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Movie Review: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

By: Bob Marshall
Justice League The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-Ray

Synopsis

As a boy Barry Allen (the Flash) had his life torn apart when his mother was horribly murdered during a break in. Somehow he wakes up and his Mother is alive, but how? The Flash takes centre stage as he finds himself in a world where everything is different, Cyborg is a government agent, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are engulfed in a war that could destroy the entire planet and Superman is nowhere to be found. So the Flash seeks the help of Batman but this is not the Batman he knew. It’s an emotional ride that has earth shattering effects from the moment go right until the very end.

Review

Where to start? This film was an absolute roller coaster from start to finish. When I first saw it I had not read the source material (which was refreshing going into one of these DC Universe Animated Films), so I wanted to wait to do my review until I’d read the graphic novel and re-watched the film. I must say I enjoyed it the first time but after reading the novel (which is the main story, Flashpoint was an event that branched off into smaller stories too) the second time was even better. I think reading the book allowed me to plug-in a few gaps here and there. I would say though on the source material, stick to the main story. I wouldn’t bother with the spin-off stories at all. But I digress this is about the film..

I really don’t want to talk too much about the film because I wouldn’t want to spoil anything but if you’re a fan of the source material or not I think you’ll love this one. This may be titled Justice League but it’s definitely a showcase for the Flash and boy am I glad for it, as we can’t just keep getting Batman and Superman stories.

Right from the get go when you see Barry Allen’s relationship with his mother as a child it gripped me. The emotion of that is what drives the film, although it wasn’t as concentrated on here as it was in the book but it’s still there.

It’s interesting and a wise choice that they choose to show you the pre Flashpoint Justice League as a team before we see the Flashpoint Universe. This was a really good idea as we get to see how the world has changed as we don’t have the luxury of a film set before the events of Flashpoint happen.

Now I’m going to keep this brief because I can’t talk about anything without spoiling this film, it has plenty of twists and turns that I really think you just need to see. I’d really rank this as one of the best yet from the DCU Animated line, it’s phenomenal at times and the weaker aspects of the film are barely even worth mentioning.

The only real problem with the film is that it could have done with being longer but that’s not really the film makers fault. There’s a few omissions from the book that they really should have kept in, one involves Barry and his Mother which if you’ve read the source material, you will know what I mean. Another was the person who killed Barry’s mother, it isn’t revealed who it is in the film but it is in the book and it really adds to the emotional weight and should have been kept in my opinion.

Something I will say though as a stark warning, this is not for kids at all. It’s incredibly violent especially in the final twenty minutes. There’s a shocking moment involving Wonder Woman that just made my jaw drop. But I’m not going to say anymore then that.

Flashpoint Batman & Barry

Voice Work

Justin Chambers was superb as Barry Allen/The Flash, they made an excellent call here. I’m gutted he won’t be returning for Justice League: War. Kevin McKidd was equally as excellent as the Flashpoint Batman, In fact all of the voice work was spot on.

Filling out the rest of the main voices were Vanessa Marshall as Wonder Woman. Michael B Jordan as Cyborg, Cary Elwes as Aquaman and a chilling and maybe even movie stealing performance from C. Thomas Howells as Eobard Thawne aka Professor Zoom aka the Reverse Flash.

On with the supporting cast; in a nice turn of events Sam Daly son of Tim Daly (voice of Superman from Superman the Animated Series & various other animated film) dons the voice of Superman in this one and definitely does his father proud. Kevin Conroy also returns as the pre-Flashpoint Batman, as does Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. Other returning voices were Dana Delaney as  Lois Lane and Ron Perlman as Deathstroke Slade Wilson, a voice he did on the Teen Titans animated series. There were many others, in fact this film was full of cameos I wouldn’t dare list them all but I felt the above merited a mention.

Animation

The animation was excellent, however some of the character designs were a bit bulky (Superman, Aquaman) and there was some dodgy CGI Flash stuff but it can be forgiven as it was intended to make the use of Flash running at full speed look unique.

Score

I can quite easily say this is one of the best scores to date from these DC Animated Films. I just loved it, it really fit with the dark nature of the story. The main theme was amazing one of the best yet.

Flashpoint World War 3

Extras

Audio Commentary from Writer Geoff Johns, Producer James Tucker, Screenwriter James Tucker and Director Jay Olivia – a really interesting commentary, definitely give it a watch

A Flash in Time Featurette – didn’t really care for this to be honest, it doesn’t really concentrate on the comics but more on the physics of the Flash

My Favourite Villain! The Flash Bad Guys Featurette – now this might have been worth buying the Blu ray alone. It was a very well done but brief look at the Rogues (which in case you don’t know is the name of the Flash’s popular stable of villains, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, among others).

Sneak Peak at Justice League: War – the next film coming out if the DC line based on the Justice League’s New 52 Origin where they team up for the first time to take on Darkseid. Seems like a good cast for this one and as a fan of the source material I’m excited.

The rest of the extras were a commentary, the usual bonus pick episodes and a digital comic from the first issue of Flashpoint.

Summary

All in all this is a welcome addition to the DC Animated line. I have to give them kudos for adapting this story. It worked better than I could have thought. Even with its problems it’s still superb and I think using the JL name to promote the so-called lesser heroes is a great idea. One that seems destined to continue with Geoff Johns all but confirming an Aquaman animated outing in the near future. Film length problems aside its an excellent, faithful adaptation if the source material.

Flashpoint Reverse Flash
Overall Grade: 9/10
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