Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray Review: A Flash in the Pan

Look, here’s the deal: if you have to travel through time, or to another dimension, to tell your story, you’re officially out of ideas. There is a reason the DC Universe has not translated as well to the big screen as Marvel. Some of it is the depth of the characters, but it’s more the ability to tell stories and the stories they choose to tell.

The Green Lantern was not a good choice to be the next JLA member to put on film in 2011. On July 30th 2013, Warner Home Video brought us Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and well, things have not gotten any better in the DC storytelling universe.

If this is not spoiled for you yet: Spoiler Alert! So The Flash (Justin Chambers) wakes up in a world that looks like his own, but isn’t. He’s not fast, Superman doesn’t exist, Batman is old, and Wonder Woman’s Amazons are doing battle with Aquaman’s Atlantians and destroying the world in the process.

So Barry Allen sets out to figure things out, and get back to where he belongs. Seeking the wisdom and intelligence of Batman, he discovers that in this world, Bruce Wayne died in the alley on that fateful night and now his dad Thomas Wayne is Batman (Kevin McKidd). First thing on the agenda: re-create the “accident” that caused Barry Allen to become the Flash. Then figure out what happened to Superman because we need him to stop the war. Eventually things get worked out, but not before numerous unusual plotlines are introduced and not explored.

Regardless of how old you are, this is not the Justice League of your youth. Partly because it is a timeline that none of us are familiar with, and hopefully won’t become familiar with because it’s lame, but also because this DC JL story is more violent than any previous incarnation, and unnecessarily so. Almost as if they knew the story was bad and decided it needed something to make it unique.

The animation and performances are of no help to this production. The animation is awkward and inconsistent at best. Often reminiscent of anime from the ’60s, it seemed like Kimba could run by at any moment. The performances were consistently stoic, but that was probably more the fault of the writers (Geoff Johns – Original Story, Jim Krieg – Screenplay) than the actors.

The Blu-ray Combo offers a Blu-ray disc, a DVD, and Ultraviolet access. The bonus material is comprised of an audio commentary, the featurettes “A Flash in Time: Time Travel in the Flash Universe” and “My Favorite Villain! The Flash Bad Guys,” four DCU cartoons, a Sneak Peak at the upcoming Justice League: War and an excerpt of Flashpoint #1.

Recommendation: The Flash remains under utilized in the DC universe, and what should have been a showcase for the talents and entertainment value of the Scarlet Speedster lags far behind his potential. We can hope that the feature film scheduled for 2016 will deliver, but until then, the cartoons of the ’60s or the television show of 1990 will have to do.

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