Jyger’s Rant – What I Liked and Didn’t Like About Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (WARNING – SPOILERS)
So I just got finished watching Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which is an animated movie based off the event comic Flashpoint. If you’ve never read the book or seen the movie, then I’m sorry, spoilers ahead. However,I’d wager to bet that everyone reading DC nowadays at least has heard of Flashpoint and knows that it’s the event that closed out the previous continuity in DC Comics, established with Crisis on Infinite Earths and shaping the modern DC universe, and began the DCnU, also known as The New 52 (even though it’s two years old and does not currently consist of 52 books like it originally had). Either way, here’s a brief summary of the events for those who don’t wanna read it, or who have and need a refresher on what happened. This is Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
The Flash (Barry Allen) is consumed with grief over the loss of his mother, so he decides to use his speed to travel back in time and save her. However, when he wakes up the next day, the world isn’t like he remembers. Kal-El was never found by the Kents, instead held in a government compound. Bruce Wayne was shot by Joe Chill and his father, Thomas Wayne, becomes a gun-totting Batman while his wife, Martha Wayne, goes insane and becomes The Joker. Aquaman has an affair with Wonder Woman, which Mera discovers, and is killed in self-defense when she attacks Diana, leading Themyscira and Atlantis to all-out war. And lastly, Cyborg is working for the government, trying to bring together a group of heroes (and a villain or two) to stop Diana and Arthur from causing World War III. There’s a ton of other characters involved, like Grifter, Hal Jordan, Lois Lane, Shazam, and Captain Atom, but it mostly centers around Flash, Batman, Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Professor Zoom.
Anyway, to make a long story slightly shorter, Barry travels to Gotham City and meets Batman, telling him what happened. He finds Professor Zoom’s suit in his ring instead of his own, and Batman theorizes that Zoom planted it there to let him know he’s still around, leading Barry to believe Zoom is the cause of the change to history. However, after the final battle between Aquaman and Wonder Woman begins and the heroes try to stop the war, Zoom arrives to tell Barry that he didn’t do anything: Barry is the cause. When Barry broke through the time barrier to save his mother, he created a time boom (comparative to a sonic-boom created when someone breaks the sound barrier) that altered history. Batman kills Zoom, since he was siphoning off the Speed Force and keeping Flash from going through time again, so that Barry can go back and stop himself from altering history, thus averting the crisis that almost destroyed the world. However, while that succeeds, we see in the end that he and Batman’s costumes have changed, though neither notices the difference, as the universe has still been changed into that of the DCnU.
There’re a lot more details to go over, but because I’m honestly left liking a lot of moments in this movie and hating others, I’m gonna give my thoughts based on lists of what I liked and hated. Also, I don’t wanna compare this to the book, since the only part of Flashpoint I ever read was the ending, but there IS something that happens there that didn’t happen in the movie, so I’ll leave that for after my lists. So first, here’s what I liked about this movie.
- Pretty much the entirety of the Flash Museum battle, in particular how Professor Zoom’s bombs are dealt with. The Justice League show up to help Barry with the situation, as Zoom has planted bombs on The Rogues, and we see them all using their unique powers, skills, and quick thinking to deal with each one: Aquaman has millions of microbes eat one bomb for dinner, Batman and GL disable one in space, Atom fries one in the atmosphere, Wonder Woman uses Captain Cold’s freeze gun on one, Flash uses his speed to gather a ball of wind to knock out one he can’t reach, and Superman…Well, Superman just clutches the last one in his hands and lets it blow up rather harmlessly. lol
- Lois Lane is not shown to die…I KNOW, RIGHT?! I mean, we can infer that when Aquaman blows up Captain Atom to destroy the surface world that she would’ve died, but since we never see her die and Flash goes back in time before the blast is completed, we can’t really add her to the kill-count in this movie (which sadly, there IS a rather lengthy kill-count, but I’ll get to that later). In fact, not only does she not die, but she joins Grifter’s team and starts kicking all kinds of ass in the final battle.
- I love just how many characters are involved in this. The Batsons, General Lane, Harley Quinn (now called YoYo for some odd reason), Flash’s Rogues Gallery, BOTH AQUALADS! I’m just a sucker for stories that involve LOTS of characters, because it makes me wanna brush up on what I know about them all.
- This is a great movie for fans of Barry Allen. Actually, I would daresay it’s a good movie for people who don’t like him too, because we pretty much get the best of him in this movie. He goes through the process of recreating the accident that gave him powers, TWICE, even after the first time fails and leaves him covered in third degree burns. He rallies the heroes together to try and stop the war. He’s CONSTANTLY pushing the boundaries of what should be possible even for him, just to give this insane world a chance. And when he finally realizes exactly what’s happened, what he did to cause all this, he undoes it, because he knows what his mother would WANT him to do, and that the cost of letting himself do what he did was too high. No second guesses, no easy way out. Be a hero.
