Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox [Blu-ray] (2013)

Actors: Nathan Fillion, Ron Perlman, Cary Elwes, C. Thomas Howell, Kevin McKidd
Director: Jay Oliva
Format: Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
Language: English
Region: A/1
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: July 30, 2013
Run Time: 75 minutes




When Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash awakes at his desk he finds that the world has somehow changed drastically . . . for the worse. His mother, who was killed when he was still a boy, is now alive, but his wife no longer knows him and is married to another man.

Even worse is that in this new alternate universe the world is on the brink of an apocalyptic war. The underworld kingdom of Atlantis led by Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s Amazons, who have waged war of the “surface dwellers” (i.e. us), are about to turn on each other in a war that surely mean the end of the world.

Superman is nowhere to be found and Batman is a gun-wielding cynic drunk (is there any other sort?) – a bit like the very early Batman who also packed heat. Obviously someone, probably one of The Flash’s archenemies, has messed with the timeline by changing the past. By running REALLY fast The Flash can also travel back into the past to fix it (yeah, we know), but in this reality he has no superpowers whatsoever.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is the latest made-for-DVD full-length DC Animated movie. It is based on a series of comics by writer Geoff Johns and artist Andy Kubert. Johns has been heralded as DC Comics’ Last Great Hope (TM) and it is easy to see why: while he has an encyclopedic knowledge of DC Comics lore, he never lapses into the sort esoteric backslapping of Grant Morrison (“look which obscure comics character I just dragged from my childhood into this story!”). Johns manages to be both old school all the while bringing a modern sensibility to iconic characters such as Superman and The Flash.

Purists who cling to a more sanitized vision of 1970s DC Comics might balk at the revisionism he brings to this tale, but the rest of us will a great time marveling at the sheer inventiveness of it all and the several plot twists along the way. Sure, some knowledge of DC comics is required. Newbies will probably be nonplussed even though the story doesn’t require all that much background knowledge to make sense of it all.

The purists have a point though. Even more than previous direct-to-DVD releases in this series such as Superman vs. the Elite and The Dark Knight Returns, Flashpoint Paradox is aimed at grownups. Parents should heed the PG-13 age restriction, which might even be a bit lax for some. The movie might feature The Flash and Batman, but this movie has more in common with Game of Thrones than your dad’s Julius Schwartz era Supes. There are bloody beheadings and close-ups of bullet exit wounds, limbs get chopped off, and so forth. Aquaman’s wife tries to kill Wonder Woman in a fit of adultery-inspired jealousy. In the opening sequence alone, a young Barry Allen arrives home from school to find his murdered mother. And so on.

THE DISC: As is sadly typical with DC's direct-to-Blu-ray films, the image and sound quality reflect a rather speedy production process. Pixelation pops up in the details here and there, and while the sound quality is good, the visuals can't keep pace. The film's less-than-sterling animation quality compounds the issue even further.

Extra features are about what you'd expect from this series... at least on the surface. The anomaly is a very strange behind-the-scenes featurette that expounds on the grandeur of time travel and makes awkward connections to the Flash. A second featurette does much better, covering the Flash's gloriously goofy rogue's gallery. The Blu-ray also contains a preview of the next DCU animated feature, a digital comic with 8 pages of the original Flashpoint storyline, a wide-ranging audio commentary track involving all of the film's creative voices and a four-pack of various animated series featuring the flash (three from Justice League, one from The Brave and the Bold). It's about what fans expect these days... though the four-pack is an unusually good one this time around.

WORTH IT? Flashpoint Paradox is everything a couple of the recent DC Animated efforts promised to be, but weren’t.

RECOMMENDATION: Long-time comics fans will have a blast. The story is excellent and the animation is top notch. Voice talent is spot on too. (Nathan Fillion underused as Hal Jordan is a hoot. Why, oh why, did they get that other fella to play Green Lantern in the live action movie?) Check it out today.

- James O'Ehley, Rob Vaux




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).