Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Imagine a world in the DC universe where there never was a Superman, Batman was really crazy, Aquaman was a total pimp and Wonder Woman didn't mind giving it up every once in a while.  That's a crazy comic book world right there.  A few years back DC comics published a series of books called 'Flashpoint' which examined just these scenarios, and now we have an animated film compressed for time to fit these scenarios, give or take a few instances for creative liberties, called 'Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox', and while DC's live action films might be hit or miss for some, their animated films almost always hit the bull's-eye.  This one is no exception. 

Today, Barry Allen (voiced by Justin Chambers), is at his mother's grave, laying flowers as today is the day she was murdered so many years ago.  If only he could've done something.  Then there's an emergency call at the Flash Museum… the Flash has a museum?  Dedicated to just him?  But we digress… a call comes in, it's a bunch of his old villains up to no good, Flash, along with the rest of the Justice League put them down, including his arch enemy Professor Zoom (C. Tomas Howell), and it's all good.  Even though Professor Zoom seems really smug about something, despite the fact he's in the custody of Superman and ain't going nowhere but to jail.

Anyway, Barry goes to work, wakes up after sleeping on his desk… something that would get me fired… and things are a little different.  The headline reads something along the lines of an Apocalypse is Near.  He walks outside confused, only to see him mom alive.  Yay!  Or not.  He tells mom he's The Flash, but in this new reality, I can run faster than Barry Allen.  Cut to Batman (Kevin McKidd), in a worse looking version of Gotham, like that's even possible, fighting Harley Quinn.  Difference being that this Batman has pulled out his nines and is trying to kill her.  Where's your utility belt dawg?  Fortunately Cyborg (Michael B. Jordan) stops Batman from murdering
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Harley, but Cyborg  just needs Batman's help.  The world is in trouble, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war with each other, and the only logical conclusion to this war is the total annihilation of the planet.  Batman ain't interested.  In saving the planet.  How bad can things be on this planet that Batman wouldn't mind if it just went away?  What the heck is going on?

Well, remember Captain Zoom being all smug about stuff?  Somehow I think he's someway involved in all of this.  I'm not quite sure how, but I'm pretty sure he is.  The rest of the movie should be experienced organically by the viewer for maximum quantum effect.

Without giving too much away, because if there was a movie that has to be experienced by fans of this kind of thing, this is the one, and while I do think there are some gaps in the storytelling, but 'Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox' is pretty darned awe inducing.  For anyone with even a passing familiarity with these characters, observing their new personas in this different world is almost shocking, and since dark is the almost always the color of the day for comic book tales nowadays, it doesn't get much darker than 'Flashpoint Paradox'.  Aquaman (Cary Elwes) and Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall) might look the same, Aquaman rocking a fade, but they aren't the kindly characters we've come to know.  Now one would think that it would take more than a simple paradox shift to change what is in a person's heart, but we will simply pass that off as one of the gaps in the storytelling we might've observed.

Still, it is clear that director Jay Oliva and his team had a lot fun translating this world to us, the viewer, and the excitement they had comes through.  Why is Batman the way that he is this reality?  The answer is there.  Where is Superman?  If ever we ever needed Superman, we need him now.  I'm pretty sure a paradox change on Earth didn't stop Jor-El from launching that ship from Krypton.  Oh look!  It's Steve Trevor! Wonder Woman's boyfriend!  Or not.  More surprises and shocking events awaits.

Technically, these D.C. animated features continue to improve on the animation scale, with 'Flashpoint Paradox' being the best animated D.C. feature yet, the voice acting is always top notch and the pace and action sequences have no problem keeping our eyes on the screen.  As I mentioned before, due the scope of this story and the need to compress for time, there are things that left me wondering 'why is that?' or 'how did that happen?' or 'How did that come be, because that doesn't make any sense to me?' but I must admit I wasn't bogged down with these thoughts as I was too busy reveling in the overall awesomeness of it all.

I've always held up 'Batman: Under the Red Hood' as the gold standard for the D.C. animated features that I have seen, and while I'm not sure I'd put 'Flashpoint Paradox' ahead of that one, it might be exhibit 1B to 'Under the Red Hoods' exhibit 1A.  It's that good.
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