Ezra Miller, who portrays the Flash in Warner Bros.'s current DC cinematic universe, recently announced he was working on a new script for the character's upcoming solo film, along with veteran comic book writer Grant Morrison. Not only that, but Miller is reportedly unhappy with the current Flash script's lighthearted tone, and he wants something darker. I've seen some mixed reactions to this, with most of the complaints objecting to yet another dark and gritty DC movie, especially for the Flash.
When Wally West became the Flash in the 1980s, the tone may have been more serious and the stories less bizarre (except when Grant Morrison was writing them), but they never fully embraced the grimdark trends everyone was so eager to follow in the wake of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. Early on in his own series, Wally did some freelance work for the IRS, and even brought a date to a reunion party for Barry's now-retired rogues, where a fun time was had by all. During Mark Waid's run on The Flash in the 1990s, he wrote Wally West as someone who loved being the Flash, enjoying the chance to help people and make a positive difference, instead of thinking of heroism as a burden he was cursed to bear, and Geoff Johns largely followed suit in the early 2000s. The love Wally shared with Linda Park, who he eventually married, was literally strong enough to thwart the demon Neron, one of DC's versions of the devil. (I'll be covering this particular story in more detail on Heroic Legacy at some point.)
As for Wally, Lord knows he's had to deal with some grim moments during his tenure as the Flash. When The Flash was relaunched in 1987, the first 14 issues were written by Mike Baron, who later went on to have a lengthy tenure at Marvel writing for the Punisher - and there wasn't much difference in tone and style, other than Wally not killing people as the Flash. Waid briefly replaced Wally with his scarred, more brutal future counterpart. When Geoff Johns brought back thee Flash's classic rogues gallery in full force, he also made them a lot more murderous, while introducing new enemies such as Murmur and Cicada who left behind considerable bodycounts. Johns also gave Wally a new arch-foe - Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom, who believed heroes needed to suffer tragedy in order to make them "better." To this end, Zoom went after Wally's family, causing Linda, who was pregnant, to miscarry. (This was later undone, although there was much drama first. And in the end, that didn't end happily either...)
Eventually, though, I remembered my own introduction to the Flash - the 1990 TV series starring John Wesley Shipp. In the series, which threw in a murdered brother to motivate Barry to use his speed to fight crime as the Flash. So from the beginning, I knew the Flash as someone driven by loss and tragedy. In fact, when I read the comic version of his origin story in Secret Origins Annual #2 (1988), the first Flash comic I ever read (back when I was very new to comics), I remember finding the origin a bit underwhelming compared to the one on the show. With this in mind, Johns giving him a murdered relative to drive him didn't feel quite as outrageous. I still don't like the change, but I've gotten off my indignant high horse about it. I also think it's been handled extremely well on the current Flash TV series on the CW, allowing for all sorts of well-crafted dramatic moments.
So with all this in mind, much to my surprise, I'm open to a darker Flash film, just as I'd be open to something lighter in tone. What's going to matter is the execution, darkness for a purpose instead of "just because," and the quality of the movie in the end. If they pull that off, I'll be there with my ticket to support it.