Justice League Dark (2017)

justice league dark batman constantine deadman zatanna swamp thing etrigan
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Animation: 8/10

Fun characters, strong animation

Not very non-reader friendly

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Justice League Dark

Studio:   Warner Bros. Animation

Genre(s):  Animated/Comic Book/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  January 24, 2017 (Digital)/February 7, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

justice league dark john constantine destiny

Looks like Constantine has a date with Destiny!

Something is happening all over the world.  Normal people are seeing monsters and fighting back…except the monsters aren’t there.  The Justice League realizes that the attack might be magical in nature, and Deadman encourages Batman to seek out John Constantine.  Constantine has some suspicions and discovers that the Dreamstone of Destiny could be behind the visions…with a team composed of Batman, Zatanna, Deadman, and Jason Blood and his alter-ego Etrigan the Demon, Constantine must stop whatever is occurring before the visions become real.

Directed by Jay Oliva, Justice League Dark is part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies collection and follows Batman:  The Killing Joke from 2016.  It is based on the New 52 comic book series that was launched in 2011 and received mixed reviews.

Justice League Dark was one of the series of the New 52 that really interested me because of the team and the characters involved.  With the boom of comic-to-screen properties, it makes sense for DC to try to branch out a bit from the traditional capes and tights of Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman, and Justice League Dark is a good way to straddle both worlds.

justice league dark etrigan demon

Should not have gotten the ghost peppers

The film is rather comic book based.  It is dense and a knowledge of most of the characters will help the plot along.  If you don’t know many of the characters besides Batman, Constantine, and Swamp Thing (since they all have had their own series at points), it could be difficult to follow since it does jump around and doesn’t spend a ton of time explaining people or their abilities.

I liked the basic plotline, but it felt more like a John Constantine story that just happened to have other people show up in it.  The Zatanna-Constantine storyline hung heavy and the Constantine-Ritchie story fills out the other side.  Everyone else on the team just feels like they are along for the ride and could have been worked into the plot a bit better (the Demon fits ok since he’s tied to Destiny)…Batman is just there to be grumpy toward Constantine.

justice league dark zatanna swamp thing

Alas poor Swamp Thing…you’re kind of just thrown in

Visually the animation is strong.  I always feel DC puts a lot of effort into their animated movies and it generally pays off in the framing and art.  While I have actually enjoyed most of DC’s big screen ventures, I sometimes wish they would look at their animated features and TV series and put the same effort into them.

Justice League Dark definitely could be revisited in another animated movie.  There are plans for a big screen version of Justice League Dark, but I’d be ok with another trip down the animated route to help develop the characters.  In a way it is a shame that the movie is skewed toward adult audiences because I could even see a regular animated TV series based on these characters.  We’ll have to see if the Justice League will “go dark” again.  Justice League Dark was followed by Teen Titans:  The Judas Contract in 2017 as well.

Preceded By:

Batman:  The Killing Joke (2016)

Followed By:

Justice League Dark (2017)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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