A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox is a 2013 movie that is part of the DC Comics Justice League animated feature franchise. Unsurprisingly, these characters are also sold and marketed as action figures. The violence is unrelenting; the superheroes are in constant battle, including scenes in which Wonder Woman holds a severed head and also causes a death by hanging. A character is punched in the face until bloody and knocked out. A boy comes home to find his mother murdered as the result of a break-in. There is some profanity: "a--hole," "crap," and "hell." The mother of a superhero asks her son if he's gay and says that it's OK if he is. The superheroes themselves, for all their actions in the defense of the world at large, also display cynicism, short tempers, and a predilection to using violence to solve any and all problems.
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What's the story?
While visiting his mother's grave, the Flash (Justin Chambers) expresses regret for not getting home fast enough in time to prevent her death at the hands of a home invader. He is then alerted to an attempted break-in of the Flash Museum plotted by his arch-nemesis, Professor Zoom (C. Thomas Howell). After stopping the break-in, Professor Zoom makes a snide remark about the death of the Flash's mother, and before Batman can stop him, the Flash runs back through time to prevent his mother from being murdered. But this good deed unleashes a terrible alternate reality in which, among other things, Wonder Woman and the Amazonians are at war with Aquaman (Cary Elwes) and the Atlanteans for control over Europe. Cyborg tries to stop this war, but Batman (who isn't really Batman) refuses to help him, and Superman is nowhere to be found. As the alliances and rivalries among superheroes entangle and the world is on the brink of destruction, it's up to the Flash to find a way to restore the time line to its original path.
Is it any good?
This animated tale has complicated storylines, complex superheroes with tragic pasts and cynical attitudes, and frenzied action. JUSTICE LEAGUE: FLASHPOINT PARADOX also has the added bonus of a story that puts the Flash at its center rather than the expected Batman or Superman. The story itself is an interesting exploration of the idea behind the serenity prayer, a variation of which is quoted by the Flash's mother: "Accept what you cannot change. Have the courage to change the things you can, and have wisdom to know the difference."
While the story of the Flash attempting to change what cannot be changed (for mortal men, anyway) is engaging, as are the horrible ramifications of his attempts to change the past (including Wonder Woman battling Aquaman in a war to conquer Europe), this is still best enjoyed by older kids and those who are already familiar with these stories. What stirs the imaginations of some kids will leave others confused.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ways in which the superheroes, while still heroic, are shown to be flawed. How are these portrayals of Wonder Woman, the Flash, Batman, and so on similar to and different from past portrayals?
Does the violence seem appropriate to the story and the characters or does it feel forced to make the story seem more exciting?
One of the characters quotes a prayer her grandmother would say to her: "Accept the things you cannot change. Have the courage to change the things you can, and have wisdom to know the difference." What are the ways in which this quote -- also known as the serenity prayer -- is a theme to this movie?
- On DVD or streaming: July 30, 2013
- Cast: Nathan Fillion, Ron Perlman, Cary Elwes
- Director: Jay Oliva
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 75 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: Sci-fi violence and action throughout.
- Last updated: November 23, 2020
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