Friday, August 9, 2013

ANI-MOVIES, *Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

Probably the quickest direct from comics to video production by DC Universe, this came out less than two years after the original story arc. Flashpoint was one of those big crossover events in comics that usually effects all the main characters of a comics universe, but this also acted as a catalyst for restarting the entire DC Comics product line into what is now referred to at the New 52. Before this, the DC Universe was made up of several different ones, including the Wildstorm and some of the Vertigo titles. So, anyone interested in how DC's new product line started out, this is pretty much where to begin from. This was directed by Jay Olivia, whose prior work includes Young Justice and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, as well as some of the previous DC Universe films, so you know he knows his superhero material. Plus, a large portion of the animation was handled by Studio 4C, the anime studio who have also done production on Memories, the new Thundecats series, and the Berserk movie trilogy.

Starting out in what could be called the "Post-Final Crisis" DC Universe, the Flash(who here is the second one, Barry Allen)is ambushed by the Rogues Gallery, who are suckered by Professor Zoom(the Reverse-Flash) to kill Flash. But the Justice League shows up to give Barry a hand and save everyone. Zoom goats Flash into regretting not saving his mother when he was a boy, and Flash inadvertently goes back in time to try an change things, even though in the comics it was actually Zoom who did that. Barry awakens in a new reality where his mother is still alive, but everything else has changed. In this new timeline, Aquaman and Wonder Woman have plunged Atlantis and Themyscira into a blood feud which brings the whole world into catastrophe. The Amazons have take over Britain as "New Themyscira", and the Atlantians are constantly trying to conquer them and the rest of the surface world. Barry realizing that he's in a different reality, but can't do anything about it because he doesn't have any super-speed now. He goes to Gotham to get help from Batman, but shocked to discover that the Batman here is Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne's father. After convincing Batman the truth behind his story, Barry has him recreate the experiment that transformed him into the Flash. The first time results in Barry getting nearly burnt alive, but a second time gets his spark going and gives him his super-speed, which luckily allows him to heals his burns quickly. The downside is though that Flash can't access the speed force which allows him to travel through time, because Prof. Zoom is here too which corrupts the speed force, and only by defeating him can Flash go back in time and change everything back to normal. So, Flash and Batman team up with Cyborg, who here is one of America's "Man of Steel", to then find where the real Superman is at. Kal-El was captured by the government when he first came to Earth, and kept in an underground facility. The heroes bust Kal out of there, only to be confronted by the army, and Superman flies off afterwards. Flash and the others team up with the Shazam Kids to try and flush out Zoom that the figure is somewhere in England where all the Atlantean/Amazon battles are going on. The Shazam Kids form Captain Thunder(Capt. Marvel)to take on Wonder Woman, while the others keep Aquaman busy, with some assistance from The Resistance(made of Lois Lane and Grifter). After a grueling battle, most of all the heroes die, while Zoom finally steps out of the shadows, and cripples Flash by impaling his leg. Batman manages to plug Zoom strait through the head, but only to have Aquaman activate his failsafe plan which is to turn the captured Captain Atom into a nuclear bomb which will wipe clean all life on the surface of the Earth. Realizing what is at stake, Flash somehow manages to utilize the speed force again despite his broken leg, and goes back in time to stop himself from altering it in the first place. Barry awakens back in his old reality, although it's not completely the same timeline as he now has a totally new outfit. He seems to remember the previous timeline with the world war, along with the fact that he has a letter from Thomas Wayne to give to Bruce. The ending has Flash running off in a scene very similar to most of the Spider-Man movies.

This was the most brutal of all the other DC Universe movies, so even though you'd see this in the Kids Movies aisle at your local Target, it's really meant for older viewers. There's a lot of differences between this mini-series and the original comics, mostly because this isn't just a single mini-series but several tie-ins. One of the main changes is that it was Zoom himself that caused the Flashpoint timeline to come about, and not Flash. The vocal casting is very interesting with Nathan Fillion returning as Hal Jordan, Kevin Conroy as Batman(Bruce, not Thomas), Ron Pearlman as Slade, Dee Bradley Baker as Etrigan, Dana Delany as Lois Lane, and Vanessa Marshal as Wonder Woman. Additions to the cast include Hynden Walch doing a slight reprise as Harley Quinn(here, Yo-Yo) and Tim Daly's son Sam as Superman. This does act as a better Flash movie more than it does as a Justice League one. Be sure to watch all the way through to the closing credits as there's a stinger for the upcoming Justice League: War movie!

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