Since the release of Justice League's Flashpoint storyline in 2011, its repercussions have echoed throughout the entire DC universe, creating the New 52 and leading to the current Rebirth storyline. The It’s a Wonderful Life-type plot has found its way into TV’s The Flash and is rumored to be the story for The Flash live-action movie with Ezra Miller reprising his role as Barry Allen.
One of the best adaptations of Flashpoint has been the 2013 animated film, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. While most books always excel in quality compared to the cinematic version, an argument can be made that the Justice League animated movie is in some ways superior. WARNING: There are spoilers to the film and comic.
10 Not: No New 52 reference
While the comic book features an impressive splash page of Barry traveling through time to erase the Flashpoint world, there are three different timelines revealed, and his return brings about the New 52 universe, which also erased 10 years of DC history. At the time the comic was released, readers may not have realized the image of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Grifter together was the New 52, but now fans do. Sadly, the movie features no reference whatsoever to the New 52 except for the forgettable post-credit scene of the arrival of Parademons, setting up the next film, Justice League: War, which is an adaptation of the New 52’s Justice League: Origin.
9 Better: The Beginning
The comic features a quick prologue narrated by the Reverse Flash and it feels pretty unnecessary. However, the film version first sets up the reason for the Flash wanting to time travel: to save his mom. It also features not only an attack by the Flash’s infamous Rogues and Reverse Flash, but it also shows how well the Justice League works together and looks out for each other. This helps add to the drama and tragedy of what’s to come when the heroes are splintered and trying to kill each other.
8 NOT: Superman Underused
While both the comic and movie have Superman’s role rather limited, the film makes him even more pathetic than his comic book counterpart. In the comic, Superman saves the day and at least gets to beat on Aquaman and Wonder Woman at the same time, proving he’s still a major force to be reckoned with, despite his weak appearance. In the film, Supes does show up to end a fight, but ends up just kneeling by a dead Cyborg (another negative to the film), as Aquaman’s Captain Atom bomb detonates, supposedly killing everyone in its blast.
7 BETTER: Aquaman’s & Wonder Woman’s Final Confrontation
The original comic book Flashpoint only has a few panels of the two lovers fighting each other, giving a hint of why Aquaman has grown to hate Wonder Woman. However in the film, there is a nice lengthy fight, wonderfully choreographed and with no-holds-barred brutality, showing that these two make formidable enemies. One of the best parts in the film is when their fight is reconvened, only to show Wonder Woman the victor. It’s also a revealing scene when the bomb detonates, showing Wonder Woman holding the dead Aquaman in her arms as the explosion takes them both.
6 NOT: Flash Changing the Reverse Flash Costume
It’s known in most films that there’s not always time to explain the small details in the comic books. But in Flashpoint Paradox, when Barry discovers the Reverse Flash’s yellow costume in his ring instead of his red costume, he simply vibrates real fast and the costume magically changes from yellow to red. No explanation, no mention of what happened. In the comic, Flash at least explains even though he could break down the threads, it’s easier just to make a new one, which he does at top speed. This is better than the film’s lack of explanation, which left viewers scratching their heads.
5 BETTER: Action Sequences
While the comic has a lot going on, the fight sequences seem to take a backseat—except for the final confrontation between Flash and Reverse Flash. In Paradox, there are just as many action sequences as the comic and then some! From Batman’s fight with Yo-Yo to Deathstroke and Lex Luthor’s fight with Aquaman’s powerhouse team, all of the action is masterfully choreographed and much more detailed. Some of these fights in the comic are a panel or two and don’t nearly deliver on showcasing these characters’ strengths.
4 NOT: Shazam Kids
Again, both mediums feature the Shazam kids —a small group of kids, led by Billy Batson, who form together into the one Captain Marvel (Captain Thunder in the comic). The kids get close to the same amount of screen and page time with their appearance, but they have more speaking parts in the comic. It’s a small difference that makes the characters all the more endearing when you see them go into battle, betrayed by Enchantress, and ultimately lose. Nevertheless, Batson’s end in the film is more brutal.
3 BETTER: Thawne’s Death
The comic sees Thomas Wayne’s Batman run a battle sword through Reverse Flash’s chest while the film takes an even more surprising turn, having Wayne shoot him in the head. Not only is the cinematography for the big reveal graphic, but it speaks to Thomas' brutality of using guns, something Bruce Wayne would never do. Bruce never used a gun because it’s the same weapon that killed his parents, but Thomas has no problem with taking up a gun in each hand and delivering his own form of swift justice.
2 NOT: Barry’s Goodbye
The film has many, many good qualities about it…especially its beginning. Its ending, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. In the comic, there is a scene where Barry escapes the final battle to say goodbye to his mother—the person he went back in time to save and the reason things are all screwed up. He tells her what he did and wishes he could save everyone and her. When his mom realizes how many people will die, she selflessly tells Barry he has to let her go and do what’s right. It’s a gut-punch of a scene, followed by the famous goodbye note from Thomas to Bruce.
1 BETTER: More Detail, Brutality
The film goes where the comic won’t or can’t. Steve Trevor’s, Black Manta’s and Grifter’s deaths; Bruce Wayne’s death followed by his mother’s transformation into the Joker; Superman’s arrival to Earth; these are all details which took separate spin-off, tie-in comics to reference these events. Fortunately, the film shows the most important parts. The film pulls no punches when it comes to just how brutal this Flashpoint universe is and it’s even more successful at showing why it must be eradicated. These details make Paradox more of an adult animated film then just a kids' cartoon.