- There’s just something about the ending where Barry gives the letter from his father to him that gets me emotional. It even lets me ignore the simple questions of how he should even be in possession of it if the timeline it comes from was erased.
…So that’s what I liked about the movie, but what did I hate about it?
- As I mentioned before, the kill-count in this movie gets kinda crazy, and the violence gets pushed pretty high for a PG-13. Steve Trevor is hanged, Mera is beheaded, Cyborg is torn apart until his heart is exposed, Kal-El accidentally fries some soldiers when he gains his heat vision for the first time, Billy Batson (who I must remind is a kid when he’s not Shazam) is stabbed, and Professor Zoom has a hole shot through his head. Look, I’m generally the first to stick up for kids and what they can and can’t handle, but this woulda traumatized me as a child. And frankly, just the fact that we see these characters killing each other in such graphic detail when a lot of them are the otherwise good guys is so hard to watch sometimes.
- Kind of a minor one, but Batman referring to Cyborg as a ‘boy-scout’ and Cyborg working for the government just makes me think of Frank Miller’s writing…in a bad way.
- I’m not sure why this is called Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, when the members are only seen as being the Justice League in one scene. Other than that, it focuses primarily on The Flash and Batman (because he’s DC’s meal ticket, and as much as I love the crap outta Batman, it can get EXTREMELY annoying how much they push him, even in other people’s stories). Flash being the central protagonist is kind of the reason the comic was originally called Flashpoint.
- Why is Wonder Woman a mass-murderer who assists Aquaman in cheating on his wife? Come to think of it, why is Aquaman an adulterer who then goes to war when his wife that he cheated on went to go kill Diana and was killed in self-defense? I get it, it’s a different version of the characters, but the changes in personalities and perspectives for the characters are usually explained, except for these two. The problem with that is that their conflict is the major conflict of the movie, since Flash has to stop their war from destroying the world.
- Not that big a deal, but…WOW, Cyborg is tall in this! I know it shouldn’t bug me all that much, but in every scene that he’s in, I just can’t stop thinking “Holy shit, Cyborg’s tall!” He’s bigger than Superman, for crying out loud! And he’s got that big honking blaster on his right arm. Dude, I don’t think you need to compensate for anything! You’re freaking Cyborg! lol
…So now that we’ve gone over what I liked and hated, let’s talk about what big thing was missing from the movie: Pandora. Again, for those who don’t know, in the original comic, after stopping himself from changing history, Flash heads back to the present, but encounters Pandora. Pandora explains that the universe was split into three (DC, WildStorm, Vertigo) to weaken it for some coming threat, and that she’s using Flash’s travelling through time to recombine the universes, thus creating the realm we know as the DCnU. So, if she’s absent from this movie, what’s the implication? That Flash still managed to botch up history somehow? Now, it’s not as big a deal here as it was in the comics, since the movies jump around wherever they like and most exist in their own universes (although I’m pretty sure Justice League: War is a sequel of sorts to this), but it still makes me question it… … …Also, where the hell was Element Woman? o.O
Overall, what are my thoughts? Well, my biggest problem with the Flashpoint comic, at least what I read of it and about it, is that it seems relatively small when you consider it’s the last story of the former DCU. But again, that’s not a problem for the movie. Heck, I understand another movie they’re gonna do in the future is an adaptation of the story where Bruce meets Damian. The violence DOES bother me a lot, though, as do the Flashpoint-verse Wonder Woman and Aquaman. I DO see the heart of this story on its own, however: It’s about a man who fell to the temptation to do what he thought would be the right thing for someone he cared about, he made a terrible mistake, and when he realized it, he did what was necessary to set everything right, making the sacrifice needed to save the world. So, there IS a good story beyond all the blood and death…which, I think I may have heard was actually made worse for the movie, I’m not sure.
But anyway, those’re my thoughts on The Flashpoint Paradox. Have you got a different take on it? Comment below what you thought of the movie, the comic, the DCnU, whatever, and I will see you guys next time. Ja né!
- PaulRom Reviews: JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX (comicbookmovie.com)
- Movie Review: “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” (comicsauthority.com)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (todaysmoviereviews.com)
- DVD Review – Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (chyrondave.wordpress.com)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (hwb239.wordpress.com)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (backpocketentertainment.com)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (comicvine.com)
- Movie Review: ‘Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox’ (ifanboy.com)
- Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox (ihogeek.com)
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX – First Clip and Images (geektyrant.com)