Review: Justice League – The Flashpoint Paradox / Cert: 12A / Director: Jay Oliva / Screenplay: James Krieg / Starring: Justin Chambers, Michael B. Jordan, Kevin McKidd, Cary Elwes, C. Thomas Howell / Release Date: July 30th (US), TBC (UK)
Based on the DC crossover story Flashpoint, Justice League – The Flashpoint Paradox is the latest film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. Don’t let the title fool you, though, this is most definitely a Flash film. The Justice League appear in the opening scene, as the team help Flash (Chambers) to take down Eobard Thawne’s Zoom (Howell) and a gang of B-list villains. From here, we see Barry Allen waking up in his office, although things aren’t quite what they seem. It’s soon apparent that Barry Allen no longer holds the power of the Flash, but that’s not all that’s not quite right with the world.
The world as Barry knows it has changed. Not only is he now not the Flash, his dead mother is now alive, his girlfriend Iris doesn’t know who he is, there is no Justice League, there is no Superman, Cyborg (Jordan) is the world’s favourite hero, Wonder Woman’s Amazons are at war with Aquaman’s Atlanteans, and Batman… well, let’s just say this version of Batman makes Frank Miller’s Dark Knight look as happy and carefree as Barney the Dinosaur. An older, grizzled, bitter, alcoholic Batman soon proves to be one of the few people that Barry Allen can speak to as he seeks to find out what has happened to the world that he once knew, not to mention work out how to once more become the Flash.
Director Jay Oliva, who also did the brilliant two-part adaptation of Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, turns out another good effort this time around. The action is fast-paced and hard-hitting right from the get-go, although there are elements of heart and emotion to the story; a story that is measuredly faithful to its source. One thing that is stark and unapologetic is the level of violence here. Up there with the aforementioned The Dark Knight Returns adaptation in this regard, The Flashpoint Paradox pulls no punches, particularly when it comes to the brutal war between Wonder Woman and Aquaman. The film isn’t afraid to have decapitations, dismemberments and slayings if it’s deemed necessary.
As well as a strong story, there is some fantastic animation. One personal gripe is that the regular Superman, shown at the beginning of the film, looks as if he’s suffering from a stroke, but the rest of the film is superbly put together. Adding to the film is the stellar voice work from all on show, including DC regulars Kevin Conroy, Nathan Fillion, Dana Delaney and Ron Perlman in small roles, although it’s Chambers, Howell, Jordan and McKidd that shine.
A roaring success, Justice League – The Flashpoint Paradox is right up there with the best animated films that DC and Marvel have to offer.
Extras: Audio Commentary / Two Featurettes – A Flash In Time; and My Favourite Villains / Sneak Peek At The Next DC Animated Movie / Bonus Cartoon Episodes