DVD Review - Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

One who is familiar with the style employed in the Justice League series will notice the difference here. The 17th DC Universe Animated Movie is in the style of Japanese anime. Japanese anime is distinct not only due to its look and moves but also due to the fact that anime handles more adult themes like showing sex or more intense violence.

Lo and behold, this movie has sex and more intense violence than the previous 16 DC Universe Animated Movies. For example, the character of Barry Allen aka Flash is outright accused of being gay. We see Aquaman have sex and we also see a ton of people get brutally murdered, including a child who gets killed in a very vicious and cold-blooded way.

I haven't read the graphic novel by comic writer Geoff Johns and artist Andy Kubert on which this movie is based, so screenwriter Jim Krieg and director Jay Oliva might have created a faithful adaptation, but the level of violence at the end is almost too much. I get the point that's trying to be made but so much deaths and killing didn't need to be portrayed, particularly not the killing of a child.

The graphic novel "Flashpoint" was part of a series that was created to be a bridge to reboot the Justice League comics. The solution was to use time travel to literally change the history of its characters. One Justice League member who is revealed to be able to time travel is Flash. As a result, this story is centered on Flash and makes him the protagonist as well as the ultimate hero.

If you don't know too much about Flash, his real name is Barry Allen, voiced here by Justin Chambers (Grey's Anatomy). His full name is actually Bartholomew Henry Allen. He lives in Central City and works for the Central City Police Department as a forensics scientist. One night in the laboratory, a lightning bolt hit some chemicals through a window where Barry was and infused him with super powers.

The Flash's super powers all involve super speed. He's referred to as a speedster. He can move, think and react at light speed. This also gives him rapid healing. His light speed also allows him to achieve something called quantum tunneling or being able to pass through solid objects. His light speed also allows him to time travel.

Like Batman, Flash also has a Rogue's Gallery of villains whom he continually fights over and over in the comics. All if not most of them show up in this movie. All of his villains are those who have the ability to slow down the Flash or match his super speed. Chief among them is Captain Cold who is akin to Batman's Dr. Freeze, but the main villain in this story is Professor Zoom.

Eobard Thawne aka Professor Zoom, voiced by C. Thomas Howell, is essentially the Joker to Flash's Batman. This movie provides hints, but we're not given Zoom's origin story. Yet, Professor Zoom is from the 25th century who is able to clone Flash's powers for himself. His family is revealed to have a long feud with Barry Allen's family, so Zoom time-travels back out of an obsession to destroy the Flash.

The movie opens on a very depressing note but then kicks into a very fun action scene involving the Justice League, including Flash, Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Green Lantern. Aside from Flash, each Justice League member is well used to overcome a great plot to destroy Central City. The next day, Flash wakes up and realizes that history has changed and the timeline is completely different.

Flash believes Professor Zoom has gone further back in time and altered things somehow. Flash's mission becomes to find Zoom and figure out what he altered. The thrust and excitement of this movie is seeing how the origin stories of each Justice League member differs from what's considered canon. At a basic level, the Justice League becomes bad guys and the Justice League's main villains become the good guys. It's actually not that simple. Some of the Justice League are still good guys, but they're more selfish. The major surprise is Flash learning the new truths about Batman and Superman.

Something that is refreshing is the fact that this movie portrays the President of the United States as a black man. For some reason, movies and TV shows post-Barack Obama's 2008 election have avoided portraying the President, even in a fictional way, as a black man. The one exception was this year's White House Down.

The President is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, a very well-regarded and popular, African-American, voice-actor, who since 1995 has lent his voice to hundreds of animated films and TV shows, if not every single animated film and TV show in the past 20 years. Kevin Conroy and Sam Daly return as the voices of Batman and Superman respectively. Kevin McKidd who like Chambers is an alum of Grey's Anatomy makes a surprising voice appearance.

Famous names who lend their vocal talents include Cary Elwes as Aquaman, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Dana Delany as Lois Lane and Ron Perlman as Deathstroke. Up-and-coming black actor Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station and Chronicle) voices Cyborg, a role portrayed on screen by the late, young black actor Lee Thompson Young (The Famous Jett Jackson and Rizzoli & Isles).

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 21 mins.


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