‘Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox’ Review

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Jutice League Flaspoint Paradox Reivews Blu ray DVD 2013 Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is DC Universe’s feature-length animated adaptation of the DC Comics Flashpoint crossover event of 2011. In the story, The Flash/Barry Allen (Justin Chambers) awakens in an alternate reality, in which he has no powers, there is no such thing as superheroes, and his friends from the Justice League are all skewed and non-heroic versions of themselves.

The closest thing Barry can find to an ally is the alternate version of Batman (Kevin McKidd), who is skeptical at first, but quickly reveals his own reasoning for wanting Barry’s crazy story to be true. However, their plan to restore the timeline to its natural state has many hurdles – including the machinations of the Reverse-Flash (C. Thomas Howell), a lack of allies to pull off the plan, and the small matter of an ongoing war between Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall) and Aquaman (Cary Elwes) that is quickly pushing the entire world to the brink of Armageddon.

Wonder Womans Army in Justice League The Flashpoint Paradox Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review

Flashpoint was a fairly well-received crossover event, thanks to the writing talents of Geoff Johns. While the DCU animated feature doesn’t have the freedom to explore some of the more fascinating corners of Johns’ Flashpoint Continuity, it is still a solidly cinematic and exciting adaptation of the core Flashpoint storyline. In keeping with the increasingly synergistic nature of DC’s comic book/TV/Film properties, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (as its title clearly implies) serves as a suitable vision of the entire Justice League, while still managing to propel The Flash to the forefront. That’s to say: this movie is a good example of why Barry Allen is both a rich and complex enough character to sustain his own live-action film, and is a character who can bridge the shared continuity of a Justice League movie universe.

Director Jay Oliva has been responsible for some of the better DCU animated works of the last few years (Young JusticeBatman: The Dark Knight Returns, Parts 1&2) so it’s not really surprising that he’s able to capture the darker and grittier look and tone of the Flashpoint continuity so well. Gripes about animation style aside, the film is definitely designed to be enjoyed on Blu-ray hi-def in a home theater setting. The visuals and sounds are crisp and have the feel of a blockbuster animated feature – rather than the aesthetic of an extended TV episode, which you get with some of these animated films from DCU (see: Superman Unbound).

Aquaman Cary Elwes in Justice League The Flashpoint Paradox Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review

Unfortunately, Flashpoint Paradox continues in the disappointing transition away from the golden-era styles of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s Batman: The Animated Series, moving further into the animation style and aesthetic of modern anime. While Batman and Flash still look good enough (Flash’s running posture is a bit strange), other characters like Wonder Woman and Aquaman are simply designed in ways that don’t vibe with the tone of a DC Universe. Aquaman should have a neck… just saying.

On the plus side, the action sequences are pretty epic and adult oriented (read:  PG-13 violent), and there plenty of nice Easter egg nods to other characters in the DC Universe, most of whom have been given a nice “Flashpoint” twist. The voice acting is pretty on point, as well: Chambers and McKidd are a good team for the odd-pairing of Batman and The Flash; Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan is good voice for Cyborg; and there are plenty of  winking fan-favorite appearances from DCU icons like Kevin Conroy (as the “regular” version of Batman), Dana Delany (reprising her longtime role as Lois Lane), Nathan Fillion (‘the people’s Hal Jordan’) and even some legacy casting in Sam Daly (as in son of iconic Superman voice actor Tim Daly), who steps in to voice the Flashpoint version of Superman! How could any longtime DCU fan NOT love that?

Batman Kevin McKidd and Flash Justin Chambers in Justice League The Flashpoint Paradox Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review

While there is plenty of refreshing material to enjoy in Flashpoint Paradox (alternate universe tales are often some of the most enjoyable in comic book lore) there is also the sense that we are only scratching the surface of a  rich universe worth exploring further. It’s a problem that some would say also plagued the comic book version: the Flashpoint continuity was so interesting that a brief tromp through it before DC’s milestone “New 52″ reboot felt like wasted opportunity. The animated feature keeps its focus on the core storyline most of the time, but interesting  tangental scenes exploring the human resistance to the Atlantean/Amazonian war – or the altered history of Flashpoint Batman – certainly tease the viewer with intriguing material that the comics explored in more depth, but the animated film never does. Great incentive to go out and pickup the Flashpoint graphic novel for a read; but as far as a self-contained movie goes, it’s untidy storytelling.

Still, wanting to know more than you’re getting is a minor complaint when it comes to big movies. There are precious few DCU films that feature second-tier characters like The Flash, and this is certainly one of the best. A worthy buy for any fan of the material (or the characters), and a good film for even casual fans (or those curious about the potential for future live-action films) to check out.

