This is a new DC comic book adaptation brought to us by Warner Brothers Animation and DC Entertainment. The story was by Ernie Altbacker and J. M. DeMatteis, direction by Jay Oliva and musical score by Robert J. Kral.
In my opinion, DC has a fantastic track record on their animated movies so I was eagerly waiting for this movie (unlike the big screen releases). I have always been a fan of Constantine and I loved Matt Ryan’s portrayal of him on the short-lived TV series, so when I heard he would be carrying the character into the animation I was delighted as this gave me even more reason to anticipate the release.
These DC animated cartoons are not for young children. It is rated ‘R’ for the animated violence, abuse and some language, though most North American children won’t understand the British cursing that Constantine uses.
This is not the best DC animated movie, but it is far from the worst. The animation is mediocre but the fight scenes were pretty good. The storyline is amusing and the show is entertaining.
The popular characters in Justice League Dark that most would recognize are Batman (Jason O’Mara) and Zatanna (Camilla Luddington) with Constantine being a little less known. You get some great screen time from a few other lesser known characters such as Deadman (Nicholas Turturro), Jason Blood/Etrigan (Ray Chase), Swamp Thing (Roger Cross), and Black Orchid (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) (though she doesn’t match the history of Black Orchid I am familiar with). You also get cameo appearances from Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. On the villain side, names are a little less familiar. You have The Demons Three, Felix Faust (Enrico Colantoni) and Destiny (Alfred Molina) (a variation of Doctor Destiny).
The interesting thing about this storyline is that all of the hero characters traditionally don’t play well with others, but in this storyline they work well as a team. Batman’s involvement in the whole thing seems a little forced and for a while you are wondering why he is even there. Supernatural and magic are normally beyond his area of expertise, but he does carry his own weight when things hit the fan (literally).
There are some great one-liners by Batman.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
The voices worked well for me except the voice of Felix Faust. Enrico Colantoni sounded too weak and whiny for me to take him seriously as a villain.
And the character of Swamp Thing was severely underwritten. The character had no meat to him…he was articulate and under-powered. The only reason he was in the whole movie was for location and transportation. The writers could have easily come up with something else to fill that spot.
Some of the cornier scenes that could have been done better was the excrement monster and the tornado with a face. I’m not even sure why they chose to create an excrement monster, when there were a lot of other ways to go for that fight scene. All I can think is that they wanted the ‘eww gross’ factor.
Overall, I think it was more viewable than the latest DC movie release and it is definitely one that will sit on my shelf as an entertaining piece for lazy weekends.