“Accept the things you cannot change. Have the courage to change the things you can… and have the wisdom to know the difference.”
In 2013 WB and DC released their 17th “straight to video” feature after 6 years of successful ventures, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. While technically never considered a true sequel to Crisis on 2 Earths and Doom, the film features a few returning cast members including Kevin Conroy as Batman and Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern. Sequel or not, the film takes any sort of status quo for the Justice League in animated form and sets things up for a “New 52” style reboot, just like the comic book Flashpoint storyline did.
Overall the film is a rather faithful adaptation to the Flashpoint storyline in the comics. Barry Allen (Justin Chambers) wakes up to find his super speed is gone, and that everything he knows about the world and it’s heroes and villains is upside down. Batman is Thomas Wayne (Kevin McKidd), Cyborg (Michael B. Jordan) is working with the government, Lois Lane (Dana Delany) and Steve Trevor (James Patrick Stewart) are working to stop a war between Aquaman (Cary Elwes) and Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall) which threatens the entire globe. Barry must now work to regain his speed and stop the impending destruction of the Earth before setting things right again with the timeline.
The film is without a doubt the best of the “straight to video” films released thus far. It’s a solid story that is perfectly contained and gives you everything you could want from every single element. The animation is a hair away from an anime style, and is beautifully done. The voice cast is one of the best ever assembled for a DC property. The film also does a fantastic job of presenting a great Justice League story, but also a phenomenal Flash story that includes cameos by most of The Rogues and sees him face off against Professor Zoom (C. Thomas Howell) in some great action sequences.
This is also the darkest film of the series thus far, with nothing being held back. There’s more blood and death prevalent throughout than you may expect. Death is something that isn’t hidden in shadows. Multiple heroes are killed in the twisted version of the universe, and their deaths are played out in detail. The characters of this world aren’t the happy positive heroes we know and love either. Thomas Wayne is a much darker Batman who isn’t afraid to use guns. The heroes aren’t fighting for peace and justice, they’re fighting for survival in a time of war, and it creates a much darker and more complex idea of who these characters could be.
Flashpoint Paradox works so well not just because it offers fun different takes on some of the heroes. It’s also firing on all cylinders in every single way possible. It gives us good reason behind everything that happens and hooks the audience into every story within its roughly hour and a half runtime. It’s a film that is just as good as some of the better DC films, and better than many of the most recent theatrical releases. If you’re a fan of DC heroes, or just a superhero fan, this is a film that can not be missed.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is currently available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital download.