DC Entertainment animated movies have been selling like hot cakes over the past couple of years. A lot of what Marvel succeeds with its live action films, DC does well with it’s animated movies and fans of these decorated superheroes, reap the benefits. DC’s most recent release is another example of how great story telling, fantastic voice acting and cool animation, add up to success. Justice League Dark is a quirky story that follows the story of a not so normal group of “Superheroes”, who find themselves in the middle of an outbreak of delirium and panic. Everyday citizens are seeing people around them as demons and monsters and end up killing innocent people as a result. The Justice League takes notice and comes to the conclusion that this is actually the work of magic, something even Superman can’t punch his way out of. Batman, who is a sceptic of magic, becomes the leader of a ragtag group of sorcerers, ghosts and supernatural beings hell bent on stopping whatever archaic being that is causing regular people to see demons and kill one another.
The story itself is an unusual road for DC to take, mostly in that they often stay away from magic and super “comicy” premises, however, with the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and Dr. Strange, magic and space creatures are no longer a stigma of being too nerdy.
Batman teams up with sorcerer/conman/comedian John Constantine, voiced by Matt Ryan and famous stage magician Zatanna, to recruit some supernatural heroes that can help. Along the journey, Batman stumbles upon Deadman, a trapeze artist, who passed away but in death, can now possess others, Jason Blood, who is magically bound to a fire-breathing demon known as Etrigan; and interestingly enough, Swamp Thing, who is known only as the “Protector of the Green” and can basically control all plant life. Not your average Superman and Wonderwoman, as you can see.
The characters are mostly not well known but their back stories are incredibly interesting. The movie goes into each and helps you feel a connection with each one of them. As I began to understand who the team was, the story unfolds very fast and keeps the pace up for the rest of the film. As Batman seems to be the main character of the movie, Constantine is the star of the show, having some of the best lines, such as calling the Justice League the “capes and tights crew”, as well as having some of the best action. The fight sequences are fast and furious, with very little of the, we all need to come together to defeat the big bad guy and more showing up each hero’s individual strength. The film has a great blend of horror elements and comedy, with funny one liners and creepy visuals throughout.
The voice acting was spot on, Matt Ryan as Constantine was crucial to this being a great film as well as Nicholas Turturro’s Boston accent and added humor. The animation as trippy at times and incredibly well drawn, as many of the DC animated have been recently. The action was face paced and enjoyable and the parts that were slower were interesting enough to keep my attention the entire time. Justice League Dark is an incredibly well put together animated film, that will keep me looking for more like it, as the comic book universe expands and becomes more mainstream.