Justice League Dark (JLD) is a supernatural, violent animated film set in the ongoing DC Animated Movie universe. It film centres on a series of mundane citizens inexplicably going mad and committing horrifying acts. Assuming its the work of some sort of magical force, the League calls in additional support, initially in the form of John Constantine, Zatanna, and Deadman.
So is it any good?
And that’s coming from someone truly who loves the JLD team and John Constantine in general.
JLD features the voice talents of Matt Ryan, returning from playing Constantine in the Constantine TV show, Camilla Luddington as Zatanna, whom most of us know as the voice of Lara Croft in the recent series of Tomb Raider games (Or Dr. Jo Wilson from Grey’s Anatomy if you are that way inclined). Also featured is Jason O’Mara, who is by far one of my favourite actors for Batman. They all do wonderful jobs of portraying the characters; however it still doesn’t save the film from its terrible pacing.
The plot is a mess, filled with a variety of shout outs that require you to have knowledge of the extended universe. A comic book buff will watch this, and be amazed at the shout outs and homages within this film, but a regular movie goer will have no idea who or what any of these little Easter Eggs are. Some of them are even main plot points!
On a more positive note, the animation in this film is spot on. It maintains the feel of the large DCAMU, and each spell-caster shown has their own unique animations which look fantastic. All the characters are visually distinct, which is wonderful in the more crowded scenes. My only disparaging remark is that the work on the demons in this show was a little sub-par, as was the Swamp Thing’s humanoid form.
Also worth noting is that is is the second animated DC film to get an R rating (By the MPAA). Honestly, it feels like the film-makers went for this rating just to increase the mass appeal of the film. There is plenty of swearing and violence, but it doesn’t have anything within it that makes it truly feel like it deserves such a rating and overall, it feels like a ploy to lure unsuspecting people in to watch it.
Ultimately, if you are like me and were intending to watch it regardless of how it turned out, then this review is not for you. If you were on the edge about whether or not you should watch this film, then my recommendation is to put in somewhere on the lower bottom of the pile. It certainly puts Fan4stic to shame, but does not hold a candle to the better animated adaptations produced by DC, such as Under the Red Hood, or Assault on Arkham.
Justice League Dark is currently available digitally, and will be released on Blu-Ray/DVD on February 9th
Our Justice League Dark review comes from Guest Reviewer Ben! Thanks Ben!