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Blu-Ray Special Features

Justice League Flashpoint Paradox Blu ray Cover Art Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review

  • Audio Commentary: Producer James Tucker, director Jay Olivia, screenwriter Jim Krieg and comic writer Geoff Johns discuss Krieg’s adaptation of Johns’ original comicbook story, the differences between the two, and everything from the Studio 4°C animation to the character designs, voice casting, action beats, favorite scenes and more.
  • A Flash in Time: Time Travel in the Flash Universe (HD, 22 minutes): “The Hero’s Journey” author Phil Cousineau outlines a brief history of time as interpreted in stories by the Greeks and other cultures, followed by an overview of the manipulation of time as conceived and implemented in the Flash universe. It’s a rather dry doc, though; overly serious and rather tangential to the animated movie and the Flash mythos.
  • My Favorite Villain! The Flash Bad Guys (HD, 19 minutes): Flash fans will enjoy the disc’s second documentary much more. The Rogues are front and center — chief among them Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, The Weather Wizard and The Reverse Flash — and their origins, personalities and roles in the DC universe are dissected by the filmmakers and other talking heads.
  • Sneak Peak at Justice League: War (HD, 8 minutes): A look at the next DCU animated movie, Justice League: War, an adaptation of “The New 52″ origin story of the JLA. War features fresh versions of the characters, new voice actors, a quippier “buddy movie” tone, and the first battle between Darkseid and the JLA in the New 52 universe, and is set to arrive on Blu-ray sometime in early 2014.
  • From the Vault (HD/SD, 89 minutes): Four DCU animated TV series episodes are included — “Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!” from Batman: The Brave and the Bold and “Flash and Substance” from Justice League: Season Two are presented in standard definition, while “Legends, Parts 1 & 2″ from Justice League Unlimited is presented in HD.
  • Flashpoint #1 Digital Comic Excerpt (HD): An 8-page excerpt of Geoff Johns’ Flashpoint #1.

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Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, (Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack), VOD, Digital Download and on iTunes.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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TAGS: justice league, the flash

82 Comments

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  1. I like the movie. After the timeline changed Aquaman looked like he was on steroids He’s twice as big as he was in the museum scene and his neck is gone i guess he was having roid rage that would explain why he was so ruthless.
    I didnt care for the anime style too much but i still enjoyed the movie. It proves Flash can hold his own movie animated or live action. And I noticed his suit changed at the end.

    I cant wait for Justice League War though. I bet it will be the best one yet.

    • Listen I just watched this movie and it’s was good but the discrepancies were mind boggling. First Superman is not the strongest being on the planet, two Wonder women is not stronger than Captain Marvel nor does her lasso work on him he is impervious to magic, Billy Batson is Captain Marvel not a bunch of kids, If he says “shazam” is would just say it again not just stand there and get stabbed. Good paradox but a bunch of bull.

      • So you missed the point about this being an alternate timeline where those discrepancies are possible…? Flash changed everything so Superman didn’t get strong because he hasn’t spent years in a yellow sun. And though not explained in depth in the movie, it’s obvious the way it changed Captain Marvel is that instead “Captain THunder” is made up of ALL the marvel kids.

        (And even in continuity, Magic beings aren’t immune to the lasso. NO ONE is immune to the lasso)

        • You nailed it man couldn’t have said it better myself good job!

  2. I loved this story in the comics and was really excited for this animated version. But man, the art and some of the character designs almost ruined it for me. Aquaman in particular looks horrible.

  3. i give it 5/5….best animation they have done…everything is great story…voice acting….fights are epic…..brilliant.

  4. I gave it a 4/5. The violence was a little much, and I wasn’t a fan of some of the character designs (re: Aquaman), but the story itself was engaging and the animation itself (particularly the big action set pieces) was stunning.

  5. I just watched this… awesome!

  6. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox needs to also be available on NETFLIX!

  7. Excellent. I can’t really fault this one. Particularly enjoyable was the Thomas Wayne character. Well done DC animation.

  8. Just finished this. Awesome!!

    Only issue I had was with Superman, I know the story required that his life was changed as well but seeing him that skinny and useless was uncomfortable for me. During that last epic fight scene I was hoping he’d fly in, all bulked-up, and save everyone spewing some moralistic catchphrase. But I remembered that this wasn’t about him and he was rightly relegated to the role of a victim.

    My favorite parts:
    Superman holding that bomb in his hands while everyone else has to disarm it or let it explode.

    The death, there’s a lot of it, and blood. Not used to seeing so much in movies like this, surprisingly shocked.

    Aquaman’s bulked up form should be how he’s portrayed from now on. And little things like him being able to control the oceans microbes at will only added to him as a superhero.

    Wonder Woman was such a bad-ass b**ch, its a nice change to see a woman superhero not be the “shrinking violet” they usually are portrayed to be. When she finishes off Aquaman I literally screamed “awesome” at my screen. If a movie about her is ever made I hope she’s always got a sword with her, I know she’s got these superhuman abilities, like Supes, but nothing beats the finality that cold, hard steel can deal.

