Minor spoilers for Justice League below
Justice League is easily the funniest DC movie to date. Central to that humor is the Flash–A.K.A. Barry Allen–played by Ezra Miller. He’s not all comic relief, but he’s most of the comic relief. And what relief it is.
We sat down with Miller and asked him why the Flash is so funny in Justice League.
“I was really trying to follow the thread of this character as I unraveled it from the comics history. That’s what I referred to,” Miller said. “I’m very proud to fall into this legacy of actors who are playing the Flash, but my interest in research was looking at the comics and trying to think about, in my mind, how I can understand it? What does this person look like in real life?”
“I think, often, ‘funny’ is Barry’s reaction,” Miller continued. “It’s something that naturally occurs because of how deeply human and flawed and nervous he is, and how much of a dork he is, how his mind’s constantly in science, how he’s always talking to himself. I mean, if you read the comic books, who is this guy always talking to himself like this? He’s a weird guy–a little neurotic, maybe.
“My approach was trying to follow in line with the history from the comics and trying to bring that to life in a way that I could understand as a real person, and I’m glad that ‘funny’ is one of the results of that.”
The Flash isn’t the only member of the Justice League who understands the value of a good joke. Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and even Cyborg get their quips in. Humor doesn’t dominate Justice League, but it’s an important component that helps make the film work, occasionally lightening the mood of an otherwise serious film.
“You’ve got so many different personalities,” Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg, told GameSpot. “Bruce Wayne has his particular style of comedy. You know, each character, just like each of the actors, has their own specific sense of how to have fun.”
Miller said he’s glad everyone gets their comedic moments, rather than the Flash being the only comic relief.
“I was also glad that every else in the League has moments of humor that are really wonderful,” he said. “Everyone has these moments, which draws it out of this space of a serious movie where there’s one annoying joker who’s like always saying a punch line.”
Some of Justice League‘s jokes were improvised, while others were written into the script. A scene involving Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s lasso was one of the latter, while a funny moment involving a fist bump between the Flash and Cyborg was partially improvised.
“The fist bump was kind of developed on the fly; it actually worked in reverse order, where the first time Ray and I did the fist bump is actually the last time you see it in the movie, and that really was improvised,” Miller said. “And so then, tracking back, we wrote in the reality of attempting it a couple of times and not quite getting there, which Ray and I talked about as something we felt much more comfortable with–to have a trajectory, and have them not just be ‘because they’re the millennials and they fist bump.'”
The first time the Flash tries to fist bump Cyborg, it doesn’t go very well, which leads Barry to mutter humorously about the act being “racially charged.” Miller said he improvised that specific line, and that it’s one of his favorite parts.
“I feel like we managed to, in a short period of time, explore some of the things that surround that for them. [It’s] an improvised line which I feel extremely proud of,” he said. “Because I do feel like that was pressing and pertinent in that situation, and that’s often what’s funny…When we talk about race, especially in America, in a huge part of our political spectrum, that’s what’s completely missing–is just any type of acknowledgment.
“It’s this so-called ‘age of colorblindness,’ where racial inequality is still so blatant and clear and in everyone’s face, but you have this massive part of the population that says, ‘No, it’s not. What are you talking about? You’re playing the race card!'” he continued. “You know what I mean? And it’s like, yeah, acknowledgement! That’s what I’m into.”
“It’s nice to have those little, quiet moments to see the nuances of who we are specifically,” Fisher explained. “It’s just about seeing bits of yourself in these other characters–in these other people.”
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