‘Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 15th, 2014 at 12:16 am,

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

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.

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. Kofi Outlaw is such a bad@ss name.

  2. Kofi what did you think of “The Wolverine”? What would you give the movie out of 5 stars? Is this a movie that I should go out of my way to see this week or should I wait for the blu-ray release?

    Thanks

  3. 3.5?! I thought it was at the very least a 4.. But then again I never read the comic book. I thought the movie was awesome though

    • Same here, review sounds like a solid 4. I was a bit surprised how violent it was though.

    • Definitely a 4 but a 5 from me.

    • Nick gives this a 4 out of 5 and says ‘The Wolverine’ sucked? You reek of DC fanboy.

      • I’m not a fanboy of either side. But I can write a 5 paragraph essay on why wolverine was the worst xmen movie I’ve seen

        • @Nick M

          So I’m guessing you actually didn’t watch The Wolverine then if you have that much hate for it.

    • IF not a 4.5 even? I didn’t read the comic I just saw this awesome movie. In fact, about to watch it again right now. Godspeed. lol

  4. The story was good enough, but I hated the animation, and it prevented me from truly enjoying the film. Marvel has done a better job with adapting the anime style, but DC needs to find one of their own.

    • You lost me at marvel had better animation than dc.

      • He meant the anime style specifically. If you’ve seen the Wolverine and Blade anime series’, I think you might agree actually.
        That said, I prefer traditional animation over anime, so I still think, overall, DC does a better job with animation. Young Justice is a prime example imo.

        • Yeah but those were made in japan by anime studios and not by marvel, so marvel didnt adapt the anime style there, it was just straight up anime.

      • He said anime style. Learn to read and comprehend before you spout off.

        • well then hes just flat out wrong when I stop to comprehend.

  5. Will be picking this up later today. I’ve read bits and pieces of Flashpoint, it’s a very interesting story. Especially the alternate story of Batman.

  6. It was a great movie, one of the better DC animated movies. Let’s hope they stay on this track and floor it since this type of storytelling has a whole lot of potential. Like Kofi said, they just need to tweak the animation a bit, some of the characters looked very odd.

    The movie was a bit bloody in some parts as well, not sure if it’d be suitable for kids these days, though I could be wrong. While I’m not a gore kinda guy, I was pleased to see they didn’t really hold back on the brutality, you felt the punches at times. It all took me by surprise to be honest.

    I’ve read somewhere they’ll be making a shared universe / continuity with the animated movies. I think it’s perfect, a live action continuity as well as an animated one? How can I say no.

  7. I thought this was the best dc animation yet, so loved it
    5/5 from me.
    Only down part for me was it wasn’t long enough to explore each character in depth.

    • I agree. I really feel like they could have pushed for 2hrs with this one.

  8. Personally I loved it. Loved the story and I love the “slight” twists in history that take place.

  9. Thanks for the review Kofi!
    I will definitely catch the film to see more of Flash, oh yeah!
    Hopefully Olivia would return to help work on a Flash live action film.

    The director Jay Olivia was the story board artist on ‘Man of Steel’ and worked closely with Zach Snyder to develop the story visually. Olivia also showed Snyder some action sequences done in the DCU animation, primarily those including Superman, in order to show what has been done on screen. Snyder did not wish to repeat anything but definitely understood the scale fans are accustomed to watch and may enjoy on the big screen.

    I think it is great that Snyder brought in and listened to someone from DC animation to work on Man of Steel. Hopefully this is the first step in including more input,however minimal, into the growing DC Cinematic Universe.

    I highly recommend catching the interview online. Interesting read and insight to the creation of Man of Steel story on screen. It also addresses some of the more common criticism of the scale and Superman’s action in the film as well as overall general reception.

  10. I really liked it. It’s not my favorite DCA movie, but it’s definitely up there.

    That said, I do hope they shy away from the anime-styling a bit. Young Justice had a great visual style that was modern, and still kind of reminiscent of the older animated shows. They would be wise in sticking with that as much as possible (unless, of course, the goal is to do it in the style of the source material’s artist – ala The Dark Knight Returns)

    My main gripe though, was at the very end: that sequence where Flash was speeding through the city. It looked very, very strange. It’s like they tried to do some weird 3D thing, but it fell flat imo.

    I’d definitely watch this one again. Despite the before-mentioned issues I had with the animation, the story was well adapted (although, they could have included some more content with a slightly longer run time), and the voice acting was, not surprisingly, superb.
    It’s always a treat hearing Conroy’s Batman and Fillion’s Green Lantern – not to take anything away from the rest of the cast though, who were all great as well.

    • I actually thought this and young justice had very similar styles, but you thought they were different? I guess the young justice style is slightly better but they are very similar to me. If anything Id say Yj’s is (slightly)more realistic I guess.

      I believe they used the cg for the flash to somehow make his speeding look different and faster, they blend the two well but it still sticks out.

      • They are very similar, but it’s pretty clear this had some heavy anime influences as well (which I didn’t really like).

        • The anime style only works with certain things.

          Some people like the anime Wolverine and Iron Man, but I just can’t bring myself to like the designs.

          However, the final segment of “Batman: Gotham Knight”, “Deadshot”, shows that it could work if it’s drawn in a really different way.

          • The anime wolverine and ironman show how this isn’t really anime but just influenced, because those two are full fledged animes and weird looking.
            Course when we keep saying animey or anime influenced we actually mean realistic, as in the characters are drawn realistically whilst anime is also realistic but slightly more round or sharp in areas.

