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Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Review

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It's time for DC's most famous speedster to step into the spotlight.

DC has a really solid track record when it comes to their animated movies, so going into one of their flicks with fairly high expectations is pretty understandable. The latest story they're tackling is Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert's FLASHPOINT. Regardless of how you feel about the story's execution, there's just no denying it's a super creative alternate timeline which is packed with loads of potential. While the latest DC animated film doesn't bring the same kind of emotional punch or grand scale Johns delivered, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox makes up for that with some really impressive action and tight pacing.

In case you haven't read the event, Flashpoint is all about Barry Allen aka Flash ending up in an alternate world -- a world where things have gone terribly wrong. Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war, and the battle between Atlanteans and the Amazons has absolutely devastated Europe. But that's hardly the only change to be found in this twisted reality. First and foremost, Flash doesn't exist here (meaning he needs to get his powers back) and his mother is still alive. Additionally, everyone from Batman to Superman to Cyborg have undergone rather massive changes from their New Earth versions. If you haven't read the story, I imagine you'll find some of these twists to be rather cool.

By now you should realize they're not going to simply do a direct translation and that's totally understandable. They're going to put their own spin on it and yes, that means plenty of changes. Sure, they've kept a good deal true to the source material and there's plenty of lines stripped straight from the issues, but there's also quite a few and rather big changes as well. For example, Element Woman isn't in it and instead Black Manta, Aqualad and a few others are given more prominent roles (I can hear you cheering from over here). Additionally, the Resistance members are given more love (Grifter rocks) and Deathstroke has a seriously awesome action sequence. Really, it's rad. Without diving into spoilers, Superman's handling is sure to be polarizing. It's a pretty shocking scene and visually impressive. I think it makes sense given the context, but like I said, opinions are sure to be divided with it and understandably so.

This movie thrives on the big brawls and it absolutely delivers in this regard. Aquaman and Wonder Woman have an epic encounter that reaches a jaw-dropping point. Clayface's role is short yet sweet and Shazam even gets the opportunity to throw some massive punches (but despite some superhuman slams, Billy Batson's role is really toned down). There's also a really neat (yet brief) moment where Flash attacks numerous gunmen and we're treated to some slow motion as Barry runs around the bullets. I understand they didn't want to overload us with slow motion, but I would have been more than happy to see this a second time. They also did an excellent job when it comes to presenting how insanely fast Flash's combos can be when he encounters Aquaman. As for Flash and Zoom, watching the two speed around is a good time, but their fight isn't all that grand compared to all of the other madness going down between other characters.

This movie definitely earns its PG-13 rating. There's plenty of blood during battles and even dismemberment, so if you're looking for an animated movie to watch with a youngling, this may not be the best choice. For everyone else, the violence works and serves to further illustrate how vicious this alternate world is. The final conflict may not feel as big and frenetic as the one in the comics, but it's downright brutal stuff.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradoxputs forward some great action, but it somewhat misses the mark when it comes to throwing a firm emotional punch. One thing I dug about Johns story was his ability to convey some strong emotion behind the relationships, and while they do attempt to duplicate that here, it never really hits home or reaches a point where the waterworks will potentially turn on. I get they can't include everything from the event, but a key scene is left out which really brought some heavy feels from the source material, so I'm surprised they didn't find a way to work it in.

It's a huge story, so naturally there's going to be a lot of exposition, but unfortunately it sometimes doesn't come off in an organic fashion. There's a few moments where it's delivered in a kind of bland tone and thrown out there just to catch up people who don't know about the alternate timeline. It's totally necessary to drop this knowledge, but it every now and then it feels forced. Lastly, I wasn't the biggest fan of the animation. Characters have massively bulky upper bodies and immensely lean and rigid torsos -- the anatomy just didn't work for me in most cases and the characters ended up feeling stiff in the less frenetic moments.

Is DC's latest animated effort worth adding to your collection? Yes, I believe so. It doesn't have the same level of emotion as the event which inspired it and I do have my complaints about some of the animation and voice acting, but these criticisms are mostly outweighed by the sheer awesomeness of the action scenes and solid pacing. Furthermore, there's a surprising amount of comedy thrown into this bleak world, and that's always something I'll greatly appreciate as well. DC has created yet another enjoyable animated movie, but given their track record, that really should come as no surprise by now. It may not be the best animated project and I do have my gripes, but it's one I'll definitely add to my collection and I can see myself enjoying at least a few more viewings over the years.

