Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Review of Justice League Dark (2017)

Written by J.M. DeMatteis & Ernie Altbacker
Directed by Jay Oliva

Constantine (to Destiny): "Is that a sword in your chest, or are you just glad to see me?"

And he's back! Following a short lived TV series on NBC, an appearance in a fourth season episode of Arrow and a possible big screen appearance if the DCEU go ahead with their plans for Dark Universe (albeit I assume with a different actor), John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is back and make no mistake, this is very much his movie, though other characters are not short changed here.

It seems that there's been some mystical goings on that even the Justice League themselves cannot seem to solve and so it forces Batman (Jason O'Mara) to look for a magical solution. First he catches up with Zatanna (Camilla Luddington) before Deadman (Nicholas Turturro) hijacks Batman's body to bring a message from Constantine himself.

Having Batman in the middle of mostly a magical group of misfits does work pretty well, especially as he proves that he doesn't need magic to still pose a threat to the series of baddies on offer here. The first one being the rather sexist Felix Faust (Enrico Colantoni) who puts the gang through something of a ringer until Zatanna gets the better of him.

Of course, it's soon revealed that Faust is actually the false baddie of the movie as a desperate and easily swayed Ritchie (Jeremy Davies) whose actions end up summoning the rather deadly Destiny (Alfred Molina) into the mix and as a threat, Destiny is certainly a brilliant choice to play around with here.

The final quarter of the movie once Destiny is revealed and the city becomes a playground for chaos certainly sees the gang stepping up to save the day. In the end, it's the wily double act of both Constantine and Deadman that see Destiny taken out before the final blow is struck by Jason Blood/Etrigan the Demon (Ray Chase) as the character makes something of a heroic sacrifice and gets closure to his centuries long curse.

This movie certainly has a lot of fun with it's characters. The villains in both Faust and Destiny are wonderfully utilised and there's something rather tragic as Ritchie's actions come back to haunt him in the worst way possible. By the end of this movie, Constantine definitely has another soul on his conscience there.

As for Constantine, I definitely felt the movie played to Matt Ryan's strengths pretty well. He was still the wise cracking, deceptive magical con man we know and love and the back and forth he had with every character was brilliant. I especially loved his rapport with Zatanna, Batman, Jason and Swamp Thing, even if the latter only barely featured. I'm hoping another movie with this crew does flesh out some more of the remaining members, including Black Orchid.

- I'm not sure the movie needed the appearances from Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman and the John Stewart Green Lantern as none of them really did anything to be honest. I also loved the flashbacks for both Jason and Deadman in this movie for their backstories.
- Batman offered both Zatanna and Constantine a place in the Justice League. Zatanna seemed to be considering it but I'm not sure Constantine will though.
- Constantine will be coming back in animated form for the CW later in the year.
- No smoking for John but he was definitely more powerful than he was in the NBC series he led back in 2014-2015.

Justice League Dark is another strong movie in the DC animated universe. I am hoping though if there's a sequel or continuation, we either focus on the JLD by themselves or merge the group with the big League itself. Other than that, this is a must see movie.

Rating: 8 out of 10

No comments: