Friday, June 16, 2017

Superhero Media: Justice League Dark

I had no idea until I started watching this that it was part of the "New 52" JLA series of animated films, so if that's going to put you off (it probably would have me), then consider yourself forewarned. When ordinary people begin to see demons all around them and go on killing sprees, the Justice League are stumped and decide to call in an expert in magic. Batman doesn't believe in magic and refuses to help. There is a problem with this film, and his name is Batman. Even in the New 52 continuity, Batman fights regularly alongside Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman and trained with Zatara and in Nanda Parbat; Batman simply must have encountered magic at some point in this universe, but because he needs to seem to "bad-ass" all the time, he suddenly is unaware of all the magic users in the DCU. Only he's not, he knows about Zatana, Deadman and Constantine, but just thinks they're, what? I don't know what's meant to be going on with this weird character choice. 

Speaking of odd choices, I first encountered John Constantine through the classic Vertigo Hellblazer comics, in which he regularly has to correct Seppos (the only thing that rimes with Yank is Septic Tank) as to how to pronounce his name. Constantine, as in "fine". For some reason, no one that rights or directs the adaptations seems to know this, I'm thinking because they haven't read any Hellblazer. Also Swamp Thing shows up and Etrigan is a major character, so you'd think I'd enjoy this, but the writing and the lack of necessity for the presence of Batman really drags it down. The fight scenes are a cut above the usual DCAU fare, but that may be down to having the magical powers of Constantine, Zatana, Felix Faust and Etrigan to use in the showpiece battles. 

Whilst Justice League Dark is certainly one of the better entries in the DCAU New 52 catalogue and let's not get onto the last decade of DC live-action films (yes, I've seen Wonder Woman, we'll cover that awesomeness down the track). Given that I didn't pay for it, I'm pretty happy, but probably won't add it to my physical collection anytime soon. I do need an Etrigan though.

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