I used to collect comics; used being the operative word here. And it’s not like it was because I stopped liking comics (I think I still do). For me, the problem was all of the big crossover events that change the history of the stories recently. Marvel had Civil War, Secret Invasion and Avengers vs. The X-Men in a span of around 5 years.
DC started it all with Crisis of Infinite Earths (which I actually love) but they got carried away since they seem to be changing their universes’ histories too frequently. After Crisis of Infinite Earths, we got Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, Blackest Night/Brightest Day and the recent Flashpoint, which rebooted the entire DC Universe (again). With all of these changes happening left and right, I finally gave up trying to keep up and I’m now relying of friends and Wikipedia to get my comic fix.
Even with these vast resources, I never really got the handle on the entire New 52 reboot and how it was caused by the events of Flashpoint. I never got to reading the story so when DC announced that their new animated film would be based on it, I was coming into it with fresh eyes.
I watched it already and I still don’t understand why we have the New 52. But, at least Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is pretty entertaining for comic book fans.
I’ll try to make this review as SPOILER-FREE as possible. But if you already read the comic, they’ll be no surprises.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox starts with Barry Allen/The Flash capturing his entire Rogues Gallery, including Professor Zoom. Before he gets sent to jail, Zoom taunts the Scarlett Speedster that, when he was younger, he couldn’t prevent his mother’s murder. The next day, Barry wakes up and finds the world has changed; Barry’s mother is alive, Bruce Wayne died during the mugging and Thomas Wayne took over the role of Batman, most of Europe has been destroyed because of the Amazons and the Atlanteans war and The Flash was never created. Barry then goes on a quest to find out what caused this change in the timeline.
First thing that comes to mind would be the rating of the film. It was given a PG-13 rating, which I think is actually kind of low because of the graphic violence shown! Although a lot of the really brutal deaths are shown off screen, they managed to sneak in some scenes where you can see both heroes and villains dying in some spectacular ways. I enjoyed it since it shows that this world is a much more gritty one than the original timeline. But, if you’re buying this for your kids, well, you’ve been warned!
The voice acting is pretty good all around. It’s nice to hear Kevin Conroy as Batman again and Nathan Fillion does a picture perfect job as the voice of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. However, the rest of the cast also does a phenomenal job. Special mention has to go to C. Thomas Howell as Professor Zoom as he does sound like a really villainous character. Also, Kevin McKidd’s Thomas Wayne is also memorable.
The action scenes are done pretty well. The first scene with The Flash encountering his Rogues Gallery is highly entertaining with the Speedster really showing off what he can do. The fight between the alternate Batman and a reimaging of Harley Quinn does a great job of showing how this Batman is different from the one we’re used to. However, it’s the final battle between the Amazons, Atlanteans and the other superheroes pretty much steal the entire film. It’s a spectacular sequence with pretty much all of the characters in an all out brawl to the death.
There are a few things that do prevent it from being an excellent film. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox has a lot of awkward expositions told by the characters. I know the film has to explain that the world is different since it’s a totally new timeline. But it’s done so unnaturally! The scene where Cyborg recaps the war between Amazons and Atlantis was the worst! Essentially, Cyborg is explaining to Batman, a man who should know everything, the events of the past few years. He even shows him footage of the war! Why would he need to show this to Batman? Sure, it’s for the viewer’s benefit but it was done poorly and it took me out of the moment.
Also, it would normally be a good thing, but there may be too many superheroes this time around! It’s great for a fan like me seeing all of them on screen. What I’m worried about are the more casual fans who do not know a lot of the little known heroes and villains of DC. Ocean Master and Dr. Vulco (who are shown rather frequently) are there and I actually had to do a bit of research to know who they were. It may detract from the overall experience.
Still, fans of DC Comics should really give Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox a watch. It’s a pretty faithful retelling of Flashpoint from what I understand. The action is great and older and mature viewers will enjoy the more graphic violence displayed here. If you’re watching it with a casual fan (or someone who’s only knowledge is with the Pre-Crisis universe), be ready to explain some things. Overall, it’s one of the better DC Animated Original movies out there and I can definitely recommend this one.
Did you watch Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox? What did you think of it? What other DC Original Animated movies are good? Please leave your comments below!