105 Comments
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Posted by Sleepbutnodream15
Posted by SmashBrawler

Yep, great review, that's pretty much how I felt about the movie. It's pretty violent and depressing but not bad at all, I really liked it, but that one scene at the end definitely should've been there.

Don't know why anyone would have a problem with Superman killing though, he didn't do it on purpose here whereas he did kill on purpose in the original. Plus, it's not like he was raised by the Kents.

Posted by Grubich

To be honest, and don't get me wrong i would still give a good 4/5, but it just seemed more gory and gruesome towards the end.

SPOILER: in the book wonderwoman was shocked to find out shazam was kids, in this she has no problem gutting billy. That small change just seemed to big for me.

Other than that great movie.

Edited by johnny_blaze

The Flash finally gets a shot at the spotlight? Meh not really. Batman & Justice League is all that DC knows, remember that.

Edited by JamDamage

@outlawrenegade:

how do we know it's Shazam and not Aquaman. I didn't see voice actor for either of them, but when did this get out?

Posted by JamDamage

I was not a fan of the comic story. when I found out they did this, I was pissed because they did it, but man am I happy they did. I thought this film was great. Not what expected. The changes were good, but since I didn't like the comic, I can see why I didn't care about the changes. Still. Lots of action. Lots of cool cameos. Happy that a lot of voices returned for this is as well, and now I want another Flash movie. I hope this sells a ton so they do make another Flash story. They really showed what a bad ass he is. They showed why Aquaman and Wonder Woman are bad asses too. Just a good film. More rated R then rated PG-13 too. All they needed was titty shot from Wonder Woman and we're there. the lengeth was perfect too. I thought it was 2 hours. When they make these hour and half films it sure does it more justice.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

DC Animated movies>>>>

Edited by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg

@wattup said:

Barry Allen still sucks.

No he doesn't.

Posted by ravisher

its a must buy

Posted by AweSam

Decent movie, but art was terrible. Aquaman was just... blah. I was really hoping for a full on New 52 throw in at the end. Still, the movie was pretty good. Loved Thomas. I also loved the amount of bloodshed. Aquaman could have used more exposure in battle, but I think it got the message through that he's not to be messed with. The Atlantean army was just pathetic.

The one thing I really didn't like was the obvious back and forth, equal punch and hit with the Amazonians and Atlanteans. I get they want the two sides to seem equal, but Atlanteans should be doing a lot more damage and they could've used more heavy weaponry. The storyline was very predictable and obvious, but still handled well enough.

Posted by KryptonSabbath

How are the bonus features?

Edited by Jason_X22

We need a Blur studios DC animated film!

Posted by Oscars94

I absolutely adored this film! Even though I watched it a few days ago, I showed my friends it today (what can I say? Its my favourite animated movie). :) I highly recommend it. To the people who were against the high level of violence- it's a war between two sovereign nations run by War-Mongering Metahumans- What did you expect?

Edited by Avilon

I loved this movie, so dark, WW was such a good villain.

Posted by JLDoom

@oscars94 said:

I absolutely adored this film! Even though I watched it a few days ago, I showed my friends it today (what can I say? Its my favourite animated movie). :) I highly recommend it. To the people who were against the high level of violence- it's a war between two sovereign nations run by War-Mongering Metahumans- What did you expect?

Agreed! This is my favorite animated movie too, but what else can you expect from a Flash fan?

Posted by Oscars94

@jldoom: I know! I loved Wally in the Justice League series too! Now that I've seen this, I know the Flash character can carry a solo movie.

Posted by bigboi100000

After an overwhemingly positive response to the premiere screening of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Warner Bros went on to announce the 2014 lineup of animated films. The first being Justice League: War based off of Geoff Johns' New 52 Justice League comic. The second and third films are called Batman: Assault On Arkham and Son Of Batman. We don't yet know (for sure) what these films are based on, so we're hoping for clarification from the panel soon. According to users at Toonzone forums, Assault On Arkham is based within Rocksteady's video game franchise, while Son Of Batman is based upon Grant Morrison's famous introductory story for Damian Wayne.

How do you feel about more Batman films? Do you think it's great that they are exploring the character's rich history or would you rather they focus on other Justice Leaguers?

Posted by Rixec

This movie was absolutely amazing and I've already watched it two days in a row, not something I do often! Don't know why people are bitching about the art. I thought it was just fine. And I am really affected by art styles. Also, the violence was fun, emotional, and glorious! In a regular DC movie it would seem too much but for a world like Flashpoint it is a delight to see something like this where we won't often see it. Flashpoint lived up to its name and now brings us into The New 52 of movies. N52 Justice League - possibly including Trinity War in the future. Hopefully Scott Snyder Batman and maybe even finally getting into GJ Green Lantern.

