BGN Movie Review: Justice League Dark

The world is in danger from an ancient evil the Justice League can’t handle. I know, shocking right? The League can’t figure out why humans and meta-humans alike are having sightings of random demonic figures. Major cities such as Gotham and Metropolis have become targets for this strange spell.

As always, Batman seems impervious to this majestic attack, and it leaves him open to an ominous message: Constantine. John Constantine. Why Constantine? Because he is the magic man, the prince of darkness, the go-to guy for spells, incantations, and demonic possessions.

John Constantine is a selfish, slovenly con man with magical powers and uses them to his advantage. Surprisingly, he has been chosen as the guardian of the Hall of magic — a place where magic books and artifacts are under his watch. Constantine knows he can’t do this task alone, so he seeks out the help of Zatanna, a powerful witch who hasn’t begun to tap into her potential. Together with Deadman, Etrigan, and Batman, they work to get to the bottom who or what is causing people to go stone loco.

Justice League Dark is the best D.C. Comics animated film since Flash Point Paradox. The characters are engaging, you care about them, and it’s refreshing to see new characters who aren’t Superman or The Flash in the spotlight. The introduction of Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, and Etrigan has left room for the studio to experiment with drama and horror elements.

What I love is how this is the most unperfect group of people. The JLA consist of characters that I would consider rigid. There is little room for interpretation with JLA characters, but the Justice League Dark characters are grounded, flawed, dysfunctional, and fun. They don’t pretend to be altruistic or pretend to get along, however, they know when its time to get down to business.

I enjoy Matt Ryan as Constantine and miss seeing him on television. His enthusiasm and genuine care for the Constantine character is charming. His eyes light up every time he talks about Constantine as if it were his baby. He has shown dedication to the character by reading the comics to get a real sense of how to portray him. As the charismatic man of magic, Constantine has adopted a bit of a cult following. So much so that now CW Seed will be running an entire season of Constantine in animated form.

Director Jay Olivia has combined several external elements without the film feeling super clunky or crowded. Speaking to him at the Justice League Dark red carpet premiere in New York City, Oliva mentioned the movie has several anime influences such as Full Metal Alchemist and certain style elements from Studio Ghibli. With all the wiggle room the studio created a new aesthetic, so why is Batman there? I get it. Batman sells merchandise because everyone knows who he is, but wouldn’t Wonder Woman have been a better fit? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for them to promote Wonder Woman due to her ties to magic? Also with her movie releasing soon in theaters, why didn’t they promote her instead? This irked the hell out of me. Ugh!

Fans deserve more Justice League Dark material. I would like to see the direction the Justice League Dark goes, and how they will converge with the Justice League. I am looking forward to seeing more from these characters. Hopefully, it encourages new fans to learn more about the full roster of Justice League Dark members.

Justice League Dark is now available on Blu-Ray so if you’re a fan of all things DC comics, you should definitely pick up a copy.

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View Comments (2)
  • The sudden appearance of Green Lantern John Stewart with no introduction was a bit off-putting. I agree, this was one of their better animated films, however, what is the connective tissue in these films? Are they all the same universe or are these just one-shot stories?

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