Review: Justice League Dark (2017)

Justice League Dark (2017)

Directed by: Jay Oliva | 72 minutes | animation, action, fantasy, science fiction, thriller | Original voice cast: Matt Ryan, Camilla Luddington, Jason O’Mara, JB Blanc, Ray Chase, Enrico Colantoni, Roger Cross, Jeremy Davies, Rosario Dawson, Brian T. Delaney, Alfred Molina, Jerry O’Connell, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Laura Post, Fred Tatasciore, Nicholas Turturro, Dee Bradley Baker

‘Justice League Dark’ is an animated film that gives us a glimpse into a slightly darker part of the DC universe, namely the twilight world largely inhabited by demons, devils and black magic between earthly existence and the caves of hell. The story begins with ordinary citizens who, like madmen, engage in shocking crimes en masse in Metropolis and Gotham City. For example, we see a woman who hits several people, a man who, after already killing the neighbors, wants to shoot his family and a mother who wants to throw her baby off the roof because she thinks her sprout is a demon. . Where does this wave of violence, anarchy, hatred and bloodlust suddenly come from? The Justice League suspects that supersensible forces are at work. With the mysterious case beyond the jurisdiction of the Justice League, Batman enlists the help of renowned demon hunter John Constantine. The pair put together a remarkable team that consists of the misfits

Zatanna, Deadman and the demon Entrigan, a hot-tempered gentleman with whom you normally would rather not cooperate.
‘Justice League Dark’ is a film that certainly lives up to its name in terms of tone. Forget the somewhat light-hearted tone from, for example, the Avengers films from Marvel: ‘Justice League Dark’ exudes a jet-black atmosphere, especially in the first part, which comes into its own in a number of pretty intense scenes. It is therefore no coincidence that Batman, the most tormented and dark soul among the known superheroes, is actually the only member of the Justice League that gets a fair amount of screen time. The leading role is played by John Constantine, the demon hunter who is played by Keanu Reeves in the feature film ‘Constantine’. However, the Constantine in ‘Justice League Dark’ speaks with a British accent and is more lavish with one-liners than Reeves’ more serious film version.

In terms of animation, ‘Justice League Dark’ scores very well. The demons look beautiful, nice and raw and menacing, while the action scenes are often a feast for the eyes. The alternately gory, magical and esoteric storylines also work well, although the script sometimes gets a bit entangled in its own complexity. In order to appeal to a wider audience, the occult theme of the story is sometimes spiced up with somewhat cartoonish humor (Deadman’s rather thick Brooklyn accent is a good example) and bone-dry one-liners. Sometimes that approach works, but there are also times when the attempts to provide the film with a slightly humorous sauce are less successful. In addition, ‘Justice League Dark’ sometimes lacks some inventiveness, so that the story sometimes becomes a bit watered down after the strong start.

Justice League Dark is a film that will appeal to die-hard DC fans in particular. The DC superheroes that everyone knows such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman or The Flash play a modest role or even do not appear at all (that applies to the last name in the list) in the film. The more obscure characters, foul language and horror-like sequences make ‘Justice League Dark’ primarily an animation for enthusiasts and comic purists that is not really modeled on the wishes of a broad audience. Not everyone’s suit, but entertaining viewing food for the niche target group that the makers are primarily aiming for.

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