REVIEW x 2: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

JusticeLeagueTheFlashpointParadox-finalboxartSince Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox has such importance for Flash fans, we are bringing you not one, but TWO different reviews featuring THREE points of view (just read below, you’ll understand).  Let’s get started – with a quick note:

SPOILERS AHEAD!

LIA’S REVIEW:

As a Rogues fan I was quite excited for the film, and on that front it did and didn’t disappoint.  The Rogues are pretty tough, and put up a decent fight for the Flash.  However, once Professor Zoom shows up they pretty much turn into comic relief.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but I suspect many Rogues fans won’t be happy about it, and I was a little bit disappointed by how hapless and dopey they seemed.  But overall I found their scene entertaining and enjoyable, and in the end that’s mostly what I want from a film like this.  Plus, their scene is actually important: it shows what the regular DC universe is like to new viewers, so people understand how the Flashpointverse is significantly different and awful.  And there’s a nice clear contrast made between the more benign criminality of the Rogues and a crueler villain like Professor Zoom.  The scene really works.

Professor Zoom fans should be pleased with his portrayal, because he’s a magnificent trolling bastard as he ought to be.  But although the film’s plot follows the original Flashpoint comics pretty closely once Barry winds up in the Flashpointverse, the story has a few odd changes: the movie implies Barry’s mother was killed by a random stranger, not Thawne (and Henry Allen isn’t mentioned in the story at all ­ it seems Nora was a single mother).  I think that’s a very strange plot choice, because now Thawne doesn’t seem quite as monstrous or obsessed with Barry.  He does taunt Barry about what happened to Nora Allen, but doesn’t seem to have been personally involved in her fate.  Why did the writers decide to make that thematic change?

The art styles and character designs give me mixed feelings.  They can be jarring in places, and at times the characters’ proportions are drawn truly ludicrously.  But overall I liked it (it’s certainly unique and not bland), and found it kind of endearing.  The animation is smooth and flawless.  And there are also nice subtle touches here and there, like Captain Boomerang’s costumes; in the DCU Rogues’ scene his costume is very reminiscent of his look in Justice League Unlimited, but his cameo in the Flashpointverse shows him in an outfit based on his Brightest Day redesign.  Out with the old, in with the new.

I haven’t watched the bonus features yet, but am somewhat annoyed that the “My Favourite Flash Villain” feature is only available on the Blu-Ray disk.  I bought the DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack so I do own it, but I don’t have a Blu-Ray player.  I’ve been looking forward to that feature for months, but can’t watch it until I get access to somebody else’s player.

Overall I enjoyed the film.  The violence was a bit much, to be honest, and I’m kind of horrified that the film managed to make Professor Zoom’s death even more gruesome than the original comic.  But I loved seeing the Flash and his villains take a key role, and found the story well done as a whole.  The film is unsurprisingly dark, but there are occasional touches of humour here and there to offset it, and Barry manages to keep things fairly light with his genial personality.  And because the film mostly follows the original story so closely, it can’t really take the blame for the extreme darkness — that’s the fault of the Flashpoint comic.  All the same, it’s darker and more violent than I personally like in my entertainment, and I would have preferred it if the tone of the entire film was more like the early Rogues scene than the intense grimness of the Flashpointverse.  But we take what we’re given, and I still had fun.

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ED’S REVIEW

I watched Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox with my college-age son, Will.  My son hasn’t been a big comics fan (he was more into the animated shows of Batman and the Justice League instead of the books) and he had not ever read the Flashpoint series.  Interestingly enough, that was a big factor in the different opinions we had of the movie.

I enjoyed the movie overall…my son didn’t hate it but felt it suffered from distractions and from trying to do more than the time of the movie allowed.  The difference? I had read Flashpoint and found myself mentally “filling in the blanks” where the movie didn’t include the storyline details of the comics.  Without that point of reference, there were gaps that needed more explanation than the running time of the movie allowed. For example, Hal Jordan’s entire storyline was reduced to just a quick flight and death scene.  Lois Lane’s work with the Resistance was cut so short that the Resistance itself wasn’t explained very well.  The reason for the war was cut short as well, leaving out most of the machinations that caused Arthur and Diana to be pitted against each other in the first place.  The Joker was barely revealed as Martha Wayne without exploring it further, leaving out one of the more heart-wrenching side storylines of the Flashpoint series.  In my mind, I knew what the story originally included so it made more sense to me…but it didn’t make nearly as much sense to my son who grew up on the cartoons rather than the comics.   It seemed that they knew they could not put everything in this movie, but felt they had to somehow include key characters for the fans…so they put them in through cameos that made much less sense given their short screen time.

Getting past those differences, there were some points where we agreed.  The dialogue was a bit clunky at times, especially early on, but that improved over the course of the movie.  And, the violence was at times a bit over the top (think Steve Trevor’s eyes bulging out at his death and Mera’s severed head), even though this was based on a very grim Flashpoint series.   It may be a bit extreme in terms of violence for a small child.

Just a couple of additional notes.  I loved seeing the Pre-New 52 Rogues at the beginning of the movie – it was a nice touch.  On the other hand, I wish they had been able to include Barry’s last conversation with his mother prior to setting the timeline back (which was in the comic but not in the movie).  The bottom line? While they missed some opportunities to make this movie even better, both my son and I still enjoyed Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox overall.