Posted by viin

I liked it. Very in depth and driven characters and I loved the Kaldur appearance.

I did not read flashpoint so I dont have anything to compare it too but I thought it was a good story. Some things got to the point pretty quickly but I was just happy Flash got his own movie in a sense.

I believe this to be the best JL animated movie yet.

I hope they do something like this but with Aquaman and the Throne of Atlantis. In the mean time I will be looking forward to JL: War

Posted by medulaoblaganda
Edited by jumpstart55

Just saw it, awesome film.

Posted by w0nd

Yep, great review, that's pretty much how I felt about the movie. It's pretty violent and depressing but not bad at all, I really liked it, but that one scene at the end definitely should've been there.

Don't know why anyone would have a problem with Superman killing though, he didn't do it on purpose here whereas he did kill on purpose in the original. Plus, it's not like he was raised by the Kents.

who would be bothered by that...he did the same thing in the comics. and why wouldnt he have a problem with it, no one ever taught him not to...he was raised under ground in a military bunker lol

Posted by maxicere

EXCELENT MOVIE !!!! One of the best from DC and the best of JL movies

Edited by ThatOneKidWhoLikesComics

@trevel8182 said:

This is probable my favorite under Red Hood this was exceptional my only real complaint was the really really bad cgi.

Man after watching this and re-reading Knight of Vengeance id much prefer A Thomas Wayne Batman mini then a Damian mini series.

I agree, the CGI was indeed bad for the film. But I loved how the character designs in the movie were similar to Young Justice. Characters like Garth, Tula and Kaldur. Oceanmaster too.

Posted by Iron_Turtle

Dat Batman scene. Where is it?

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Just saw it, It was BADASS!!! 9/10. it's def not for kids I telly you! This might be DC's most violent and mature animated project.

Posted by Grimoire

@grubich said:

To be honest, and don't get me wrong i would still give a good 4/5, but it just seemed more gory and gruesome towards the end.

SPOILER: in the book wonderwoman was shocked to find out shazam was kids, in this she has no problem gutting billy. That small change just seemed to big for me.

Other than that great movie.

If that's true then it seems appropriate. I read most of Flashppoint and she came across as a victim to what was orchestrated behind her and Aquaman's backs by those that started the war between the civilizations. She was tricked and played the leader without questioning anything (Her mother's death should not have been so cut and dry to her.) while Aquaman was portrayed as being ruthless from that point on.

This makes them even in becoming unreasonably evil. lol

Posted by Casval

Lack of depth (at least they could have focused more on Flash) and really weird drawings, but the last appearance of Kaldur'ahm was a nice touch.

It was nice but I prefered Justice League Doom. Oh and and bring back Josh Keaton as Hal Jordan, he is way better than Fillion (who I like but he sounds too old for the job).

Posted by clumsyninja

The only problem that i had was that the style was too anime for my taste.

Posted by Skulexander

I thought it was a great movie. Great action. The art style was okay. I don't have anything against it, though I'm not a big fan of it. Oh, and is it just me, or did Bruce's face remind you all of this too?

Posted by Jacobin_Wisdom

The bulky upper bodies and immensely lean and rigid torsos made me think they were all on steroids.

Edited by cfrehse

i think this was the best dc animated film out of all of them barely over the red hood and wonderwoman. They really made every character bad ass and the fights were awesome.

Posted by Veshark

Just saw it. Some stiff voice-acting and terrible character models aside....this was a pretty entertaining film. The violence might seem a little gratuitous, but given the 'darker timeline' setting, I found it apt. I think its changes are more surprising for someone who hasn't read the original comic, so all the new shifts in the Flashpoint timeline left huge smiles on my face. It had a tight plot, solid characters, and some really great action scenes. It's not quite perfect, but I haven't enjoyed a DCUAOM movie this much since Superman/Batman Apocalypse.

Posted by superior_prime_maybe

i wish the creators had more time to show the movie... maybe make it a 2 part thing. This felt crumbled up a bit.
but it was super cooooool!

But the new52 costume version is a complete no.... Just no.

Edited by clumsyninja

I watched the movie after I heard the podcast, i thought the movie look a little bit too anime for my taste. I like the fact that they stick to the comic book but the V.O. were terrible.

