Of all the wonderful things that make San Diego Comic-Con great, nothing thrills so much as the opportunity to be among the first to see a new property come to life on screen. So when I had the chance to see the world premiere of DC Entertainment's latest animated epic, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, I took it. And boy, am I glad I did.
The film, based on the comic book series "Flashpoint," takes a dark departure from the typical fare in Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX.DL) DC Comics universe.
DC's scarlet speedster, The Flash, races back in time to prevent the murder of his mother. He succeeds but changes history in the process, creating a fractured timeline where the world is at war, Batman isn't quite Batman, Superman can't be found, and Cyborg is a government official.
There's more, but I won't spoil it for you. Let's just say this isn't a kid's film, and in terms of plot depth, character development, and pacing, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is, in my opinion, at least as good as Man of Steel and possibly better.
Surprised? Offended? Both? Look, I recognize that taste is subjective, but DC has a long history of producing excellent adult animation. Marvel hasn't been as fortunate with its tries, an oddity when you consider its relationship to Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS).
Don't take my word for it. Check out the "adult animation" section at Netflix. Look at the ratio of DC films to Marvel films. Then look at the ratings and reviews for 2010's Batman: Under the Red Hood, a critical success that earned more than $7 million in direct-to-DVD sales and which gets four stars from members. More than 1.32 million Netflixers have watched as of this writing.
Flashpoint, I think, is cut from the same mold and could do just as well. All of which has me wondering why DC isn't borrowing more of its animated talent to make live-action films. Two years ago, I argued that former animation chief Bruce Timm would be an excellent choice to assume the same role at DC that Joss Whedon holds at Marvel today. I still believe that.
Whether Timm gets the nod or not -- right now, it seems unlikely -- the important point for us as investors is that DC has significant assets that, if handled as well as Flashpoint was, could become a catalyst for Time Warner stock.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Will you see Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox? Leave a comment to let us know what you think of DC's efforts and Time Warner stock.