        • I actually would say this was more comic booky style in the way they are drawn due to the bulkieness of some characters, just look at aquaman.
          But the color palette seemed more anime(very rich and vibrant) whilst Yj’s is more dry and real.

          • I liked aquaman like that. He should be bulkier like that all the time instead of just having similar body proportions as superman or batman etc.

  11. Nicely timed, releasing this movie the same day that they confirmed Barry Allen will be introduced on Arrow season 2 for a potential spin-off. (according to another TV site)

  12. the CW is making a spin-off of ARROW, it’s FLASH. That’s right, so much for see our favorite speedster on the big screen.

    • I wouldn’t say Flash making it on TV means he can’t make it on the big screen as well. The thing is, Green Arrow and even Flash to an extent need to be out in the public eye more. Early Green Arrow would have been hard to call anything but an alternate Batman, (understandable, considering how things were originally going to go.) These days that damage has been reversed to a good extent, with the characters brought into the Arrow Family like Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow and Black Canary. As for Flash, the problem stems from how he’s been perceived through the Justice League cartoons as a wise-cracking buffoon, when he’s actually one of the smartest men in The League. Not nearly as bad as say what Super Friends did to Aquaman (people are still trying hard to take him seriously,) but there is a bit of damage control needed on The Flash, as there were stories that made him look good and other times he wasn’t so important. For example, The Justice Lords storyline proved that Flash is a valuable and arguably the most important member of the team as the heart and soul of the Justice League. Making that apparent in a Flash solo film would (in my opinion,) be the best way to go. I’m not entirely sure how to go about that, but I think it’s a good way to go.

  13. The drawings of the characters sucked. Seriously, superman has a long face now? The action is present but lacks taste. Some heart moving parts could have expressed better with a still panning instead of kill, kill, kill. The artwork itself is niiice. The dialogue was nothing amazing. Yea if u want to see kill, kill, kill w/no class then this is it. Now allstar superman, that was niiice. Good dialogue.

    • Superman was ” raised” underground and was clearly extremely starved looking… Take a 6’2″ guy that usually 230 of ripped muscle and starve him until he’s 150lbs… Idk seems to make sense.

      • superman was raised underground and is being fed with the red radiaton for years which made him look so thin.

  14. It was real good, but nothing shall surpise batman under the red hood imo

    • UTRH is up there big time, but the simplicity of Mask of the Phantasm cannot be topped IMO.

  15. I thought it was pretty good, animation and story.

    What I didn’t know, was that Wonder Woman and Aquaman were so powerful. Especially Aquaman, not under water yet he can fight multiple heroes at the same time?

    • Strong pressure from being in the deep sea should make aquaman formidablly strong and since on this storyline he is the king and a warrior so bulking his muscles up is understandable being king of the seven seas

  16. How violent was this movie though? That was unexpected. Good nevertheless. I’d love to see Themiscira go head to head with Atlantis in live action.

  17. Since the flash is a tv series, we can expect thaf WB plan is to have their television properties overlap with the cinematic universe. Which is a cost effective and diffrent approach
    That could work. This can also be assumed that the flash will be an unkown actor or someone who has been on tv and not busy… michael rossenbaum? Patrick wilson? Neil patrick harris? I wish but it will probably be an unkown

  18. I enjoyed it. My only issue is that the way the women’s faces are drawn looks weird. Wonder Woman’s got a pinched face or something.

  19. Saw it a while back. A lot of the scenes shocked me and I am someone who probably spends too much time watching Asian genre cinema. It was also good to come in cold, like I do all the movies (animated or otherwise) relating to DC/Marvel properties. This probably heightened the shock value to be honest.

    But, yeah, enjoyed it a lot.

    • Shocked as in “this aint no kids movie”? Thats how it was for me lol ive seen say world’s finest or the recent one with superman and brainiac.. This was definitely more violent, insofar as the graphic nature of it. More along the lines of Dark Knight Returns. Think the “anime-like” comment is valid both in looks and approach, though personally I like it very much. Very good Film. Think it’s my favourite Dc animation so far.

      • I also like the anime style, and this movie was near perfect to me. Looking forward to the next DC animated film.

  20. Solid review. I got to watch this a week early. I’m anticipating Justice League: War. And f*** that CW Flash rumor. Barry deserves a DCCU live action feature.

  21. watch after the credits

    • ********* SPOILER WARNING ********
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      What were those flying things? I haven’t read a comicbook in ages, so I’m a little behind. At first I thought they were Hawkman’s people but I rewound and they are actually some type of creatures.

      • Think Boom Tube…

  22. War is coming

  23. thought it was good almost like reading the book

  24. Seriously, why does every “epic” DC Production involve origin stories? Why keep re-inventing the same characters over and over and over again.
    Yes it was interesting to see a skinny Superman, but this is really vomit inducing.

    Wait, you mean to tell me Superman crashed landed as a baby????

    Can somebody please explain this?

    • In the comics Superman crash lands as a baby but the government gets to him first. Then basically they imprison him and try to use his powers to create their own super powered army.

  25. Did I see a Boom Tube open after the credits? Hm…..

  26. Big Spoilers
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    It’s the first story of the new Justice League, how they all got together to fight Darkseid, ‘the beasts’ with wings are Parademons, for those qho only watch the cartton, you can see then in Superman animated’s episodes Legacy, they are Darkseid’s Stormtroopers.

  27. I disliked it. The dialogue was atrocious.

  28. A Reverse Flash ? So he’s super slow ? :)

    • @Mcshea:

      Haha.

      No, he’s fast, but he can only go backwards. :)

  29. Really disappointed they left out the Booster Gold storyline, but overall a good movie.