgirl. (Oh, sure, THAT’S the movie they cancel.) But as Jamie Canavés points out, we can always rewatch his older films, including his 1989 and 1992 outings as the Dark Knight, without giving money to the immoral cash grab that The Flash has become. I’m sure there’s a Keaton film you haven’t seen — why not stream it?
- Go for a run: Exercise is good. And, in Jessica’s words, “You won’t be as fast [as the Flash] but you also won’t be shielding an alleged abuser for profit.”
- Read about running: Annika Barranti Klein had the ingenious idea of reading books and memoirs about real-life runners. She specifically recommends What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami and Spirit Run by Noé Álvarez. This list includes those books and many more.
- Create your own Flash stories: When a movie or a comic disappoints, the fandom is always right there to make art and stories with a more satisfying premise or ending. Give it a shot yourself: write your own version of the movie, or draw a picture of an actor you’d like to see play the Flash. You may think you have no creative talent, but who cares? The act of creation is fun anyway, whether or not you feel bold enough to share your creations with others.
- Celebrate Pride Month: ‘Tis the season! Consider attending a Pride parade, supporting a queer-owned business (including bookstores), or having a cozy celebration with loved ones.
- Play with your pet: The Flash is 144 minutes long. Why leave your little darling alone for over two hours when you could make their day with a trip to the park, an extended play session, or even a nice cuddle on the couch? (This suggestion is sponsored by my dog Poppy.)
- Donate to charity: Annika, Danika, Jessica, and I are of one mind about this: we all think it would be a fantastic idea to donate to RAINN, Outright Vermont, the Standing Rock Community Development Corporation, and other charities that work to help the kinds of people Miller has allegedly victimized. Or you could give to the Hero Initiative, which helps comics creators (including former Flash writer William Messner-Loebs) with medical bills and other expenses. Donating the price of a movie theater ticket and some popcorn would be great!
Why bother doing any of these things? Will it make a difference?
Big-picture-wise, no. DC and Warner Bros. clearly do not care about the harm they are doing by supporting and promoting Miller. No studio exec is going to read this article, shed a single tear of remorse, and throw away millions of dollars by pulling The Flash from theaters.
You cannot control or stop corporate greed. But you can control yourself. Sometimes, you don’t do the right thing with the expectation of changing the world. You do it for the personal knowledge that you faced a painful crossroads and made the right decision.
I think by now we have all had to choose between supporting a franchise we love and standing with vulnerable people being hurt by that franchise’s creators. It sucks. The fact that these studios repeatedly use their power to enable abusers rather than de-platform them also sucks. But when you’re implementing any of the suggestions in this article — whether it’s discovering a great new comic or trying to teach your dog to play fetch — you’ll remember that there are some nice things in the world, too.