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JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX Review

When DC reboots everything man do they reboot everything.

The first of the post Bruce Timm DC animated movies is upon us. Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox is a mostly direct adaptation of Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert’s Flashpoint mini series. When it was originally published in 2011 the book set the stage for a revamp of modern DC Comics continuity and brought us the New52 universe we know today. Johns original story rewrote our thoughts on who characters like Wonder Woman and Batman were, giving us imaginative looks on who they could have been. This latest animated movie, directed by Jay Oliva, aims to capture the magic of the series but falls a bit short because of the liberites it takes.

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Flashpoint Paradox follows its source material very closely. We get the same story of Barry Allen waking up in a world much more dark and hopeless world than his own. He finds a event changed in the past has altered his timeline significantly and later finds out how the butterfly effect in his own life can alter the universe apocalyptic ways. For those that have read the book, you know exactly how this movie ends. There isn’t much there for you in the way of surprises or additions to the movie. Though those aren’t necessarily bad things when the original series was a masterpiece.

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The voice acting is, as usual, well cast by long time casting director Andrea Romano. Justin Chambers is probably the best voice Flash since Michael Rosenbaum and Kevin McKidd is just as brooding in tone as Thomas Wayne’s Batman should be. Flashpoint Paradox’s action is finely choreographed and the art style has an uncanny Kubert figure style to it. There’s a lot of gorgeous found in the backgrounds and effects of the film making it a visual treat for audiences.

Where our heads hit the desk was when the liberties taken outside of the original story become apparent. We see the Reverse Flash very early on in the film working with of all people, the Rogues. Yes, this is a cartoon but if you’re going to parraell your source material as best you can then stick to the unbreakable rules set by the books. Rogues and Flashes don’t get along. This destruction caper scene was probably written to try and con the audience that hasn’t read the books into automatically blaming Reverse Flash for the time stream damage. It’s a cute scene to introduce characters but not much more than that. The biggest liberty taken by the film and a subsequent plot hole of the story is the exclusion of the world altering character known as Pandora. While in the original story she was a bit of a Deus Ex Machina, Pandora conveniently opened up a valid reason as to why the world didn’t return to exactly what Barry remembered when time was fixed. Here once the time stream is realigned there’s nothing to open the gateway to a different acceptable DCU, but there is Barry and Batman in their snazzy new52 duds for no apparent reason. The only cause one could think of is maybe Flash just thought it was finally time to have New52 yellow trim on his costume.

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Another big change is the level of violence from the comics. This is probably the most violent DC animated movie of all time. The previous Dark Knight Returns part 2 had a lot of brutality in it, but it was more organic and went with the nature of the source material. Here the violent deaths of characters just feel borderline grotesque, this is definitely not a movie for impressionable kids. Particularly in the climax where Batman deals with Reverse Flash, let’s just say it isn’t a sword this time.

When Flashpoint Paradox was first announced it should have dawned on Warner Bros that it might be too soon for this story when there are still so many great classics like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Knightfall to adapt. Now jumping back and forth from old to new52 DC might become a bit jarring for fickle audiences. Overall Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox is a solid rental. The extra features don’t feel like much more than rehash of interviews we’ve already seen. Hopefully the DC animated team will go back to the old DCU library for their stories until we stop calling this new material New52.

Verdict
Rental. It’s an enjoyable single view with nothing really in the way of resonance to make us want to watch it over and over.

Where do you place this in the totem of DC animated movies? Do you think staying in the New52 era is the way to go? Outside of Death of the Family, what other DC new52 movies would you like to see? Sound off on Facebook