Director: Jay Oliva
Cast: Matt Ryan, Camilla Luddington, Jason O’Mara (VOICES)
Release Date: February 7, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
When innocent civilians begin committing unthinkable crimes across Metropolis, Gotham City and beyond, Batman must call upon mystical counterparts to eradicate this demonic threat to the planet. Enter Justice League Dark, reluctantly led by the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine. Like Batman, Constantine is a cunning, often cynical loner who is the best at his chosen profession – but quickly realizes the sinister forces plaguing the planet will require help from other supernatural alliances. Forming a new “league” with sorceress Zatanna, otherworldly Deadman, and Jason Blood and his powerful alter ego Etrigan the Demon, this team of Dark Arts specialists must unravel the mystery of Earth’s supernatural plague and contend with the rising, powerful villainous forces behind the siege – before it’s too late for all of mankind.
Get ready to explorer the darker side of Justice in the latest Animated DC Universe Original Film ‘Justice League Dark’. When a barrage of unexplainable and brutal crimes are committed across Metropolis and Gotham City by what seem to be ordinary citizens with no criminal tendencies, the Justice League finds itself stumped. Unsure of how to tackle these seemingly otherworldly crimes, Batman hesitantly enlists the help of John Constantine, a wise cracking loner with dark powers that might be precisely what they need in order to counter this strange evil. Now, with the help of Constantine along with some other uniquely talented folks including Zatanna, Deadman, Etrigan the Demon, and even the massively powerful Swamp Thing, they delve into darkness in the hope of uncovering the true force behind this nightmarish evil and stopping them before time runs out.
‘Justice League Dark’ is a refreshing change of pace from many of the recent Animated DC movies over the previous years (not that I don’t enjoy nearly all of them), following ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ as the second R-rated film in the animated universe (and it’s definitely not one for many of the younger kids) and its not afraid to truly explore the darker side of the DC comics world. More important than the adult oriented content that isn’t afraid to explore some bleak areas is the introduction of some unique, powerful and noteworthy characters within the massive DC Comics Universe that are definitely worthy of some attention in the animated film universe, including the wise-cracking (and often chain smoking in other iterations) John Constantine with fan-favorite Matt Ryan who portrayed the character on the recent short lived television series reprising the character’s voice in the movie; while also exploring some other wonderful and often unfortunately underused characters including the caring and wildly powerful Swamp Thing, along with Zatanna and a number more. The fellow DC Comics fans out there definitely won’t want to miss out on ‘Justice League Dark’ and those who also make a point of collecting the various DC Animated Movie releases shouldn’t find themselves disappointed if coughing up the cash for a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release. Anyone else who enjoys any or all of the featured characters within or simply the DC Comics universe in general will also want to make a point of giving this one a watch when you have the opportunity to do so, it’s a dark, thrilling and often quite humorous magic-infused adventure/mystery that is well worth a watch.
Overall, ‘Justice League Dark’ is a unique, smart and occasionally pretty funny look at the darker side of the DC Comics Universe that isn’t hesitant to approach some unsettling content, while offering fans a welcome look at some underused, yet equally interesting and powerful characters that are more than worthy of some attention in the ongoing animated DC Universe. I would definitely recommend ‘Justice League Dark’ to the fellow DC Comics fans out there and to anyone who is particularly fond of any (or all) of the key characters featured in the film. It should be well worth the cost of a rental at the very least for those who are interested in giving it a shot yet are hesitant to drop the funds on a blind purchase, as well as for the casual fans that aren’t interested in collecting the titles.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Justice League Dark’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty fantastic as a whole and offers a sharp, detailed and splendidly colored presentation throughout. The occasional instance of banding can be noticeable throughout, yet hardly occurring in an overwhelming or overly noticeable manner. It holds up impressively even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected o rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a pretty solid high definition video presentation that should have no trouble pleasing the majority of fans.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, clean and consistently aggressive audio presentation that compliments the movie perfectly. Frequently utilizing all five available channels in order to immerse the viewer within the mystical action by sending plenty of spells, debris, batarangs and other action (or magic) related auditory effects whipping throughout the various speakers, while never resulting in any dialogue which might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a wonderful 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes even more fun to the overall viewing experience and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Justice League Dark’ includes some worthwhile extras, many of which should excite fellow DC fans in particular. Included on the release is a look at the next DC Universe Original Movie with ‘A Sneak Peek at Teen Titans: The Judas Contract’ (running approximately 12 minutes in length), in addition to some Featurettes/Interviews that take a deeper look at the characters and the animated movie. The included Featurettes/Interviews are: ‘The Story of Swamp Thing’ (running approximately 18 minutes), a collection of ‘Did You Know?’ segments (approximately 3 minutes altogether), and ‘Justice League Dark at New York Comic Con 2016’ (27 minutes). We are also treated to 2 cartoons ‘From the DC Comics Vault’: ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold – “Dawn of the Dead Man!”’ (23 minutes), and ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold – “Trials of the Demon!”’ (23 minutes), plus a couple extra Sneak Peeks for previously released animated DC movies that have been included on previous releases, they include: ‘A Sneak Peek at Justice League: Doom’ (10 minutes) and ‘A Sneak Peek at Justice League: Gods and Monsters’ (11 minutes).