It's a good time to be a comic book fan. "The Avengers," "Iron Man," "Thor," "Captain America," "X-Men," "Batman" and pretty much every other prominent superhero seems to be making their way to the big screen these days. Well, it's a good time if you don't mind some of the changes made from comic books to fit the movie format, that is.
"The Justice League" isn't getting left behind in this comic book rush, as the direct-to-DVD movie "Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox" puts you right in the thick of things. You start out with the Flash calling together The Justice League of America to stop Professor Zoom from destroying Central City. The opening is standard action movie fare, but it gets a bit weird after that (spoilers ahead!).
The Flash wakes up to find himself in an alternate timeline, one where his powers don't exist. On the plus side, his mother is alive, although his wife is married to another man. The Justice League not only doesn't exist, but some members are actively warring against each other, causing havoc in the world. Flash seeks out the help of Batman, who ends up being Bruce Wayne's father Thomas instead of Bruce. It takes some convincing, but eventually Thomas believes the story and works on recreating the fateful accident that caused Flash to gain his powers in the first place. It takes two attempts before the accident works, although he still cannot gain access to Speed Force, as Professor Zoom has already taken the power for himself in this timeline. After a series of chaotic and tragic attacks and deaths, it's revealed that this altered timeline is not the making of Professor Zoom at all. Instead, it's the consequences that resulted from The Flash trying to save his mother from death. He has to stop himself from changing history to get time back to normal.
'Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox'
The movie does an excellent job at staying true to its "Justice League: Flashpoint" graphic novel roots. The animation style is more realistic than stylized, which works very well in the war torn and tragic alternative timeline that The Flash finds himself in. While it's a bit of a departure for those who prefer the stylings of "Batman Beyond," it's very well done overall. It's obvious that a lot of time, effort, and production value went into this direct-to-DVD movie. It also does a good job introducing the events that caused The New 52 to alter the DC universe on a massive scale. If you somehow missed the graphic novel, you actually get a true to the original take on it with this DVD.
While the movie is rated PG-13, as is standard for DC's animated movies, you end up wondering how they managed to pull it off. Compared to "Superman: Unbound" and other DC movies you can find on-demand with cable services such as Direct.tv, the violence and gore is rather extensive in "Flashpoint Paradox," and it's not necessarily something you'll want to let your kids watch. The gritty alternative universe has a big enough impact, watching some of the over the top death scenes might be a bit too much. It contributes to the dark atmosphere, but just don't let the rating fool you into thinking this is anything other than a DC movie for adults.