Film Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX Author: Bill "Jett" Ramey (Follow @BATMANONFILM)
July 30, 2013
I’ve never been all that fond of the Justice League. Growing up reading comics, I always preferred the solo stories of the various DC characters within the pages of their own monthly titles. However, I’ve always liked “alternate reality” stories like the Elseworlds stories of the 80s and 90s and the Earth 2 stuff back in the 70s.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX is based on DC’s FLASHPOINT miniseries by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert which rebooted the DC comic book universe a couple of years ago. Just like the comic book, this movie focuses on The Flash, who has somehow found himself in an alternate reality where there is no Justice League and the Earth is about to be destroyed due to a war between Atlantis – led by Aquaman – and Themyscira – led by Wonder Woman.
Oh yeah, The Flash has lost his powers and Batman is, well, not the Batman we all know and love.
What caused this? It seems that during The Flash’s last battle with Professor Zoom (AKD "The Reverse Flash"), the villain somehow altered the timeline causing all of the aforementioned changes…and more.
The now powerless Flash – who of course is actually police CSI officer Barry Allen – decides to turn to Batman to help him figure out what happened and fix the timeline. There’s only one problem: This Batman isn’t Bruce Wayne. Nope, it was Bruce who was killed by Joe Chill, not his parents, and Thomas Wayne is The Batman in this world. If you think Bruce is a hard ass, this Thomas Wayne Batman makes our Batman look like a cupcake! He drinks while “on the job” and doesn’t hesitate in using lethal force to take down a criminal. Batman decides to help Barry restore the timeline as that means his son Bruce will be alive. However, the two have to figure out a way to restore Barry’s powers, or correcting the timeline will be impossible.
If you’ve read the FLASHPOINT mini-series – as well as the side books that tied into it – then you already have a pretty good idea what happens in the movie as the film follows the source material pretty faithfully. There are a few tweaks and cuts here and there – this is an ADAPTATION mind you – but if you’re a fan of the original, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I can say that without a doubt, this is the most violent and bloody DC animated film to date. This isn’t for kids and quite frankly, I’m surprised it got a PG-13 rating as the filmmakers really pushed the envelope. I’m not complaining nor is this a criticism; I’m simply telling it like it is. The target audience here is definitely older teens and adults.
The review continues after the jump!
As far as the animation is concerned, it’s on the same level as the previous DC animated films, so really nothing new here. Now when it comes to the production design, I was sorta thrown off a bit. The male characters have the huge upper bodies and smallish lower bodies which make for a sort of odd look. It’s not a deal breaker in terms of enjoying the film, but I’m not a fan of that sort of look for these types of characters.
The voice acting is top notch as always and you’ll definitely recognize several of the members of the cast – Kevin Conroy as Batman (well, the Bruce Wayne Batman), Dana Delaney as Lois Lane, and Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern (the Hal Jordan one, FYI). Of course the two main characters of the film are The Flash and the Thomas Wayne Batman. They are voiced by Justin Chambers and Kevin McKidd respectively and both do a fine job. I was especially fond of McKidd’s take on Batman as there seems to be a bit of Christian Bale in his performance.
In case the filmmakers are reading, I’d LOVE to see FLASHPOINT: BATMAN turned into one of these animated films! There are a few hints about the sort of life Thomas Wayne lives as this version of Batman, but they are not hashed out in any detail – if you’ve never read the Batman FLASHPOINT mini, then they’d probably fly right over your head and never notice.
All in all, JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX is yet another quality effort from the folks at Warner Bros. Animation/DC Comics and would be a worth addition to your collection. - Bill "Jett" Ramey