Sunday, February 12, 2017

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK directed by Jay Oliva

© by Gerald So | 11:00 a.m.

In a Warner Bros. Animation adaptation of the DC Comics title, random people around the world go on killing sprees and later claim their victims appeared to be demons. When stalwarts like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern prove ineffective against the threat, Batman calls on allies with occult expertise.

I skipped two recent DC animated movies, Batman: The Killing Joke and Justice vs. Teen Titans, but I remain a fan of the direct-to-video line overall. Justice League Dark particularly grabbed me as a fan of British cynic and working-class magician John Constantine.

As on his short-lived NBC show and guest appearance on The CW's Arrow, Constantine is portrayed here by Welsh actor Matt Ryan, which apparently led to an upcoming Constantine animated series on CW Seed. The highlight of the movie for me is Constantine's back-and-forth with fellow magician and ex-lover Zatanna Zatara (Camilla Luddington, playing an American accent).

I find all the featured JLD characters appealing (Deadman, Jason Blood/Etrigan, Swamp Thing), but being familiar with them, I feel the movie could have spent less time depicting their backstories and instead packed in more present-day action. That said, the twist is quite clever.

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