BLU-RAY REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
What seems to becoming a new standard by Warner Brothers Animation for its DC Animated Universe is the R-rated foray. Several films before last years The Killing Joke had already pushed the envelope between language, graphic violence and sexuality. Now they give us Justice League Dark, their twenty-seventh animated film. Warning, spoilers ahead…
Admittedly, I have limited knowledge of the Justice League Dark comic book series. Yes, I know the players involved but there is still a lot for me to learn. Justice League Dark opens in a pretty horrific way with everyday people having hallucinations about being attacked by demons. Making their guest appearances, both Superman and Wonder Woman along with Batman (Jason O’Mara) help with put an end to the danger. While the League is convinced that magic or something supernatural is at the heart of these hallucinations, Batman is less convinced. That changes after a ghostly visitor leads him to John Constantine (Matt Ryan).
Batman’s presence in this animated feature has more to do with selling than anything else. He’s there but this is all about Constantine and Zatanna (Camilla Luddington). We’re also introduced at a rapid pace to such supernatural characters like Deadman, Etrigan the Demon and fan favorite Swamp Thing. Since very little is given about these characters after their introductions, who and what they are might confuse those of us unfamiliar. Clearly there’s a back story and a connection between all of them and Constantine but it never gets flushed out. Sometimes moving the story at a quicker pace slows down the understanding for the viewer.
Veteran director Jay Oliva knows how to deliver on the action in a specialized and compelling way. JLD sports some of the best visuals seen of late. Justice League Dark is not Warner Brothers finest work but its upgrade from some of its earlier entries. The problem I have with the magic presented here is that I never feel as if our supernatural heroes were in any real danger that they couldn’t get of with a spell or two. Even Zatanna at one point was able to hold a possessed Superman in place with her wand. We know our heroes will survive the ordeal they’re facing but without a viable threat, the solution becomes anti-climatic at best. Something for the producers and writers to think about when undoubtedly a sequel will be made.
Next up is highly anticipated Teen Titans: The Judas Contract due out this Spring.
Directed by: Jay Oliva
R 76 Mins
Matt Ryan as John Constantine
Jason O’Mara as Bruce Wayne / Batman
Camilla Luddington as Zatanna
Nicholas Turturro as Boston Brand / Deadman
Ray Chase as Jason Blood / Etrigan the Demon
Roger Cross as Dr. Alec Holland / Swamp Thing, John Stewart / Green Lantern
Colleen Villard as Black Orchid
Jerry O’Connell as Clark Kent / Superman
Rosario Dawson as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
Enrico Colantoni as Felix Faust
Jeremy Davies as Ritchie Simpson
Alfred Molina as Destiny
B. Blanc as Abnegazar, Merlin
Jeffrey Vincent Parise as Rath, Father, Police Officer
Fred Tatasciore as Ghast
Brian T. Delaney as Husband, Shroud Leader
Laura Post as Businesswoman
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK – ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight