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Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox(2013)
Flash traverses time to right a violent, decades-past crime against his mother, but the ripples of his good intentions prove disastrous, as a fractured, alternate reality now exists in place of the familiar one. Stumbling through this twisted reality where even Superman is nowhere to be found, The Flash seeks the trusted wisdom of Batman, only to find a grittier, more violent Dark Knight in his place. Together with the help of Cyborg, they race to restore the continuity of Flash's original timeline while this new world is ravaged by a fierce war between Wonder Woman's Amazons and the Atlanteans, led by a battle hardened Aquaman.
For more about Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and the Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray release, see Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on August 2, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd, Nathan Fillion, Michael B. Jordan, Vanessa Marshall, Dana Delany
Director: Jay Oliva
» See full cast & crew
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray Review
Gotta get back in time...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, August 2, 2013
Count yourself among Flash's loyal legion of fans? You'll have a blast with The Flashpoint Paradox, and walk away with a few complaints. Love all things DC Comics but consider Flash a peripheral hero to your little slice of the DCU? You'll have a blast, and walk away with a few complaints. Rarely pick up a DC comicbook but greedily gobble down any films or series populated by the denizens of the DC universe? You'll have a blast and... detect a pattern? The latest DCU original animated movie has something to offer DC fans of all stripes, speedsters and non-speedsters alike. And the reason is simple. For better or worse, The Flashpoint Paradox is a Justice League movie first, an Elseworlds tale second and, trailing at a distant third, a solid Flash story last. Fortunately, the alternate timeline heroes and villains -- each one more deliciously dark than the last -- help make up for the unintended slight until, by movie's end, Flash narrowly inches ahead and proves he can hold his own in the race. JLA or no JLA.
After capturing the Rogues and stopping the Reverse-Flash, 25th Century madman Professor Zoom (C. Thomas Howell), from leveling Central City, card-carrying JLA member and resident super-speedster Barry Allen (Justin Chambers) makes the decision to go back in time to his childhood and prevent his mother, Nora (Grey DeLisle), from being killed. Little does he know, though, that such a seemingly harmless act will create such a wildly alternate future, one in which Batman isn't Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) but Thomas Wayne (Kevin McKidd), the still-grieving, gun-toting father of a murdered boy; a future where Superman (Sam Daly) is nowhere to be found; where Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion) never stumbled across a spacecraft piloted by a dying alien; where a cold-hearted Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall) and her Amazonian warriors are locked in a bitter war with an unforgiving Aquaman (Cary Elwes) and his Atlantean armies; where Cyborg (Michael B. Jordan) is struggling to become America's Man of Steel; where six foster siblings become Shazam with a word; and where virtually every hero and villain of Barry's universe has been affected by his single act of compassion.
The fun of The Flashpoint Paradox is in checking off familiar and not-so-familiar DC faces as they come and go (or die, as is more often the case), and in seeing how radically different each one is from his or her traditional incarnation. Everyone from Lex Luthor (Steve Blum) to Lois Lane (Dana Delany), Deathstroke (Ron Perlman), Etrigan (Dee Bradley Baker) and even Jim Lee's Grfiter (Danny Jacobs) earns a memorable moment or two, so much so that the movie sometimes feels like a cameo parade. An emaciated Superman and a truly twisted, all too brief take on the Joker take the cake on shocking but wickedly effective variations, although it's Wonder Woman and, yes, Aquaman whose gripping and tragic conflict is the most engrossing, and really the force that propels the entire movie along. Flash, on the other hand, spends far too much time dealing with the loss of his powers (a tiresome subplot that pops up far too often in comicbook movies and series), and even more time out of the mix, working his way toward the war between Wonder Woman and Aquaman at a snail's pace. The upside is that The Flashpoint Paradox clocks in at 81-minutes, rather than the standard DCU 75. And while that doesn't sound like much, director Jay Oliva and screenwriter Jim Krieg spend those six minutes frugally, fleshing out the alternate world just enough to prevent the movie from devolving into an episodic action-fest.
The downside to it all is that The Flashpoint Paradox is a lot of dark, violent fun but not much else. Thomas Wayne, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Lois, Superman... each one demands their own Elseworlds animated movie. And yet a necessary evil quickly reveals itself: each hero and villain is shortchanged as the script hurries from character to character, often blazing past more fascinating storylines in pursuit of a rather standard fare right-the-timeline nail-biter. More distressing, at least to Flash fans, will be poor Barry, who's a key player to be sure, but one who doesn't come into his own until the final minutes. Even then, notice that it's Batman, not Flash, who makes it possible for Barry to patch up the universe; Batman who eliminates the final obstacle in Barry's path, meaning all Flash has to ultimately do is run really, really, really fast down a road cleared for him by other heroes. Paradox is Flash Lite (zero pun intended). If the wonderful wizards of the DCU want to give Flash the stage, then they need to give the man room to work. Let Flash show himself a hero worthy of his own original animated movie; one who can stand on his own, face a formidable foe and save the world, or all of reality, with only the skills at his disposal.
