You guys know what this is, right? Then you know how annoyed with me you will be when I finish this review. In any case, if you were not aware (and if you aren’t, you haven’t been paying attention), The Flash is my favorite DC superhero. I love everything about him, and I am still working on my collection of all of his comic books from his inception to today. That is why when I heard they were making a Flashpoint movie, I hardcore geeked out (It was not attractive). (Editor’s note: it wasn’t.) And now here it is finally! Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
Okay, that title needs to be addressed. It isn’t really a Justice League movie. Those characters are in it, but Flash is clearly the main character in this film. I suppose it was done for marketing purposes, which makes sense. As I discussed in my retrospective on these types of films, DC/WB are hesitant to make a film outside of their own marketing comfort zone, so labeling it as a Justice League movie makes sense. However, it is definitely The Flash’s film through and through. He is the central character, and Batman to extent.
Okay. Synopsis time. This film is based on the 2011 series Flashpoint by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert. It is essentially the series that made the New 52 possible. It was controversial amongst fans but I thoroughly enjoyed the series and am currently loving everything about the New 52 (Especially their upcoming villains month). What happens is Barry Allen (The Flash) wakes up in his office at Central City Police Department and realizes he no longer has super powers. The world is in chaos, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war with each other (I won’t spoil why). And the Justice League does not exist. He soon realizes that it might have to do with his arch-nemesis, Professor Zoom, altering the timeline to create an apocalyptic future that Flash can’t do anything about. Barry finds Batman and asks him to help him recreate the accident that gave him his powers so they can save the world.
I find the story very interesting, it has elements of Kafka mixed with “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This new world that has been created by the speed force is dark. Exceptionally dark. There is war in the streets of London. Batman has guns and he is not afraid to use them. Or to toss a super villain off a building knowing full well they are going to die. This is probably one of the darkest animated superhero films I have ever seen. Even more so than The Dark Knight Returns. I think the darkness is needed though. Just like in The Dark Knight Returns films, we need to feel that a hero’s presence is needed and that without it our world is dark. War is not a pocket full of sunshine. Death and destruction are not happy topics. For this story to work, it had to be dark. No question about it. Which is why (and I am going to gush again) I am glad they got Jay Oliva. He is an amazing animation director. He took the story and put his stamp it.
Flash is my all time favorite. I love his powers, I love how he is just an everyday guy who got powers and the fact that an entire animated film was based around him was amazing. Another thing I love is the fact that they mentioned the Speed Force. As much as I loved Young Justice, the creators specifically stated that the speed force did not exist in that universe. Also: in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, the Speed Force is mentioned only once before the Flash almost dies. For some reason, people are afraid of adapting it. Which is a little understandable since the Speed Force is kind of complex and would take an entire movie just to explain the concept, but I digress. This film handled it well. With the recent announcement of a live action Flash movie being in the works over at DC/WB, I think this movie proves that Flash can hold his own film, and still be very entertaining. I also think that having “The Rogues” in this film to a certain extent proves they are not as corny as every one says.
“The Rogues” are a team of super villains that commit robbery and other villainous deeds other than killing in Central and Keystone cities. They have flashy costumes and gimmicky names, but when together they are a powerful force to be reckoned with. The opening of this film deals with them robbing the Flash Museum, and it is a great sequence.
Now, no movie is without faults. And this one does have them. I was not too keen on the reasoning behind the war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman and thought it could have been handled better. I do like the emotions it brought about, but it was just sort of just there, and I couldn’t buy it with what little I was given. The animation was really good, but the art was a little iffy. it felt very “Anime” style but not to the point of straight up Japanese animation. Sometimes the bodies looked way too muscular (but hey, it’s superheroes what are you gonna do). And Aquaman’s face looked like a puffer fish. (On a side note, Aquaman was badass in this movie and I want to see if people would dare make fun of him now). What made the film feel even more anime like was the fact that the syncing on the voices to the animation look a little off and could pass for a dub of an anime. Other than that, I thought the movie was amazing.
The film is currently available on Amazon Instant and will be coming to DVD and Blu Ray July 30th.
As long as Jay Oliva keeps directing them the DC Animated films will get better and better. Oliva has a flare for the dramatic, in the best possible way. The acting was superb and while the art can be a little off putting at times, the story and characters will keep you engrossed in this apocalyptic future that has been crafted. We give Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox 10 out of 10 lightning bolts.