- The Flash‘s tribute to previous Batman actors failed to have the same impact as the children’s cartoon Batwheels, which dedicated a whole episode to Adam West, whose voice recordings were repurposed for the Classic Batmobile character.
- The Flash disregarded Ben Affleck’s Batman, cut Michael Keaton’s Batman appearance short, reduced George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne to a joke, and barely showed Adam West’s Batman on screen.
- The Flash‘s other cameos, with poor CGI and strange timing, seemed superficial and lacked attention to detail compared to Batwheels‘ respectful and fleshed out homage to Adam West’s Batman.
The Flash‘s homage to previous Batman actors didn’t have the same impact as a similar tribute by the DC children’s cartoon, Batwheels. Barry Allen’s multiversal story in The Flash allowed him to take a peek into different universes. But even though Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, Adam West, and George Clooney’s shared appearance is an unprecedented event, The Flash still failed to make their return matter.
Ben Affleck’s Batman role in The Flash was to provide Barry Allen with helpful advice at the beginning of The Flash, but Barry promptly disregarded it after seeing the negative effects of time travel and still insisting on changing the past. After that, Affleck’s Batman seems to have been erased from existence, and Barry doesn’t seem to care too much about it. Likewise, Michael Keaton’s Batman was destined either to die or be replaced. And what’s even worse, George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne and Adam West’s Batman were reduced to a mere joke and a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, respectively.
Why Batwheels’ Live-Action Batman Cameo Avoids The Flash’s Issues
The animated series Batwheels pays homage to Adam West’s Batman with the introduction of the 1960s Batman Batmobile, voiced by the late Adam West himself. While the posthumous use of recorded footage and likenesses is still a contentious matter, Warner Bros. did receive explicit consent from Adam West to use his voice for projects released after his death. Respecting that permission, Batwheels gives West’s Batmobile character a fleshed out role in the show, dedicating a whole episode to him.
The time and effort put into Adam West’s Batwheels appearance is even more special considering that Batwheels‘ target audience isn’t expected to understand the context around the classic Batmobile and its voice. It isn’t included in the show for shock value or to capitalize on nostalgia. Instead, Batwheels simply intends to pay homage to Adam West’s legacy as Batman, whereas The Flash barely took the time to present West’s Batman on screen before moving on to the next cameo character.
Why The Flash’s Cameo Criticisms Mean DC Has To Be Even More Careful In The Future
The Flash‘s cameos made the movie an exciting event, but the surprise appearances of previous DC actors can’t help but come across as superficial. Their abrupt timing, the arbitrary choice of actors, and the poor CGI in The Flash‘s multiversal cameo sequence, for instance, sends the wrong message about the movie’s intentions. Adam West’s Batman received a fraction of the screentime given to Nicolas Cage’s Superman, and George Reeves’ Superman cameo seems insensitive given the actor’s complicated real-life relationship with the character. The Flash could have included all the cameo characters that it did, but it needed more time and attention to detail, similar to Batwheels‘ homage to Adam West.