Justice League Dark (film)

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Justice League Dark
Justice League: Dark
Blu-ray Disc cover
Directed by
Produced by James Tucker
Screenplay by Ernie Altbacker
Story by Ernie Altbacker
J. M. DeMatteis
Based on Justice League Dark
by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin
Starring
Music by Robert J. Kral
Edited by Christopher D. Lozinski
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Home Video
Release date
  • January 24, 2017 (2017-01-24) (digital)
  • February 7, 2017 (2017-02-07) (DVD and Blu-ray release)
Running time
75 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Justice League Dark is a 2017 American animated superhero film produced by Warner Bros. Animation and distributed by Warner Home Video. Featuring the DC Comics team of the same name created by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin, the film is the twenty-seventh in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series and a part of DC Animated Movie Universe. It was released on Digital HD on January 24, 2017, and on DVD and Blu-ray on February 7, 2017.[1]

The film is directed by Jay Oliva, and stars the voices of Matt Ryan, Jason O'Mara, Camilla Luddington, Nicholas Turturro, and Ray Chase. It is the first Justice League film and the second DC Universe animated film to be rated R by the MPAA for some disturbing violence.[2] Justice League Dark features an original premise wherein a supernatural force is causing violent crimes across America, and Justice League member Batman consults occult detective John Constantine to form a team of paranormal metahumans.

The film spawned a spin-off animated web series, Constantine: City of Demons, released on The CW's online streaming platform CW Seed on March 24, 2018, with Ryan reprising his role. It was originally made to be a sequel to the live-action series Constantine and a part of the Arrowverse franchise, but writer J. M. DeMatteis stated that the direction of this series was changed.[3]

Plot[edit]

Several months before the actual story begins, exorcist and con man John Constantine and Jason Blood engage the Demons Three in a poker game for high-end stakes; Constantine offers his home, the House of Mystery, as his part of the pool in exchange for a box of artifacts, including a chipped Dreamstone. When both parties are caught cheating, Constantine summons Etrigan — a demon forced to share a body with Jason Blood — to dispatch the demons. Afterwards, Blood reprimands Constantine for making him summon Etrigan, and the two part ways.

In Metropolis, Gotham and Washington, D.C., violent murders are committed by people who think their victims are demonic creatures before they are stopped by members of the Justice League. The League conclude that magic is the source of the crimes, but Batman is skeptical. However, at Wayne Manor, Batman is briefly possessed by Deadman and left with a single word ("Constantine") as a message. Batman finds Zatanna, who had a failed romantic history with Constantine, and Deadman possesses Batman once more to tell Zatanna that she and Batman need to see Constantine. The trio is attacked by a magically controlled tornado as they travel to meet Constantine at the House of Mystery. The group is joined by Black Orchid, the spiritual embodiment of the House, and decide to investigate the cause behind these supernatural occurrences.

The heroes visit Ritchie Simpson, friend of Constantine and Zatanna, where they find shroud spirits of Death waiting to collect Ritchie's soul upon his upcoming demise. Simpson has cancer and is resentful towards Constantine for abandoning him to his fate, but loans them the Keshanti Key. Constantine and Zatanna use the key to view one of the victim's memories and discover he was possessed by an unknown entity. A magical creature is conjured to consume the man, but Batman, Deadman, Constantine and Zatanna narrowly escape and destroy it.

Back at Ritchie's house, the team finds him close to death; Blood is also there to find the Dreamstone. Constantine chases after Blood while Batman gives an adrenaline shot to revitalize Ritchie. Upon being caught by Constantine, Blood explains that centuries ago the sorcerer Destiny possessed the Dreamstone in an attempt to overthrow Great Britain, using it to make people see their worst nightmares and feed off their torment. Blood was mortally injured cleaving the Dreamstone in half. Merlin summoned Etrigan to defeat Destiny and then bound him to Blood because Merlin knew they would be needed in the future. Ritchie briefly wakes to claim Felix Faust as his assailant.

