The Flashpoint Paradox
The Flashpoint Paradox 2013
While I haven’t been able to make it to the theaters these past couple weeks to catch up on a lot of the big superhero movies, I did manage to watch DC’s latest animated venture The Flashpoint Paradox which manages to continue The Dark Knight Returns’ trend of pushing the limits of a PG-13 rating with a very adult story and some graphic violence. That said, I’m a big sucker for time travel, and especially timeline altering movies. I always loved those episodes of Star Trek, and I even quite liked the first Butterfly Effect. This is right alongside one of those with a great alternate timeline brought about by Professor Zoom using his super speed to go back in time and alter something, and somehow the Flash retains his memories of his former life, but not his former powers. In this reality, his mom is alive, but Aquaman and Wonder Woman are fighting a war that’s about to destroy the entire Earth. The scale of this movie is pretty epic, the violence is devastating, the themes are mature, and it does great justice to the character the Flash. This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, and it probably won’t be the last, but this has come close to being my favorite DC Animation once again.
The alternate timeline is an interesting one, going into a few minor/early spoilers in this reality it was Bruce Wayne who died that night in Crime Alley and his father Thomas who took up the call to justice as Batman. Though he’s much closer to the Punisher in terms of his violence, use of guns, alcoholism, and five o’clock shadow. Both Wonder Woman and Aquaman are waging a war against the rest of the Earth to spread the glory of Themyscera/Atlantis until they formed an alliance through adultery. And when Aquaman’s wife tried to take her fury out on Wonder Woman, she paid the ultimate price and Aquaman’s vengeance turned against the Amazons. There are a handful of others, but I’ll leave those for you to find out.
One of the things that struck me the most in this movie is the level of violence in it. It kicks off in practically the opening scene with Barry Allen as a young boy seeing his dead mother. It’s not that graphic, but I thought it was quite powerful, especially the transition into night when the police come and Barry is still standing in the same spot. Later in the movie when it comes to the full on battle scene between the technologically advanced forces of Atlantis, the powerful Amazons led by Wonder Woman, and the Resistance made up of lower tier superheroes there are some shocking deaths including a gunshot straight through a character’s head. Honestly, it makes me wonder about the ratings system. It’s rated PG-13, and while it doesn’t have any bad language, it has I think a similar level of violence that’s in Akira. And if it holds true to the typical nature of clueless retailers like Wal-Mart, it will likely end up in the family section next to the other more kid-friendly DC and Marvel animated titles.
There are plenty of side-characters and alternate characters in this movie, though most of the lesser known ones (at least as far as I know) are unchanged. This is probably due to the fact that only a small portion of the audience recognize them in the first place, and an even smaller portion of the audience would be able to tell the difference if they had changed. A couple I recognized from my more limited background were Grifter from the WildC.A.T.S. and Deathstroke. I also recognized the name Etrigan the demon, but I know absolutely nothing about him. It reminds me a bit of Batman/Superman Public Enemies where they throw a bunch of characters into the mix, and fans of the characters will pick out their favorites, and those who don’t know the difference are kept in the dark, rarely even getting a name to go with the face.
The voice acting and animation are brilliant as always. Michael B. Jordan comes in to do a great version of Cyborg, Kevin McKidd works well as the beaten down Thomas Wayne, and Justin Chambers really holds the movie together as the Flash. And even though it’s a small role, it’s always great to hear Kevin Conroy as Batman in the true reality in the beginning of the movie, and Nathan Fillion once again as the Green Lantern. It was great to see something done well with the Flash and I think something along these lines would work well for the Flash movie that DC is promising in 2016. It has the right mix of sci-fi, action, and drama. I really enjoyed it and absolutely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the Flash or DC in general. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.