    5 out of 5 – Magnificent

  9. THis was a phenomenal movie yet a terrible review. Dont review this movie on how it jibes with a comic book. Most people have never read it. Review it on its own merits. On its own merits this is an excellent movie the voice acting is top notch the action is thrilling and as the reviewer stated this is a unniverse that is so compelling that you would spend more time there. There is a twist on the Joker mythos that was shocking. All in all the Flash Paradox is a 10 out of 10 for me.

  10. There were only two things I didn’t like. Firstly, some of the characters looked ridiculous and, yes, I’m mainly talking about Flashpoint Aquaman. The Flashpoint Superman made me a feel a bit iffy, but that was the point, I guess. Flashpoint Batman looked pretty awesome, but I was unsure of why Flashpoint… Harley (?) used yo-yos. I mean, were they steel-reinforced or something?

    Secondly, Wonder Woman’s entire motivation. She had an affair with Aquaman and then, when his wife found out and attacked, Wonder Woman killed her. Aquaman declares war and Wonder Woman launches an all-out assault against the world because she’s a woman scorned? She definitely still has feelings for Aquaman. It just seems silly to reduce a powerful, ruthless female to a weak, lovesick warrior.

    I hope there’s a DC Showcase featuring this alternate Batman and Joker – the hints in the movie and what I’ve heard happens in the comics make me believe that there’s an extra bit of story that people will want to see.

    • @ reno2200: I didn’t read Wonder Woman’s motivations as “a woman scorned” … rather, I interpreted the sequence of events as this: Atlantis and Themyscira enter into an alliance. The two monarchs are attracted to each other and have an affair. The spouse of one of the monarchs learns of the affair and becomes jealous. She attacks the other woman/monarch, and while defending herself, kills the Queen. The forces of Atlantis cry out for vengeance and attack Paradise Island, presumably decimating/destroying it. The Amazons then invade Great Britain, which they rename New Themyscira. The Atlanteans attack New Themyscira with a tidal wave weapon, but only western Europe suffers due to the magical defenses of the Amazons. That’s where we are when the Barry wakes up after the opening title shot. Course, that’s just my reading …

    • I might have been mistaken, but I interpreted her invading Briton as to gain an advantage over the Atlanteans, who are out to destroy them regardless, she chose her interests in the war over the lives of the people of a foreign land. The other outsiders the Amazons attacked were people getting in their way or resisting them. Which is still pretty damn harsh, but i saw it as her choosing her own people over others. One thing i did question though was how she killed that one guy by slowly strangling him, which was unnecessarily cruel and she seemed to relish in it, why not just quickly snap his neck.

      • Amazons are quite anti-male. Wonder Woman obviously (at least for a time) disagreed with this and thought Aquaman was alright and had an affair. When his wife found out and subsequently attacked and was killed, Aquaman seemed to care only that Wonder Woman had killed his wife, not that his wife was the aggressor or that, by having an affair, he was partly to blame.

        Wonder Woman clearly took issue with this and returned to the standard anti-male stance of the Amazons, as evidenced by her seeming to get a kick out of killing the guy that is, in many versions of the Wonder Woman story, her main love interest. To me, this just seems a bit petty, really.

  11. Not being a comic reader for decades, I took the animated feature as a stand alone entertainment source. 1st impressions: This is darker than anything I’ve seen from DC or for that matter, any animated feature. Murder, Torture, Hangings, Beheadings, Impalings, Ripping a person from limb to limb. Putting a bullet through someone’s head, Killing children. Genocide. Wow. Let’s just heap one atrocious act after another. This isn’t the Super Friends DC universe. Disturbing, but this was done for emotional impact. All this lead up to what? Nothing much really. Great alternatives to well established characters far and wide, turning the world as we know it in very unexpected directions, and then, nothing much. Great beginning, if this was an opening chapter to something else, but as a standalone, the conclusion didn’t work for me.

  12. Justice League: Flashpoint is so better than the previous DCU film: Superman Unbound. First, it gots emotions. Try not to feel anything when Barry sees his mom for the first time or when he decides that his mom must die because if she lives, the universe will die. Try not to feel anything when Batman receives the letter from his father. It’s the story of a super hero who tried to save his mom and the consequences of it. I was afraid after Superman Unbound that James Tucker would destroy everything good in DC Comics. Superman Unbound had no emotions and no sense (just see the beginning with cops shooting at Lois Lane three feet from her). Do I find the looking of Aquaman weird? Yes. But I can live with a weird Aquaman if the story is good. More Flashpoint Paradox, Less Unbound! Sorry for the english, not my first language. Don’t attack my arguments by pointing at my english.

  13. The art is SOOO BAD. Why anime, it sucks. Good story though.

    • Except for the end when the plot completely falls apart and makes zero sense.

  14. did anyone else find the batman vs yoyo scene very beautiful??

  15. Alternate time lines are a cheat and a sign that the writers are out of fresh ideas.

    The anime style should be reserved for Japanimation and not foisted on an American audience who has followed these characters for seventy-five years.

    Take some pride in what you are producing.

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