I review Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the latest animated movie from DC Comics.
So, after months of being interested in watching The Flashpoint Paradox, the latest DCU Animated Movie, I’ve finally got the chance to check it out and I can certainly tell you that it did not disappoint. I’m not normally a big fan of the animated side of things, but recently – DC’s Animated projects – Young Justice in particular – have really started to get me enjoying the medium and it was only a matter of time before I decided to become invested in the films and where better to start than The Flashpoint Paradox, based on the Geoff Johns comic series that was originally intended as a way to create the New 52 in the first place. It’s also something that I still need to read – so I was, in fairness – coming into The Flashpoint Paradox with a very open mind and was willing to see what it could throw at me – and I was really glad to see that it did not disappoint.
This is the first Flash-centric storyline that I’ve read in a while and it did not disappoint. The Flash, Barry Allen (Justin Chambers) awakens in an alternate reality where he lacks his powers, superheroes don’t exist, and his friends in the Justice League are darker and twisted versions of themselves. Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall) and Aquaman (Cary Elves) lead both the Amazons and the Atlanteans against each other in a bitter war that has ravaged the majority of the Globe, and is pushing the world to a brink of collapse. And now it appears that only Barry – with the help of Thomas Wayne Sr. (Kevin Kidd) an alternate version of Batman where Bruce died in the alley and his parents lived – can stop the world from collapsing due to his ability to use the Speedforce to travel back through time. What follows is a lot of fun, and something that I ended up really enjoying – as I’m a huge fan of alternate reality storylines and in fact it’s a miracle that I haven’t read The Flashpoint Paradox graphic novel already, but after watching this I’m certainly interested in checking it out.
For the most part, the voice acting is pretty spot on. Justin Chambers does a great Barry Allen and Kevin Kidd impresses as Thomas Wayne Sr. There wasn’t really any complaints that I had with The Flashpoint Paradox on this side of things at all – the voice acting was pulled off pretty well at least in my opinion. The animation for the most part is fairly solid to – The Flash’s costume design is epic and I loved pretty much anything involving the Speedforce – as these scenes were pulled off pretty solid. Other highlights include the alternate universe Batman – but the rest was pretty much a mixed back. I wasn’t a fan of Superman’s design nor that of Aquaman – and even Cyborg’s wasn’t pulled off as well as it should have been given that these three have a major role in the ongoing narrative.
The action is also a mixed bag as well. It’s brilliant in some cases (again, Speedforce) but weak in others (the final fight between Wonder Woman and Shazam/Captain Thunder wasn’t pulled off as well as it could have been) which is a shame given the multitude of action sequences that The Flashpoint Paradox had to deal with. There was so many awesome scenes in here that really could have made even better, but another thing that I felt let The Flashpoint Paradox down was its overuse on cameos. Sure, it’s nice to know what the likes of Lex Luthor, Deathstroke and Hal Jordan are doing and how the events have changed their character – for example, Hal Jordan no longer has the Green Lantern ring but remains a gifted pilot – but it was something that felt flat as it just seemed to detract the focus from the main Flash storyline. However, a lot of these cameos – Deathstroke and Hal Jordan’s in particular were fun, but it just feels to be used as filler in some cases, designed as a nod to the main DCU as opposed to further developing the plot. However, whilst going on the nature of cameos – I would have loved to see a possible reference to Nightwing and or Green Arrow, my two favourite DC characters – however, in this world, Thomas Wayne Sr. probably wouldn’t have recruited Nightwing and knowing the twisted minds of the creators if this is anything to go by he probably would have been killed on the Island anyway.
I’m going to say that The Flashpoint Paradox probably isn’t for kids. It’s very dark, hardcore and may go a bit overboard on violence in some places, especially nearing the end – which is gorier than what I would expect from an animated movie going in and certainly don’t expect all your favourite characters to survive because they’re big names. The whole point of an alternate universe is to do stuff that couldn’t happen to main characters in the main one – and we’ve seen more than your average alternate universe cases at DC Comics lately with Forever Evil, Earth 2 and the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. In almost all cases they’ve been handled well and I’m pleased to say that The Flashpoint Paradox is another fine addition to this list, as I ended up really enjoying it.
Go check this out. You won’t regret it. Because in reality, all these flaws were minor detractions from the main narrative and I ended up enjoying it a lot all the same. Certainly worth checking it out. Also, if you’ve got any recommendations for DC Animated Movies, where should I begin? I’m thinking The Dark Knight Returns P1 & P2 next, but am open to suggestions ahead of the upcoming Justice League: War.