New To Blu: Justice League - The Flashpoint Paradox
Based on the original story by Geoff Johns, the man responsible for reinvigorating new excitement into many DC characters including Flash and Green Lantern, Flashpoint Paradox, as an animated film, is a pretty sweet entry into the onslaught of animated hero flicks. There's a metric crap ton to keep track of and to a casual superhero fan, might be a mostly confusing and incoherent mess albeit quite a bit of fun!
Fortunately, the film makers are realizing that the proper demographic for these animated adaptations is actually not children at all, and Flashpoint spills its guts -- literally. The violence doesn't hold back, I'm thrilled to see. Though, the animation for some frustrating reason is still stuck in the clunky cardboard standards of typical American comic adaptations. When are they gonna learn from the best over in the East? And, no, I don't mean the bubbly-eyed basketball-boobed anime. I'm talking about kinetic power and truly gratifying physicality that most American animators just can't seem to reach. Admittedly, however, the animation is, indeed, a small step up amongst the relative attempts as of late. The action scenes would lack a lot of energy if they weren't punctuated with tasteful and satisfying bursts of blood fueled by the impetus of strong characters.
The voice acting, all around, ranges from passable to pretty darn good, with fan favorites such as Nathan Fillion and Kevin Conroy reprising their (small) roles as Green Lantern and Batman, respectively. Some delightful surprises such as Michelle Monoghan and Cary Elwes offer their cords in less than remarkable, but otherwise seriously bad ass portrayals of both Wonder Woman and Aquaman. The weakest link, in my opinion, goes to the lead, Justin Chambers, whose Flash is rather dry and uninspired, despite the character's well-written motivations.
From Flash's heroic debut I got the impression I was in for a cacophony of nerd service, and little in the way of a compelling story. Thankfully, by the time the plot really started rolling and the odd twists started creeping in, I was pleasantly intrigued by every new element they threw at me. Flashpoint Paradox lives up to its name. It can get a little overwhelming to the point of turning into noise, however. Sadly, that's kind of the way most of these films go, though. Understandably, in Flashpoint's case, it's much of a necessary evil, given the integrity of the plot.
This one's not necessarily for the little ones, parents. So, I'd give it a watch before letting your children see it and decide if it's right for them. Even besides the violence, they might very well be put off by the twists on their favorite heroes and have no idea what's going on. Flashpoint is, however, overall a lot of fun with a welcome mature zest missing from the animated adaptations as of late and takes it up at least a notch in the animation itself compared to its brethren, though suffering from a lot of the same shortcomings that plague the current trend. With that said, it's certainly one of the better DC toons, and worth a purchase for any fan, but doesn't dethrone my personal favorite, First Flight. I'm still waiting for that first exceptional animated DC movie.
- Review by J.G. Barnes