Wednesday 8 February 2017

Watch Justice League Dark, It's Awesome

So from the title, it should be apparent that two things have happened recently:

  • I've watched the Justice League Dark cartoon
  • I really enjoyed it.

Both of these things could be construed as no great surprise to those who have followed my musings over the years. I've been a vocal supporter of the Constantine TV series, as well as the Hellblazer comic book series published by Vertigo. Hell, there are even many things to like about the Keanu Reeves movie (further thoughts available on request).

There is a tweet somewhere where I specifically suggest a Justice League Dark videogame should be Rocksteady's next project (How awesome would that be?!) I even built a whole Youtube series on the premise of obtaining the John Constantine Heroclix figure from the Justice League Trinity War set! If you haven't seen that, you should! It's fun, and Spoilers (highlight to view): I got my way eventually!

When I heard that there would be an animated movie, I was excited. When I heard that it would feature Matt Ryan (the star of the TV series) reprising his role, I was thrilled! Incidentally, when I learned that there would be a new animated series I was beside myself! The other me was excited too! Now all I need is a new videogame, or another Justice League Dark set in a new DC Heroclix set (I'm always keen to have a good reason to do more videos)!

The Justice League Dark movie sees Batman and the rest of the Justice League faced with a problem they are unable to solve: A wave of hysteria brought about by some sort of magical interference. A combination of their lack of knowledge in this field, and a signal from an unusual source, brings Batman to seek out John Constantine. Realising that he might need some help, Constantine brings in Zatanna and discovers who was behind the strange signal (I have to be kind of vague here just out of fear of giving too much away, although I can say that they're on the box).

But on to the stuff I can comfortably talk about. This movie is bloody great. It evokes the spirit of the early 2000s Justice League cartoon (which I've been enjoying on Amazon Prime recently - other video services are available) while also bringing in a certain amount of darkness to the proceedings. The movie is Justice League Dark in more than just name. Within the prologue, there are murders (subjective, as you'll see) and all sorts of grim business!

One thing that caught my eye right out of the gate was the sharpness of the movie on a visual level. It really is an incredibly beautiful spectacle! The colour palette is a great mix of bright and dingy, depending on where you are in the story (some of the contrasts during the more action-packed scenes are really vibrant as a result, with some of the magic-based battles looking absolutely stunning in motion). The score is strong, although there's a bit of a dubstep vibe in places, and I thought we were past that as a trendy thing. Just goes to show how out of touch I am (maybe).

The story is a strong kind of "whodunnit", with Batman and his new-found allies trying to identify the source of the mysterious events. What's great about this movie, however, is that it doesn't just descend into a Batman love-fest. While Batman has his uses during the course of the story, the movie rightly focuses its attention on the magic-users and the supernatural elements of the story. Despite this, Batman never seems to be out of his depth.

Ultimately, it seems that everyone is, to use a wrestling term, booked to look strong and useful within the team. Even flaws are handled well within the storyline, with the common theme of Constantine being a bit of a crap friend cropping up a few times. It feels like the people writing the story really knew their stuff when it came to the characters and their backstory within the DCU.

So overall, I'll keep this relatively short and sweet. I could bang on for days about how much I like this movie, but in short I will just say that if you enjoy the animated DC stuff you cannot go wrong with this feature. Get on it.

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus is always on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media. Rob is the host of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train" and "The E14 Gamecast", as well as the host of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel. He also appears on the Talk Star Wars podcasts.

Rob Wade on Twitter

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