Mania Grade: B
11 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Rated: PG-13
- Starring: Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd, Cary Elwes, Vanessa Marshall, Kevin Conroy
- Written By: James Krieg (screenplay)
- Directed By: Jay Oliva
- Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
- Original Year of Release: 2013
- Special Features: See Below
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-Ray Review
The Flash rules the day
By Tim Janson
August 16, 2013
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is the 17th DC Comics animated film from Warner Brothers and is based on the “Flashpoint” storyline written by longtime Flash scribe Geoff Johns. While it’s titled a Justice League film, that’s more for marketing than anything as this is a Flash film all the way with only brief appearances by the JLA, or at least the JLA as we know them.
You know, for a company that came up with Crisis on Infinite Earths nearly thirty years ago in an effort to clean up its universe of all its parallel worlds and the problems it created, they sure to like to create brand new alternate world storylines. We are so many iterations removed from the Pre-Crisis DC Comics that you couldn’t find it on even the most up-to-date GPS system.
The Flash, (the Barry Allen version which I have to point out BECAUSE of Crisis to begin with), arrives on the scene at a break-in at the Flash Museum and is confronted by his Rogue’s Gallery: Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Heat Wave, Mirror Master, and Top. However the entire group of villains has been duped by Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash, who intends to blow up Central City, including the Rogues. The JLA arrives to help foil the plot and disarm a series of bombs.
The following day, Barry wakes up to find he is in an alternate world where he was able to save his mother from being killed,but one in which the world has radically changed for the worse. Bruce Wayne is dead, killed in the alley when he was a boy and instead it is his father Thomas, who has become a more violent version of Batman. There is no Superman or Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman leads the Amazons into battle against Aquaman and the Atlanteans in a war that threatens to destroy the entire world. On top of that, Barry no longer has his powers.
Barry arrives at Wayne Manor looking for Bruce Wayne only to find it abandoned. Descending to the Bat Cave, he’s attacked by Thomas Wayne. Barry is able to convince Wayne that he is from an alternate world and deduces that Zoom has used the speedforce to alter time and is preventing him from running fast enough to return the world to normal.
Cyborg, who now works for the government, gathers a group of heroes including Grifter, Billy Batson, and Etrigan to fight Wonder Woman. Meanwhile Lex Luthor and Deathstroke lead a group of villains against the army of Atlantis. Barry also discovers that a meteor fell to Earth in the heart of Metropolis thirty years earlier, coinciding with Superman arriving on Earth in Barry’s world.
I’m torn on this film. There’s much to like but also some nagging issues. The film gives us the Flashpoint story, streamlined to its core, sans all the unnecessary side plots of the crossover comics and that’s a good thing. It’s also great to see the Flash, especially the Barry Allen Flash, get a chance to shine even if it is disguised as a Justice League film. For once he is treated like one of the primary heroes of the DCU rather than a second-rater.
I’ve long complained that many of the DC films have been geared towards kids rather than more adult comic book fans. Not so with this film. This is the most brutal of any of the DC films. Wonder Woman mercilessly hangs Steve Trevor with her golden rope until his neck snaps. While this and several other deaths take place just off camera, the mere fact that their taking place at all lets you know this is a different animal than previous DC films.
The animation is a mixed bag. There is the same Anime influence here that we saw in the last DC film, Superman: Unbound and once again there are wild inconsistencies in the character models. Superman, Etrigan, and Aquaman look like they were done by crossing Rob Liefeld with Mike Sekowsky and then giving them a hyper dose of HGH. Big, blocky, overly muscled and ugly! On the other hand, The Flash and Batman fare much better. Director Jay Oliva packs the film with far too many supporting characters and in giving all of these characters screen time, it detracts from the central storyline. Flash working with Batman to return to his world was far more interesting than the non-stop battles between the heroes, villains, Amazons, and Atlanteans.
A vast improvement over Superman: Unbound was in the voice cast. Kevin Conroy returns to voice the regular world Batman with Kevin McKidd doing a fine job as the tortured Thomas Wayne version of Batman. Justin Chambers gives us a Flash that is more mature than what we’ve seen in other films and the Justice League animated show. Other standouts included C. Thomas Howell as Professor Zoom, Ron Perlman as Deathstroke, and Cary Elwes as Aquaman with Dana Delaney returning to voice Lois Lane.
In the end there are some missteps along the way but Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is finally the kind of adult-themed film that many fans have wanted.
Audio commentary with Producer James Tucker, director Jay Olivia, screenwriter Jim Krieg and comic writer Geoff Johns.
A Flash in Time: Time Travel in the Flash Universe (22:00) – A look at time and time travel from Greek mythology to how time travel worked and was utilized in the DC universe, specifically with the Flash. The feature has comments from theoretical physicists and other scholars as well as comic book personalities like Johns.
My Favorite Villain! The Flash Bad Guys (19:00) – This is a much more fun extra as it looks at the history and evolution of Flash’s Rogues Gallery including Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, Heat Wave, and Professor Zoom.
Sneak Peak at Justice League: War (8:00) - A look at the next DCU animated movie, Justice League: War, an adaptation of “The New 52″ origin story of the JLA.
Flashpoint Digital Comic Excerpt