I caught a fair amount of flack for my insistence that Flash could not carry a standalone movie. Look out Flash fanatics, Flashpoint proves my point. The latest DC offering plays off the comic book arc that redefined the universe during the 52 relaunch.
This is Flash at his most poignant. Scarred by the tragic death of his mother by a random home invasion, Barry Allen's fondest wish is to rescue her. After an encounter with his arch nemesis, Professor Zoom, Allen awakes at his desk. However, something is amiss, the world doesn't seem to know about the Flash! That's not too surprising given that Allen no longer has his speed powers. Most importantly though, his mother is alive.
So begins our journey through an alternate universe where Aquaman and Wonder Woman are waging a war that's destroying the planet. The mantle of Batman has been taken over by a mysteriously brutal stranger and Superman is nowhere to be found. Pretty cool huh?
Now here's the rub... THE OTHER HEROES DRIVE ALL THE ACTION! This story means NOTHING without them. Yes, Allen is following the mystery, uncovering clues to the catastrophe that created this horrible new timeline, but the real badass? Thomas Wayne! Yes, Bruce's dad survived in this alternate universe while son Bruce is slain and Mom lapses into insanity as the Joker.
It's Wayne's love for a son he barely knew that makes nearly all of Barry's accomplishments possible. From the regaining of the speed powers, to acting as strategist for Cyborg's metahuman resistance, to performing a CRITICAL and ballsy action in the third act. Further, Wayne really delivers the heart-tugging moment of the entire film by way of a special gift to his son.
And let's not forget Arthur and Diana. In a world without Kal El, these two are revealed as the strongest forces on the planet. Arthur is a ruthless ruler, bent on destroying the surface world at any cost. Diana is a warrior queen whose sense of honor demands the ultimate price be paid by the man who besmirched her honor. Lois Lane puts her life on the line as an embedded reporter, sharing her intel while reloading the mag on her automatic rifle... Hmmm, what's missing here?
Oh yeah, THE FLASH.
Face facts, folks. The Flash is the guy at the start of this movie... running circles around goofy villains who have no business tussling with a guy who is the living refutation of Einsteinian physics. Captain Boomerang? REALLY?
Aside from that, I wasn't a fan of the animation style. Batman looked fine, but what was up with all the steroid necks? It was like the alternate universe was styled by House of Bane. It was so noticeable that my kids pointed it out. They were right to do so.
Flashpoint Paradox is a fine story. I prefer gritty DC to Silver Age sunshine any day. HOWEVER, it's no different than almost any other alternate universe tale. There are other characters who could have (and have) created divergent universes. The Flash was just a trigger.
Standing alone, there would be no story to watch.
P.S. Flash is SOOOOO important that Batman, Cyborg and Wonder Woman and Aquaman's trident appear more prominently on the cover. In case you're wondering that's Flash's ELBOW in the picture. Just saying...