The latest DC Universe Animated movie races into stores this week, so check out our review to see if you should pick it up!
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is the latest offering in DC’s animated movie lineup. This time, the good folks at Warner Bros. Animation have given their own spin on the the continuity-shaping event Flashpoint, which gave way to the current New 52 continuity. Luckily for viewers, this movie is not tasked with rebooting an entire universe, but rather telling a simple reality-bending adventure.
The title of this movie may say “Justice League,” but make no mistake, this is without a doubt a Flash movie through and through. The main premise is that Barry Allen wakes up one day to find that the world is a very different place than he remembered. The Atlanteans, led by Aquaman, have waged war against Wonder Woman’s Amazons. Cyborg is the world’s greatest hero, and no one has heard of a “Superman.” To top it off, Barry has lost his speed.
While this is not a straight adaptation of the original Flashpoint mini-series by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, it does adhere to the basics of that story for the most part. The opening set is a stunning sequence between the Flash (and later the Justice League) against Eobard Thawne and the Rogues which serves to establish the status quo of the DC universe. From there, we are transported into the alternate reality of the Flashpoint universe and Barry’s plight to restore his reality. The Flashpoint Paradox is extremely successful in immersing the viewer in this alternate reality despite a brisk run time (the movie clocks in at 75 minutes). And despite the exclusion of one pivotal scene from the mini-series’ final issue, I found the movie on a whole to be an engrossing experience.
Most of these DC animated movies are rated PG-13, but The Flashpoint Paradox truly pushes the boundaries of the rating. This is a dark, violent film, one that I would hesitate to allow younger children to watch. There are no punches pulled here. There are decapitations, limbs amputated, bodies impaled, etc. Several instances I found to be very unsettling, and I questioned the need for their inclusion. While I understand the need to show how awful this alternate reality is, there are other methods to convey that which are equally effective.
As always with their DC Universe projects, Warner Bros. Animation has enlisted some top talent to bring this story to life. Justin Chambers does impressive work as Barry Allen / The Flash. He is able to strike the right tone of seriousness and lightheartedness which is inherent to Barry Allen. His work makes the Flash a compelling and engaging leading character that further strengthens my personal feeling that we should be getting a Flash live-action movie sooner rather than later. Chambers’ supporting cast is equally capable and impressive. Kevin Conroy, Nathan Fillion, Dana Delany, Kevin McKidd, Ron Perlman, Michael B. Jordan, C Thomas Howell and Cary Elwes all lend their voices to give Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox one the strongest voice casts in recent memory – and everyone delivers.
The voice work would not be as impressive if it did not have the visuals to match, and the animation team brings its A-game in this outing. Directed by Jay Olivia, this might have the best animation of any DC animated film. Transitions are smooth, settings are detailed, and the scope of the major set pieces are sight to behold. If there is a complaint, it would have to be the character models, particularly the men. While the Flash, and most of the other “normal” people appear in the correct proportions, Superman, Cyborg, Aquaman and a few others are laughably disproportionate. I was able to accept it and move on early in the film, but I know that will be a big point of discontent among fans.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is one of the best DC animated movies in recent memory. The gorgeous animation and compelling story have made for a great experience with a high replay value. Flash Fact: this is a must-buy.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is currently available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. It will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray July 30th.