As a Justice League actioner, The Flashpoint Paradox works, and works with brutal, and I mean brutal, tenacity. (This is easily the most bloody, hard-hitting PG-13 fare Warner Premiere has churned out. Arrows through the neck, bullets to the brain-pan, disintegrations, dismemberments, decapitations, impalements... parents of young children beware.) As an animated powerhouse, it packs punch too, courtesy of terrific anime-esque animation and character designs from Studio 4°C in Japan. As anything more character-driven, though, particularly as it pertains to Barry Allen, Paradox is just that: a paradox.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray, Video Quality
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox features a reasonably impressive but inherently flawed 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation; one that suffers from several issues that will be instantly familiar to anyone who's ever evaluated a DCU animated release with any level of scrutiny. Unfortunately, these issues appear at a higher frequency and with more troubling severity than in recent DCU presentations, even though it should be noted that most, if not all, trace back to the animation and digital source rather than Warner's high definition encode. Aliasing, mild to moderate banding, faint macroblocking, fine line pixelation and other anomalies abound, and in the dark timeline especially, with shadow-draped shots of Thomas Wayne bearing the brunt of the burden. Tricks of the animation trade are largely to blame -- artificial zooms and pans tend to take a toll on the crispness and clarity of the image, while dramatic lighting overlays bring with them stair-stepping and other eyesores. For those willing or able to overlook such imperfections, the presentation will be more than satisfying. For those sensitive to the disruptions and distractions, the presentation is a bit too problematic for a higher score.
Even so, all is not lost. Not only does the Blu-ray edition run circles around its DVD counterpart, it does so with an array of grim but confident colors, deep primaries, inky blacks, and consistent contrast leveling. Detail is notable as well, with (generally) clean line art, painterly background textures, and a faithfulness to the nuances of the original animation. Does The Flashpoint Paradox deliver the best of the DCU animated presentations? No, it falls more towards the middle. Do the problems that arise amount to a deal-breaker? Again, no. So long as you're willing to put up with the usual bumps and bruises, nothing about the presentation, good or evil, should come as a surprise.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is the highpoint of the disc, with enough punch and power to leave a lasting mark. The LFE channel throws its weight behind every sonic boom, Atlantean weapon of destruction, Amazonian ground assault, heat blast, atomic explosion and Speed Force surge The Flashpoint Paradox deploys. The rear speakers get it on the chaos too, even though the resulting soundfield isn't as full or enveloping as a big screen DC adventure. It makes for a suitably furious action-oriented experience, with enough directional assertiveness to make each clash of the super titans an exciting, multi-channel battle. A prevailing front-heaviness accompanies quieter conversations, but voices are always clean, clear and nicely prioritized in the soundscape, no matter how restrained or aggressive the mix grows. All told, The Flashpoint Paradox couldn't sound much better.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox isn't the definitive, be-all end-all animated movie Flash purists have been patiently waiting for, but JLA junkies with a soft spot for Elseworlds-esque tales will enjoy all the alternate timelining, from its deviously dark heroes and villains to the climactic battles to the death that litter the fray. Striking Studio 4°C animation, terrific voice casting and performances, and a smart adaptation of Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert's "Flashpoint" comic crossover event further overshadow the movie's problem areas, making Paradox an entertaining but flawed entry in the DCU animated canon. Warner's Blu-ray release has a few issues of its own, although none that completely spoil the proceedings. With a solid video presentation, excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, a decent selection of extras, and a low pricepoint, The Flashpoint Paradox is an easy one to recommend to DCU fans, shortcomings and all.
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Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway - Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox - July 24, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment are offering three members a chance to win a copy of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which features the voice talents of Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd, Nathan Fillion, Ron Perlman, Dana Delany, Cary Elwes, ...
• Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Trailer - May 29, 2013
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released an official trailer for the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which features the voice talents of Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd, Nathan Fillion, Ron Perlman, Dana Delany, ...
• Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray - April 17, 2013
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has announced and detailed the Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet Combo Pack release of the next DC Universe original animated movie, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which features the voice talents of Nathan Fillion, Ron Perlman, Dana ...
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