With the help of the plant elemental Swamp Thing (Alec Holland), the group locates Faust's Observatory of the Cosmos. After a battle with the wizard, which Faust loses, the team conclude Faust had no involvement in hurting Ritchie. Ritchie awakens and is revealed to have the other piece of the Dreamstone, which has been keeping his cancer in remission; he apparently destroys Black Orchid. Constantine tries to reason with Ritchie, that the Dreamstone (with Destiny's soul trapped inside) is using him. However, the Dreamstone takes over Ritchie's body and transforms him into Destiny.

Destiny destroys the House and departs to start a frenzy; Zatanna saves the group, but passes out from the exertion. The Justice League tries to fight Destiny, but he causes them to perceive each other as demonic threats, so they attack each other. Etrigan attacks Destiny, but is separated back into Jason Blood and Etrigan. Constantine summons Swamp Thing, who attacks Destiny, while Batman and Zatanna disable the Justice League. Destiny rips Alec Holland's corpse from Swamp Thing, causing him to dissolve into plant matter.

Constantine tricks Destiny into bringing him and Deadman within his protective shield, allowing Deadman to wound Destiny. Blood, Constantine and Batman destroy the Dreamstone (and Destiny's body), and Ritchie's soul is dragged to Hell. Blood succumbs to his mortal wounds, and his body is buried near the place of his old village by Zatanna, Constantine and Etrigan. Zatanna agrees to join the League and offers Constantine a position as well. He declines, claiming Batman would not approve, but Zatanna states it was Batman's idea. The two return to the now-rebuilt House of Mystery, and Deadman joins the restored Black Orchid as her soulmate.

Voice cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Justice League Dark received generally positive reviews from critics. The film holds an 75% based on 8 reviews according to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[10]

Dave Trumbore from Collider wrote, "Justice League Dark is a briskly paced, darkly magic adventure that gives some of DC's most shadowy heroes a chance to shine in a story that folds in mythology and mystery, while never losing sight of what it means to be a hero." Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Craze also praised the film, calling it a "fun celebration of supernatural elements in DC comics."[10]

Renee Schonfeld from Common Sense Media was less enthusiastic about the film, calling it a "intense confusing comics-based tale that has tons of violence."[10]

It earned $2,691,775 from domestic home video sales.[11]

Animated spin-off series[edit]

Constantine: City of Demons, a spin-off animated web series of Justice League Dark was released on The CW's online streaming platform CW Seed on March 24, 2018, with Ryan reprising his role.[12][13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Justice League Dark - "Are You Talking About Magic?"
  2. ^ Schaefer, Sandy (November 15, 2016). "Justice League Dark Animated Movie Trailer: Walk on the Dark Side". Screen Rant.com. 
  3. ^ DeMatteis, J.M. [@JMDeMatteis] (March 28, 2018). "Not a continuation of the series. It IS in the same universe as the JL DARK movie and I guess time will tell if it's in the Arrowverse!" (Tweet). Retrieved April 2, 2018 – via Twitter. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Perry, Spencer (July 26, 2016). "Justice League Dark Featurette Reveals Matt Ryan Returns as Constantine!". Superhero Hype. 
  5. ^ a b Mueller, Matthew (June 7, 2016). "Justice League Dark Revealed To Be Next DC Animated Movie". Comicbook.com. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Damore, Meagan (July 23, 2016). "SDCC: "Justice League Dark" Animated Film Confirmed; "Teen Titans" & More Announced". Comic Book Resources. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Vejvoda, Jim (November 15, 2016). "Justice League Dark: Trailer Debut for R-Rated DC Animated Movie". IGN. 
  8. ^ "Colleen OShaughnessy on Twitter". Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c "Justice League Dark". Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c "Justice League Dark". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 30, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Justice League: Dark (2017) The Numbers Listing". The Numbers. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 
  12. ^ Schwartz, Terri (January 8, 2017). "Constantine Is Back With Matt Ryan as a CW Animated Series". IGN. Archived from the original on January 9, 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2017. 
  13. ^ Anderson, Jenna (March 25, 2018). "How Does 'Constantine: City of Demons' Factor Into the Arrowverse?". Comicbook.com. Retrieved August 3, 2018. 

External links[edit]