Aug 012013

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is another solid entry into the DC Universe Animated line. The movie have had quality voice talent to go along with a well paced and finely tuned adaptation work providing for provocative storytelling, unflinching violence that even Tim Burton would avoid and an all around entertaining experience that I only wish the future DC live action movies could live up to.



Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

Genre(s): Animation, Action, Adventure
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 81 min. – $24.98 | July 30, 2013

Directed by:
Jay Oliva
Writer(s): Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert (graphic novel); Jim Krieg (written by)
Voice Cast: Justin Chambers, C. Thomas Howell, Michael B. Jordan, Kevin McKidd, Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Nathan Fillion, Danny Huston, Ron Perlman

Commentary, Featurettes, Digital Comic, 4 Bonus Cartoons, DVD Copy, UltraViolet Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 25.9 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

THE MOVIE – 4.25/5

Note: This review contains spoilers about the plot.


The DC Universe Animated Series has been on a roll over the past couple of years with high quality adaptations from Batman: Under the Red Hood, The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 & 2 to Superman: Unbound, not to mention Justice League: Doom and even Batman: Year One, flawed as it might have been, was still a lot of fun. The latest, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox isn’t quite on the level as TDKR, but it’s easily one of the DCUA’s better output amongst some damn good releases.

Although “Justice League” is in the title and indeed within the first 15 minutes, the core group appear: Batman (voiced once again by KEVIN CONROY), Superman (SAM DALY, son of Tim Daly who voiced Supes in various outings), Wonder Woman (VANESSA MARSHALL reprising from Crisis on Two Earths), Green Lantern (NATHAN FILLION once again), Cyborg (MICHAEL B. JORDAN) and, of course, Barry Allen/The Flash (JUSTIN CHAMBERS). However, this is first and foremost a Flash-centric movie all around from the story straight down to the emotional elements. I could surmise that placing “Justice League” in there is to help sell copies versus the original graphic novel’s name, simply “Flashpoint”, would’ve been too vague.

The story opens with a flashback of a young Barry Allen out and about with his mother (GREY DELISLE) and later, as Barry returns from school to celebrate his mom’s birthday, comes home to find her lifeless body on the floor, murdered by an unknown/never-seen thug. As with Bruce Wayne, this greatly affects Barry’s life and his pursuits to fight crime and to which led to his laboratory accident that created his superhero alter ego (none of which is shown in the movie, and not necessary either). Fast forward to the present day as Barry visits his mother’s grave with girlfriend Iris when he receives an alert that the Flash Museum.

Upon his speedy arrival, he discovers all of his arch rivals – Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Heat Wave, Mirror Master and Top – have banded together to take down The Flash. Ultimately it is revealed the mastermind behind it all is his arch-nemesis, Professor Zoom (aka Reverse-Flash), has set a trap which includes a goo that places The Flash into a sticky situation he cannot get out of. Zoom’s evil plans include blowing up the city block, with The Flash unable to do anything about it. Of course, The Flash has backup as the Justice League comes through, kicks butt and in the end, via overcomplicated teamwork, stop Zoom’s plans.

Following Zoom’s arrest, and a taunt by Zoom over the death of Barry’s mother, The Flash decides to go for a little jog and the following day wakes up at his laboratory in Central City. Things seem to be normal until he attempts to rush out and discovers he no longer has supersonic speed… and runs into his mother, now older. He’s of course ecstatic to see her but soon realizes she’s not the only thing different; Justice League and Superman himself never existed and, of course, there’s no such person as The Flash. We also learn that in Gotham, Batman (C. THOMAS HOWELL) is different now using guns to unleash justice, going so far as to throw the Joker’s sidekick, Yo-Yo, off the top of a building only to be saved by Cyborg who is working for the U.S. government in charge of gathering super-humans to combat a growing war between the Atlanteans, led by Aquaman, and the Amazons, led by Wonder Woman who are hell-bent on killing one another at any cost.

Barry manages to make his way to a dank and dark Wayne Manor, well darker than usual, to find a gruff and older Batman in the Batcave. After a bit of a tussle, Barry attempts to explain the situation and soon discovers that this is not Bruce Wayne behind the mask but his father, Thomas Wayne. In this timeline, Bruce died at the hands of the gunman instead of Thomas and Martha (who went insane) and now Thomas dons the mask to avenge his son’s death in vastly different ways.

