STARRING: Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Camilla Luddington, Nicholas Turturro, Ray Chase, Roger Cross, Colleen Villard, Jerry O’Connell, Rosario Dawson, Enrico Colantoni, Jeremy Davies, Alfred Molina, J. B Blanc, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Fred Tatasciore, Brian T. Delaney and Laura Post
Beings with supernatural powers join together to fight against supernatural villains. This team of supernatural beings include John Constantine, Zatanna and Jason Blood also known as the demon Etrigran.
Justice League Dark focuses on the Justice League noticing a spike in the number of incidents involving people suddenly seeing everyone around them as demonic monsters and end up killing a number of innocents before they are stopped. Believing that magic is involved, Batman sets out to find John Constantine and assemble a group of supernatural heroes to stop this outbreak.
Justice League Dark is the first of three DC animated films set to drop in 2017, with this focusing on Batman seeking the help of John Constantine and other supernatural heroes to stop an outbreak of civilians randomly seeing others as demonic monsters and killing a number of innocents before the Justice League members stop them.
I must say out of the string of animated films DC have dropped in recent years, this is one that I have enjoyed the most since 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. It helps that we get to focus on a new band of characters (in terms of the DC animated film universe) in the shape of Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, Etrigan and Swamp Thing. DC fans checking out will appreciate the fact that they managed to get Matt Ryan to voice for Constantine after playing the character in the live action series. The origin stories and voice acting for Zatanna, Boston Brand and Jason Blood had me invested and I thought the voice acting from Camilla Luddington, Nicholas Turturro and Ray Chase worked really well here. The animation is solid and smooth, particularly when it comes to the use of magic especially when the group come up against Felix Faust.
While I enjoyed the film, it still has a few problems that have been consistent with DC’s animated films recently. One such issue – Batman. Everyone knows I love the character but there comes a point where you have to shelve him in order to do the story properly. Primarily Batman exists to band everyone together and then stand around grunting at all the supernatural happenings around him, even though when you think about it from a plot standpoint, using him as a device to unite Zatanna, Constantine and Deadman together could have been avoided completely. Basically Batman is added because Batman sells this film is what I took from it, especially as he’s front and centre of the DVD cover for heavens sake. While I can understand the use of the Justice League in the films opening, the use of them in the final act seemed a bit like overkill for me. Also there is a certain segment which might make some people laugh and immediately think of Kevin Smith’s Dogma, if you know what I mean. The most intriguing character I was looking forward to seeing how they handled in this film was Swamp Thing and unfortunately his screen time is rather limited which is a shame.
The introduction of the members of Justice League Dark is a welcome addition to the DC animated film collection and considering it’s in the ‘New 52’ timeline of animated films, it’s easily the best of the bunch yet. While it may be the best one yet, it still has the same problems it’s always had the last couple of years, relying on Batman to sell whilst the character is rendered pointless for the story and doing the same epic scale finale in the city we’ve become far too used to since Justice League: War. Still though, it’s worthy to check out for Matt Ryan reprising the role of Constantine he played in the live action series. 6/10