Justice League Dark – 4 out of 5
My opinions on DC’s films lately have been quite mixed but there’s a few areas where I think they are doing exceptionally well right now. Number 1) Their comics since Rebirth began are flippin’ amazing, Number 2) The CW Arrowverse shows are incredibly fun and Number 3) Their animated films are of consistent and excellent quality. Their latest addition to their shared animated universe takes a dive in the mystic with DC’s more magical characters in Justice League Dark.
|Hey look, suddenly John Stewart and Hawkman are on the|
League without any explanation!
|This movie is pretty racist against demons.|
After a rash of people start mysterious becoming violent and unpredictable as they claim they are seeing demons surround them, Batman (Jason O’Mara) is directed towards a cocky and snarky occultist named John Constantine (Matt Ryan). With the help of the magician Zatanna (Camilla Luddington) and the disembodied spirit known as Deadman (Nicholas Turturro), Constantine learns that a powerful sorcerer is responsible for the possessions taking over the people. Quickly, the team gathers the help of the demon Etrigan (Ray Chase) and the creature Swamp Thing (Roger Cross) and sets out to use the magical arts to save the world.
|They're on their way to pick up the next member who dabbles in the magical|
arts: Gob Bluth.
Justice League Dark is a refreshing turn for the DC Animated Universe because it’s not an actual Justice League-based story. Sure, the League is there and Batman is in the mix but getting to see the more paranormal and mystic side of DC’s lore come to focus is a nice change of pace and a great opportunity to test the waters for the company. Additionally, the film also offers up a return for Matt Ryan to reprise his role as Constantine after he did a tremendous job of teeing him up in the criminally short-lived NBC show.
|He's giving the side-eye to the network for not having faith in his show.|
|Already better than those obscure live-action|
movies he had in the 80s.
The strongest aspect of Dark was, in my opinion, the story itself. Unlike other DCAU films that have come out, this one doesn’t try to cram too much in nor ends up having a plot that feels rushed—I’ve mentioned this in other films like Aquaman’s feature. Instead, the story is allowed to unfold and develop at a pace that feels very natural and not like it is trying to get too much done in a too small of a time period. However, it kinda stunk that Batman was included. I’m a big Batman fan and I get that DC and WB want him included because he’s their money maker but it would have been really nice to let Constantine and the crew spread their wings and try to fly on their own without the help of Bruce Wayne and the Batman name. Of course, that comes with a huge risk of people not buying the video, so I understand why he’s included the way he is. It just would have been neat to see DC take a risk and do a Batman-less animated film.
|"Hmmm. He's hurt. I'm the world's greatest detective."|
The only real thing I found odd about the whole film was the rating. For some reason, Justice League Dark is rated R. However, I really didn’t see anything about the film that was worth of this rating. Sure, there’s a literal shit monster in it and there’s a couple of mild swears that you’d hear on basic cable but, beyond that, nothing about it screamed rated-R. Hell, even the action didn’t live up to the rating as I found it…well…kinda tame. Justice League: Gods and Monsters has far more brutal and shocking violence and that one was PG-13. Is this rating just another gimmick from the WB and DC in order to leech off the success of the likes of Deadpool? It sure feels that way.
|I was shitting you not when I said this film had a shit monster.|
The rating aside, I found the overall product of Justice League Dark to be an excellent viewing experience. Sadly, I think it might end up being a blip on the animated movies' radar and will probably end up being forgotten down the road and I’m really disappointed that DC didn’t take the leap and try to give these characters their own film without having to attach Batman’s likeness to it. However, it’s a stepping stone in their animated universe and I really hope that it opens their world up to attempting other characters that the mainstream audiences aren’t overly familiar with.