With the help of Batman, Barry gets his powers back, via a freak lightning storm, and together they join forces, alongside Cyborg and some other friends (and foes in the correct timeline) plus a special guest (to which I won’t divulge here) to right the wrongs.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox isn’t quite the strongest story-wise (adaptation-wise anyway) amongst the DCU animated films as I would place The Dark Knight Returns and perhaps Superman: Unbound, a film I thoroughly enjoyed, but this is right up there as one hell of a film. This makes me wonder why there isn’t more of a collaborative effort between the comic book/graphic novel writers and Hollywood screenwriters to establish the DC live action universe; although I haven’t seen Man of Steel, my sense is it’s not up to snuff and a weak outing for DC (by comparison, Iron Man did a bang-up job for Marvel). Flashpoint is a great story that, even condensed down to a more manageable 80-minute running time for an animated movie, still provides for some wonderful character moments for a superhero often ignored or is merely a punch line amongst the other Justice Leaguers.

Once again, the voice talents are top notch. Under the supervision of longtime casting director Andrea Romano who worked with Bruce Timm on “Batman: The Animated Series” (and thus should be thanked for introducing fans to Kevin Conroy), Flashpoint has collected some good talent headlined by Justin Chambers best known for his role on “Grey’s Anatomy”. Also assembled are C. Thomas Howell as a great foil for The Flash as Professor Zoom, Kevin McKidd as the alternate Batman, Cary Elwes in a small part as Aquaman and Nathan Fillion reprising his role as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan which he voiced on a few occasions in other DCU animated movies. Also included, albeit in very minimally is Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman as well as Dana Delaney as Lois Lane.

Even though there have a couple of missteps in the DC Universe Animated movie line (Superman: Doomsday and All-Star Superman, I’m looking at you), most of the films have been at the very least enjoyable, if not exactly a standard bearer for animation style. However, the latest round from Justice League: Doom to The Dark Knight Returns to Superman: Unbound has stepped up in quality and Justice League: Flashpoint only has continued the pattern that hopefully will carry on with the next addition, Justice League: War.


The Blu-ray combo set comes with a nifty and glossy slip cover. Inside is a DVD Copy and a download code for the UltraViolet Digital Copy.

Audio Commentary – Director Jay Oliva, Writer Geoff Johns, Producer James Tucker and Screenwriter Jim Krieg sit down for a laid back chat talking about the source material, voice talents and other aspects of the DC Universe presented in Flashpoint. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

A Flash in Time: Time Travel in the Flash Universe (22:24; HD) explores the subject of time travel throughout mankind, and entertainment medium, in this serious featurette and includes interviews with various scientific, historical experts and DC writers like Geoff Johns. In particular, it focuses on The Flash comic book and the theories it presents.

My Favorite Villain: The Flash Bad Guys (18:58; HD) looks at the different villains, such as Captain Cold and Mirror Master, for The Flash and the chaos they cause our hero throughout comic history. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

From the DC Comics Vault is a collection of four cartoons from “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” (‘Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!’), “Justice League” (‘Flash and Substance’), “Justice League Unlimited” (‘Legends, Part 1 & Part 2’).

Digital Comic Excerpt from ‘Flashpoint’ #1 ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

A Sneak Peek at Justice League: War (8:10; HD), the next DCUA feature showing some designs and the voice cast: Jason O’Mara – Batman, Alan Tudyk (“Firefly”) – Superman, Michelle Moynahan – Wonder Woman, Christopher Gorham (“Covert Affairs”) – The Flash, Justin Kirk () – Green Lantern, Shemar Moore (“Criminal Minds”) – Cyborg.

PreviewsThe Man of Steel, Lego Batman: The Movie

VIDEO – 4.0/5

Arriving on Blu-ray, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox pretty much looks similar to the other animated movies in the DCU line. Colors are vibrant, in many scenes there are nice and deep blacks and the structure all around shows off some decent detail levels except for background objects or distant shots where the animation does get a bit simplified and undefined. It’s a fine transfer for sure, just nothing amazing.

AUDIO – 3.75/5

The disc includes a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which sounds adequate but as one would expect, the numerous explosions and fight scenes are relatively bland showing little depth and flatness in some instances. However, dialogue does sound crisp and clear coming from the center channel. It might not be the most robust lossless track, but it is satisfying on the whole.

OVERALL – 4.0/5

Overall, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is another solid entry into the DC Universe Animated line. The movie have had quality voice talent to go along with a well paced and finely tuned adaptation work providing for provocative storytelling, unflinching violence that even Tim Burton would avoid and an all around entertaining experience that I only wish the future DC live action movies could live up to. The Blu-ray released by Warner has a fair amount of features, mostly forgettable, while the audio and video transfers are rather standard.


The Movieman
Published: 08/01/2013

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