Before I actually begin the review, I have to say this: DC is getting these things out at an astonishing rate. Seriously, it’s been what, two or three months since Superman Unbound and we already have this? I have to applaud DC for that, if nothing else. Because, on one hand, I loved most of this movie. But, on the other, it has a lot of flaws that prevent it from being as great as it could have been, and, for the most part, these are flaws that the Flashpoint event had as well.
I’ll say this: Flashpoint works as an elseworlds story. And, if you look at it as that, it’s an extraordinarily stellar story. So what I could do is choose to ignore the existence of the beginning and the very end of this movie and treat it as little more than an elseworlds story. The problem with doing that is that it would probably lower my score of the movie, because the opening sequence and the ending are two of the movie’s best moments.
Anyone who’s read the Flashpoint mini series will know that the very last moment between Bruce and Barry is the most well done moment of the entire series. And, in the movie, that remains the case. It’s a hard hitting moment and it works very, very well. Now, moving backwards to the movie’s introduction. I will say this: it’s pretty amazing. It’s essentially just a showcase of the Justice League’s powers, as they prevent the explosion of bombs strapped to The Rogues belts, put there by Professor Zoom (or the Reverse Flash). It’s a fun opening scene to a movie that kills any residual light heartedness and fun as it goes on, instead replacing it with a dark, violent world.
And is that bad? Well, not necessarily. Again, as an elseworlds story, it works, and it works well. Now, this being based off of a comic book, I get that certain leaps of logic (such as the “time boom”) just have to be accepted. That being said, it’s still a problem that the audience has to put up with the Flash’s mother somehow being the center of the universe. Had it been the Flash going back in time, and, say, preventing the Holocaust, I could (maybe) accept how different the world would be.
But, no, he saves his mom, and this causes Bruce Wayne to die, Thomas Wayne to become Batman, Superman’s ship to crash into Metropolis, Cyborg being the government’s tool, Wonder Woman at war with Aquaman, Superman being captured by the government, Lois Lane becoming a resistance fighter, Barry Allen never becoming the Flash, etc, etc. And that’s my biggest issue with the movie.
All of this, in an elseworlds story, would work, and I would be Ok with it, because that’s just how the world is. It’s the added explanation for why this happens that kind of annoys me. In the end, it all works, and it creates a solid story and a solid world, but I do have an issue with how the world of Flashpoint came to be.
But hey, this movie really deserves more praise than critiques. The amount of sheer world building that went into this 75 minute movies is INSANE. By the end, we have a world (and a a cast of characters) that is entirely fleshed out, in no small part due to how much is actually here. Sure, it does, on occasion, cause the movie to feel fragmented, but you know what? This event had so many damn tie ins that they have to include at least some of them. The tie ins ended up as short, 3-4 minute vignettes that served no purpose other than showing us where characters are and building the world of Flashpoint, and, in that context, they work extremely well.
The fact that the movie is able to take a bunch of characters and make me care about them in 45 minutes before butchering every single one of them is a testament to just how well this movie is done. The fact that I actually feel something as Grifter, Cyborg, Billy Batson, and even Aquaman, are all slaughtered proves how well these characters have been fleshed out in so little time. We’re the movie a little longer, the character development could have been done better, yes. The fact is though, that in the movie’s short run time, I actually cared about all the characters.
That may be partially because of already having connections to some of them, but that cleanly doesn’t apply to all of them. Who the hell ever cared about Grifter? Certainly not me, and yet, I was legitimately sad when he was killed. The same goes for Cyborg, who I also don’t really care about. Those last twenty minutes really hit quite hard, and that continues all the way until the very end if the movie. This was at least true for me, and I liked that about the movie.
Nearly all of the characters in this movie are dynamic, interesting characters, and I would have liked nothing more than to spend more time with them. And, in the end, more than the terrible animation (which I’ll get to) and the unbelievable logic, the movie’s biggest flaw is it’s run time. At 75 minutes, it sort of ends up feeling like there should be more, but the creators just got lazy. And it’s not just that I want more, it feels like there should be more to the movie than what there actually is. Upon first watching it, that didn’t occur to me, but, after repeated viewings, The Flashpoint Paradox feels lazy.
And the same is true of the animation. Just because Bruce Timm and all the other people who have carried DC’s animation forever have all jumped ship doesn’t justify the fact that, for the most part, the animation is terrible. It jumps between styles way too much, and the result is character models that look horrible when they aren’t moving. And this seems to be a trend with DC animation, and it sucks.
On the whole, I actually rather enjoyed The Flashpoint Paradox. It had a great world, great characters, and a plot that was at least passable. I know I’ve already said this, but I have to say it again: it inherits all the problems that the event had, namely it not being an elseworlds story, and therefore having to justify how the world got to be the way that it is. It’s a movie that’s on the cusp of greatness, but never quite manages to sort out a few issues that would be able to push it into the category of great movies. It’s certainly not DC’s worst, but it’s far from DC’s best.