Fast Five Review: Justice League Dark (2017)

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JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
2017 | M | Animated, Action, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jennifer

Beings with supernatural powers join together to fight against supernatural villains. This team of supernatural beings include John Constantine, Zatanna and Jason Blood also known as the demon Etrigan.

1) Did you like it?

It was OK. I’m not hanging out for a sequel, but if one comes out, I’ll most likely watch it.

2) Why?

Let me get this out of the way: I’m here for John Constantine. I’m a huge fan of the Hellblazer comics, and was intrigued when I found out Constantine is featured in the Justice League Dark comics. These were released as part of DC Comics’ New 52 revamp, which integrated the DC superhero universe with imprints Vertigo (publisher of darker, horror and fantasy titles such as Hellblazer, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and V for Vendetta) and WildStorm (former home of one of my personal favourites, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). Justice League Dark brings together original Justice League of America characters such as Wonder Woman and Batman, with a team of supernatural characters including Constantine and Zatanna. Having recently read and enjoyed book 1 of the comic, I was keen to see how it translated to TV.

The movie is quite different to the comic, which I suspect has a lot to do with keeping a teen-friendly M rating. It’s action-packed, and features a storyline with all the right ingredients – demons, mystery and magical enemies that the superheroes aren’t equipped to handle. And Constantine is voiced by Matt Ryan, who also played him in an axed live-action series, and has a definite affinity for the character (not to mention an authentic-sounding Northern English accent). But for me, it didn’t ring 100% true. On the one hand, I don’t think there’s quite enough exposition to make the plot and characters completely understandable for a non-fan. On the other, it’s just not quite as visceral and… well… dark as I’ve come to expect from a Vertigo title.

There is a lot in here for the fans though – the kind of in-jokes and easter eggs we’ve come to expect from comic book films. As an Alan Moore aficionado, I enjoyed seeing Swamp Thing turn up, however briefly. And the interplay between Constantine and Batman is fun and interesting – they’re both flawed, brooding characters whose tough-guy exteriors overcompensate for their traumatic pasts.

3) “You would enjoy this movie if…”

Like me, you’re a fan of the characters from their previous iterations, or are curious to see the dynamics of the new, integrated DC Universe.

4) “This movie made me think about… “

The comic it’s based on only started in 2011, so it would have been nice to have a bit more consistency between the comics and the movie. There are some fascinating characters who just don’t turn up on screen. They’re replaced by Etrigan the Demon, who’s pretty much depicted as a huge brute without much personality.

5) Overall rating?

3-stars

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