Note: This review contains some minor spoilers
Welcome to the alternate timeline and universe of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
Based on the popular graphic novel and story arc, Flashpoint by superstar writer, Geoff Johns and artist, Andy Kubert, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is an animated movie that explores the Butterfly Effect that occurs within the DC Universe when Barry Allen travels back in time to prevent his mother’s murder.
Although members of the Justice League feature prominently in the film (in very different roles than you are accustomed to), this is definitely a Flash movie and further evidence that Barry Allen can easily take center stage in an animated or live action movie, and is one that I am happy to recommend.
Voiced by a star-studded cast of actors including Nathan Fillion, Cary Elwes, Dana Delaney, Kevin Conroy, C. Thomas Howell and Kevin McKidd, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox begins with Barry Allen visiting the grave of his mother, who was murdered when he was very young.
After an attack is foiled in which he elicits the help of the Justice League and squares off against his arch-nemesis, Professor Zoom, Flash is taunted about the death of his mother by Zoom as he is placed into custody, and Barry runs off (literally, he is The Flash, afterall) to be alone.
The next day, Barry awakes to find (happily) that his mother is still alive and that (unhappily) the entire world has changed and is on the brink of destruction due to a costly war between Wonder Woman and Aquaman; a war which has claimed millions of innocent lives and places the people of Earth helplessly in the center of their conflict.
In this alternate timeline, Cyborg is the world’s primary superhero and National Security Adviser to the President of the United States (I wonder how they got Obama to do a cameo).
To make matters worse, Barry discovers that he no longer possess the super-speed which made him The Flash, nor does the Justice League exist as he once knew it.
Seeking answers, Barry heads to Wayne Manor.
In one of the more interesting (pls see: AWESOME) alternate timelines affected by Barry’s time travel, is that of the fate of Batman. In this new reality, it is Bruce who was murdered outside of a theater when he was young and his father, Thomas, who dons the cape, cowl…and guns?
That’s correct, Thomas Wayne as Batman does not share the same qualms about using guns that his son has…had?…’hasd.’ In fact, the first time that we are introduced to Thomas as Batman, he is battling Harley Quinn and unloading dual 9mm’s at her. Also, you can forget about this new Batman employing the Golden Rule about not killing…as Thomas tosses Harley over the roof of a tall building…not to mention what he does to Bruce’s killer.
No longer a doctor, Thomas also doesn’t mind knocking back a few swigs from a flask.
When Barry arrives at Wayne Manor, he finds a dilapidated and crumbling mansion instead. Discovering the Batcave, Barry calls out for Bruce and is met by an enraged Thomas, demanding to know why this stranger is yelling out the name of his dead son… I know, right?! (*mind blown*)
Eventually Batman and Barry figure out that they are living in an alternate reality likely caused by The Flash and his travel back in time to save his mother, which resulted in unintended consequences and ripples that reverberated across time.
It is through this discovery, and the notion that by helping Barry to get his powers back in order to fix the timeline, that Thomas realizes that it would also mean the survival of his dead son in another (the original) reality from which Barry came.
As a result, Batman agrees to help Barry get his powers back and to help end the war that has been raging between Aquaman and Wonder Woman. This leads us to the alternate reality and fate of Superman… another compelling story based on what would have likely occurred had the government discovered Kal-El’s crashed ship, and not the Kents.
What follows are some pretty intense, violent and shocking scenes (again, pls see: AWESOME), therefore I would not recommend this one for the kiddies. But for fans of the DC Universe, you will see some familiar faces in some not so familiar roles.
Some of the moments in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox are pretty dark, which really enhanced my enjoyment of it. Although it is an animated movie, it is not a “cartoon” in the sense that most people would associate with an animated film. Therefore, due to the adult themes and imagery, this movie will never show during Saturday mornings.
There is also a particularly moving scene involving Bruce Wayne as Batman – voiced by the irreplaceable, Kevin Conroy – that really stands out.
Without continuing to give too much away, I really enjoyed Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and the way in which Geoff Johns played around with the alternate origin stories for some of my favorite superheroes (especially, Batman).
For me, the film further proved why DC is simply better at producing animated movies than Marvel. If you are a DC fan, this is a must-watch.
By: Dana Sciandra