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The DC Animated Universe movies continue to come out, thanks to no shortage of good stories and a penchant for decent adaptations of those stories. “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is number 17 and it’s by far one of the best, almost dethroning “Under the Red Hood” as my favorite of the flicks. I say almost because I can’t really supplant that story so they will have to reign together.
“Flashpoint Paradox” is an adaptation of the company-wide crossover “Flashpoint” from DC a few years back, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Andy Kubert. The end of the story effectively rebooted the DC Universe and gave us the current status quo, known as the DCnU (DC new Universe) or New 52 (after the number of launch titles when the reboot happened). Costumes changed (Superman lost his underoos), and histories were retconned, and it was glorious. But that’s for another time, this is about “Flashpoint Paradox” and the jaw dropping greatness of it.
Though the title has “Justice League” in it, this is very much a story about everyone’s favorite Speedster, the Flash. I mean his name is part of the title. The story begins with Flash (Justin Chambers, “Grey’s Anatomy”) having to take on a group of his villains, collectively referred to as “The Rogues,” and when he’s outgunned he calls for the Justice League for back-up. When his opposite number and arch nemesis Professor Zoom aka The Reverse Flash (C. Thomas Howell, “Amazing Spider-man”) makes a statement that hits a little too close to home, Flash goes for a run. When he wakes up the next day things have changed drastically. He is in a world where the Justice League or Superman never existed, Cyborg is the country’s greatest hero, Batman is a gun carrying vigilante, and the Amazons and Atlantis are about to begin a war that will destroy the planet. Without his powers, Flash, now just plain old Barry Allen, must figure out what has happened to the world before it’s too late.
To give away any more of the story would be almost criminal. If you don’t know the details, finding them out as you go along is definitely part of the fun with this story. The other part is seeing completely different versions of your favorite characters. Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshal returning to the role from “JL: Crisis on Two Earths”) and Aquaman (Cary Elwes, “Saw, “Princess Bride”) are much darker characters than we’re used to seeing, and their titles Queen of the Amazons and King of Atlantis are front and center, as are their militaristic ambitions. Batman (Kevin McKidd, “Percy Jackson,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) is a completely different person, so it makes his change a little easier to deal with.
And we again get some Cyborg (Michael B. Jordan, “Chronicle), which is always good, and he gets to be the hero of the country here. The rest of the cast is good even if they don’t get a lot to say, with Dana Delany, Nathan Fillion and Ron Perlman returning to voice the characters of Lois Lane, Green Lantern/Hal Jordan and Deathstroke from “Superman: The Animated Series,” “Justice League: Doom” and “Teen Titans” respectively. Danny Huston also has a bit part as General Sam Lane. Andrea Romano does it yet again, and Jay Oliva’s direction is perfect.
The animation is just fantastic with character designs by Phil Burassa, who did designs for the last two Justice League animated films, as well as the “Young Justice” series. These, though, are some insanely built heroes, but they still look amazing, not like the drawings in “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies”, where they came off looking like “Masters of the Universe” figures being animated. This is more like Japanese animation mixed with American comic art. The action is intense, too. I mean REALLY intense. There are some pretty violent and brutal fights, definitely earning the film its PG-13 rating. I found myself slack-jawed a few times throughout the film. DC definitely pushed the envelope this time, and it was well worth it. The story is what really keeps you intrigued throughout, and the humanity that it illustrates among these powerful beings. But as I said, this is Flash’s story, and following him through this dark, strange world is a real journey.
This was a really fun flick, and if you’re a fan of these movies, “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is one that definitely won’t disappoint. The only issue I had was that it got me wanting to see more alternate takes on the characters, and DC has a whole line called Elseworlds with stories that would be amazing as an animated movie. The film has an after credits scene that leads directly into the next film, “Justice League: War”. which makes sense as it tells the origin of the JL in the DCnU, so I look forward to it. As usual, the special features were few but the featurettes are good, and the classic episodes are always fun. So definitely pick this up if you want to watch a great action flick filled with heart, amazing visuals, and a few surprises, too.
Jay Oliva (director) / James Krieg (screenplay)
CAST: Justin Chambers … The Flash / Barry Allen (voice)
C. Thomas Howell … Professor Zoom / Eobard Thawne (voice)
Michael B. Jordan … Victor Stone / Cyborg (voice)
Kevin McKidd … Flashpoint Batman / Thomas Wayne (voice)
Dee Bradley Baker … Etrigan the Demon (voice)
Steve Blum … Lex Luthor (voice)
Kevin Conroy … Batman / Bruce Wayne (voice)
Sam Daly … Superman (voice)
Dana Delany … Lois Lane (voice)
Cary Elwes … Aquaman (voice)
Nathan Fillion … Green Lantern / Hal Jordan (voice)