Flash! A-ah! Destroyer of the Universe! Dun, Dun dun dun…
Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox (2013) is a DC direct-to-video animated film directed by Jay Oliva. It stars Justin Chambers as the Flash/Barry Allen who suddenly appears in a twisted version of the world he once knew – he’s not the Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are at war and Superman is nowhere to be found. With the help of a new Batman, Barry must find out what’s happened to this reality and find a way to return home before the world is completely annihilated.
An incredibly faithful adaption of arguably the most significant DC story in recent memory, Flashpoint Paradox takes exactly what’s great about the comic and sticks it in a video medium brilliantly. This was one of the last DC animated films that directly adapted a comic before they went the route of Justice League vs Teen Titans and Batman: Bad Blood. Not coincidentally, this is also one of their best. The overarching narrative adapts extremely well to a full visual and audio format, maintaining the tone, look and characterisations of the comics over the conversion. While you would need a solid understanding of the basics of the DCU to follow everything, since this is for the fans, its a moot point. And if you are a fan (particularly of the comics) odds are you will love this.
Justin Chamber’s singular turn as the Flash is spot on – it genuinely surprises me that he hasn’t become a regular voice actor for the character. The bravado and likeability of the character carries over, although unfortunately this story doesn’t allow Oliva to express the humour often affiliated with the character. C. Thomas Howell as Zoom isn’t quite as stellar – while he does feel sinister and off-kilter his delivery a bit too flat to be an incredibly memorable villain. Someone however who is memorable is Kevin McKidd as Flashpoint Batman. My god, what a Batman. Gruff and unforgiving, I would watch an entire series of movies dedicated to his take on the caped crusader. He’s everything I want in a brutally violent Bats, and is the version BvS felt like it was going for but never accomplished. Other honourable mentions include Conroy briefly as Earth-1 Bats (great as always), Sam Daly as Superman (good but brief), Cary Elwes as Aquaman (badass) and Michael B. Jordan (!) as Cyborg (love this guy).
Any fan of DC as a whole, DC animated films, or the comic itself have to check this out. An excellent adaption of a significant comic event, Flashpoint Paradox is one of DC animation’s best.
General Audiences: Highly Recommended
True Believers (DC): Must-see