Also, telling everyone too watch this movie "legally" is not your place. Sure, you should watch it but doesn't mean everyone has the cash to do it. How many people you think they watch this movie "legaly" during college.

Edited by Mbecks14

I liked it a lot more than I expected to! I'm glad I was able to get past the godawful character designs to get into the story, but it was a challenge.

Posted by caladbolglight

Excellent. Just finished watching it and I enjoyed a great deal (and I'm not a DC fan). Thought that the action was intense and excellent, definitely some of the best I've seen in an animated movie. The amount of violence was rather shocking, and I'm not a prude at all, just wasn't expecting it. It really set the mood though. Not appropriate for kids but it worked plenty fine for me. I thought that the animation was a little awkward at times, especially when it came to some of the faces. Other than that, excellent.

Edited by caladbolglight

Footnote: I thought that they crossed the line when they killed Billy Batson. I didn't think that that needed to be shown.

Posted by Xshinobi

Great review. This was a fantastic movie. DC never disappoints. I'm really glad that they got Studio 4c to do the animation as they are one of the best. They also did a great job with the character designs.

Posted by Veshark

Footnote: I thought that they crossed the line when they killed Billy Batson. I didn't think that that needed to be shown.

Yeah, agreed. I thought just an off-screen cutting noise would've been fine, it was a bit much.

Posted by Mega_spidey01

i thought it was decent 3 out of five. the action was cool and aquaman was a beast in the film when it came to fighting wonderwoman. the film could have focus more on the relationship between the flash & zoom.

Posted by lilben42

@veshark: I thought they did do the offscreen cut noise... didn`t they?

Posted by RedHurricane24

3/5 from me. It had good moments, but the violent parts tried too hard in the movie. The fight between Flash and Reverse Flash was hugely anti-climatic, lacking the exposition the comic had in the fight. The final minute was largely unnecessary.

Grifter was a badass in the movie, I'll admit.

Posted by Veshark

@lilben42 said:

@veshark: I thought they did do the offscreen cut noise... didn`t they?

They did, but then the next scene showed the dead kid fall down onto the ground with dead eyes, which I thought was a bit much.

Posted by MrMazz

This movie is really really good. For once a DC animated feature manages to get an emotional base under it before just frame for frame adapting (which isn't really what an adaption is) of the story. That ending though left me less than satisfied, which is a bummer because this film is an excellent example of what is possible when Warner Bro. Aniamtion has the DC license.

you can read my user review here

Posted by Fallschirmjager

Another great film to add to DC's long line of animated films. I don't know that this one is my favorite but its definitely very good. I think we could use more movies that are from different perspectives other than the the Big 3. (This movie does have a lot of "Batman"...but its a fresher perspective)

Loved Aquaman and the Atlantean army in this movie. Was kind of lame how he got ambushed and ganged up on though lol. His fight was Wonder Women was pretty awesome prior.

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Posted by Grimoire

I was finally able to rent this movie on PSN and I have to say it underwhelmed me a bit. I was waiting for Superman to get in an epic brawl at the end with Aquaman and Wonder Woman (One of the best parts.) to find he does two moves on Aquaman and that was it. They could have finally showing him unleashing his abilities unrestricted like in the comic arc and go after both at the same time.

Also the fact that Wonder Woman came out of the fight pretty much unscathed was imo very unfair as the point of the movie was that they both were the villains as well as in the last moments before the blast trying to make you feel some pity for her.

Posted by Mezmero

This has become one of my all time favorite DC animated features. I'm not a huge fan of the anime-ifying of the DCAU art but ultimately the action more than made up for it. I was never in love with the Flashpoint event in the comics and I think they did an excellent job abridging and streamlining the overall plot. It felt like they gave some much needed attention to the Flash as a main character. My hope going forward is that they captilize on the continuity reset for the overall DCAU which they seem to have done with the ending. Looking forward to that next Justice League animated production. And a live action JL movie can go sit on it for all I care.

Posted by lifeboy
Posted by lifeboy

@jamdamage: @drewyetti: I thought the chatacter designs were badass! The way there eyes were drawn was psycho and their bodies are the ideal in beauty. I hate cyborg but this is the first time I liked the way he looks. And the clothing for aquaman really stood out as a top design.

Jo e damage, you h it all the right notes. Aquaman and Wonderwoman came off totally indestructavle badasses. I was hooked at the very begining when wondy used colds ice gun to freeze the bomb then throw it into space. And yeah a tity shot from wondy would have been nice. She and the others were drawn so damb well, how could any body not fall inlove with them...

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