11 thoughts on “REVIEW x 2: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

  1. Scott Timms

    I agree with all of that. Few things I would change (the last convo with his mother, Thawne getting shot instead of a much cooler sword stab and the odd proportions of the characters…when did mirror master look like gorilla grodd) but enjoyed it overall. Loved the flow on animation and the Flash centered story. It was just a victim of its limits. Five flashpoint comics over 50 tie ins condensed down to one animated flim. However, I still liked it and it will introduce alot of people to the new52.
    Lia- I assume your a Top fan by ur icon. Howd you like the intro scene!?!?

    Reply
    1. Lia

      I loved it 😀 Didn’t mention it here because nobody but me cares, but it’s the first time he’s ever gotten a speaking role in anything aside from the DCU Online game, and I was utterly delighted. It’s especially nice to have now that he’s been eliminated from the New 52. And there was even a pun! So yeah, I’m quite thrilled because it was great (and frankly just plain fun). What did you think about it?

      Reply
  2. Kyer

    Reading the reviews and some nicely give some insight on that PG13. Some are comparing it to Under The Hood. I haven’t seen anything past Two Earths and All-Star Superman, so I don’t know, but anyone with younger kids skirting 13 might want to watch it first before showing the children.

    Reply
  3. I.Strange

    Lia, if it helps ease the pain, The Top isn’t mentioned in the villain feature (not that I recollect).

    Reply
    1. Lia

      Aw. I guess it isn’t really a surprise, because none of the Flash creators seem to like him much. Dan DiDio is a fan, though — I was talking to him about the Rogues at Fan Expo a couple of years ago, and had said nothing about who my favourite was, and he mentioned the Top was his favourite Rogue. I completely freaked out (in a good way), because it’s very rare to encounter fellow fans, much less ones who rank highly at DC 🙂

      I think my dad has a Blu-Ray player, but he lives in another city so it may be a while before I get to see it.

      Reply
  4. Kelson

    I finally had the chance to watch this today (I’ve been sick, so by the time my son’s gone to bed I’ve been too tired to stay up myself, but today he fell asleep for a nap just before I got home…while my wife was watching “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” appropriately enough).

    I had something of an in-between experience — while I had read Flashpoint itself, I hadn’t read all of the side stories, and in fact most of the ones I had read didn’t make it into the movie at all (Frankenstein, Kid Flash, Secret Seven, etc.). So I wasn’t filling things in much, and actually thought that they did a better job than the comic at providing context for all the other elements of the story.

    Reply
  5. TheFlash1990

    I liked this a lot, I was just thrilled that they did a Flash centric feature finally (fingers crossed for a solo animated project sometime!). That said, I did not like that they did not specifically say that Thawne kills Barry’s mom, or what happened to Barry’s dad. That would have been great, but I suppose it also would have demanded an epic showdown between Thawne and The Flash, what with him confronting his mother’s killer and all (an enemy he had not yet made – I like that angle a lot), and obviously they weren’t REALLY going to do all that. And I found a certain bullet through the head and then let the camera look through the hole scene a bit gratuitous, which is probably about my only complaint about it, content wise.

    The scenes with Barry Allen and his mother in the beginning were fantastic, and I feel like there is a much more personal arc they could have delved into what with Barry wishing he could change the past and all that was somewhat neglected, but I feel that this is mostly due to the 80 minute time constraint. I loved the snippets of his origin and life prior to becoming The Flash they’d show when his memory would shift/”return” to him.

    The somewhat “anime” look took some getting used to for me, but I actually ended up really liking it a good bit because of the level of detail they could show with most of the characters, even if one or two of the designs I didn’t care for at first when I saw the stills (my opinion changed when I saw them in motion as they were meant to be seen though).

    I loved how super speed was portrayed with this, when Barry got his superspeed back by recreating the accident with Batman, when it finally worked after the failed attempt, the way they showed how the world looked to him and him getting his powers was AWESOME. And that scene where The Flash takes on the battleships was just epic. THAT is the type of stuff I want to see in a live action movie (or tv series 😉 (or both 😀 ) ).

    The scene at the end with The Flash running across the city and on the water and buildings, although CGI, I thought was fantastic, and maybe a nice way to one day end a live action Flash film; it reminded me a little of the ending to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man (which is a good basis for The Flash as a film, IMO).

    Anyway I enjoyed it very much and enjoyed the reviews, guys!

    Reply
  6. KoderKev

    Thanks for the reviews! I pretty much agree with everything that was said, even where it might conflict with something else in the “3 person” reviews. That’s a paradox, I know. But I both loved and hated the animation style. I disliked the “no neck” football-player physique on Aquaman, and they made Barry’s mom look like Patty Spivot, not the gray-haired old lady in the comic. But overall I really enjoyed the movie. In fact, the end where Barry gives the message to Bruce made me cry. Especially nice touch was, “You’re a hell of a messenger.” Nice reference to Hermes/Mercury!

    Reply
  7. veronica

    I loved the film and it’s what made me a Flash/Barry Allen fan (I just got my Flash tattoo 2 days ago!). I never read the original source material. But as a long time comic book fan I am familiar with the main heroes as well as The Flashpoint Batman story. So I wasn’t lost. But Jim Krieg did a great adaptation and some of the minor things he changed and drew from gave the fillm a great feel. It was like watching a Shakespearean play. It is probably the best animated comic book film I’ve ever seen.

    Reply

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