REVIEW: Justice League Dark (2017 film)

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I don’t know how DC manages to keep screwing up their animated movies, but man they’re sure becoming good at it.

1) Why would you give your villain the same name as a popular character from a popular series set in the SAME UNIVERSE AS YOUR FILM and not make it the same character? The movie says we’re getting Destiny. Naturally, your first thought is “Ooh, are they gonna bring Destiny of the Endless (from the Sandman) into this? That could be interesting!” And that would’ve worked since it’s established that Constantine and Morpheus had a partnership. But nope. It’s not that Destiny, sorry anybody who was really hoping for an element of the Sandman mythos to make it into a film. It’s a completely forgettable magic villain wizard thing. I dunno. He was barely developed. Wasn’t even mentioned until the movie was 2/3 finished. It would’ve been much more interesting if Destiny had been the Destiny from the Sandman. But nope. They chose another forgettable villain who had no discernible motivations other than evil or destruction or something. He had a cool power that was used effectively at the beginning and at the end, but completely forgotten about throughout the rest of the film. And the character is barely given any kind of introduction, given nothing remotely close to a motive, and falls flat as an uninteresting, forgettable character.

2) The animation in these movies continues to be awful. I don’t know if this style of animation is cheaper or something, but God it’s unappealing. The mixture of 2-D animation with 3-D elements (like the vehicles) just doesn’t work. It sort of looks lazy and messy. It’s distracting. The facial expressions are almost nonexistent. The battle scenes aren’t even done that well. But, for some reason, DC continues to insist on making their movies in this faux-anime style. Except they can’t manage to actually make it look as good as anime looks.

3) What a boring story. It starts off with an interesting premise (normally good people are murdering other people because their brains are perceiving these other people as monsters), but that’s really only played around with for the first 5 minutes and the last 10. The rest of the movie is basically Suicide Squad, but with magic. Nothing is developed into anything that’s terribly interesting. There are all these references to other adventures scattered throughout the movie, and those adventures would’ve been more interesting to witness.

If you’re gonna do a team-up movie where you have to introduce all the characters, you gotta make it longer than 75 minutes. The characters are given nothing to work with. No explanation is given for any preexisting relationships. No development is given to anybody. I mean, they managed to make Batman a boring character in this. How the fuck do you manage to make Batman boring?

4) On the note of character being boring, everyone in the film was so bland. At no point do you ever really care about Jason Blood/Etrigan so when the character’s arc ultimately culminates in what happens at the end, it just falls flat. You’ve been given no reason to care. The character was never interesting. The same thing happens with Constantine, Zatanna, Boston, Swamp Thing, and Batman. All of these characters are amazing characters in the comics, but are bland as hell in this movie.

Doesn’t help that the voice acting was equally bland. Matt Ryan tries as Constantine, but the writing never allows him to be as good as he was on his NBC adaptation. Jason O’Mara continues to sound bored out of his mind as Batman. His delivery is just so uninterested. (Also, the number of times Batman just sassily says “Hmm” in this film is ridiculous). Ray Chase is kind of fun as Jason Blood, but the writing hinders that. Same thing with Nicholas Turturro (Boston), Camilla Luddington (Zatanna), and Roger Cross (Swamp Thing). All of them try their best, but their lines are just so bland that there’s only so much they can do with them.

5) Overall, it’s just a series of bad writing, bad animation, and a boring story. This movie should’ve been much better. It wouldn’t have been hard to make this movie a whole lot better. The problem is that the team currently making these DC Animated movies are allergic to actually making them good.

(1.5 out of 5 wands)

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