Monday, February 27, 2017

ANI-MOVIES, *Justice League Dark

Trying to keep up with Marvel's Cinematic Universe release of Doctor Strange, DC Universe through in their own animated feature of supernatural superheroes, Justice League Dark. Even though the actual comic book series this movie was based on was cancelled nearly two years prior to its release, DC still felt confident enough to have this be part of their "post-Flashpoint" line of titles.

Individuals from all over are suffering from temporary insanity causing them to see everyone around them as demons, the Justice League grows concerned, so Batman tries to make contact with John Constantine, a "Hellblazer" with an expertise with for the paranormal. The professional magician Zatanna happens to be a colleague of Batman's, and she leads him along with Deadman to the House of Mystery where Constantine hangss, which is an old mansion that acts like an interdimensional Tardis. Hosted by Black Orchid who is a living personification of the House, the gathering of heroes decide to work together to solve the mystery of these strange killing. They go to Constantine's old accomplice Ritchie whose suffering from a cursed form of cancer to get a magic coin which allows them to see inside the minds of the demonic victims. After an attack by a rampaging poop monster, the JLD goes back to Ritchie for answers on a magic ring Constantine found in one of the victim's memories, but discover that immortal knight Jason Blood is there as Ritchie starts to succumb to his illness. Jason reveals his origin of becoming bonded to the demon Etrigan by Merlin back in the middle ages in a fight with the warlock Destiny, and hopes to gain the fabled Dreamstone from the House of Mystery to free himself. Ritchie awakens briefly to tell them the ring comes from supervillain sorcerer Felix Faust, so Constantine persuades Swamp Thing to lead them to Faust's lair, where a tussle between the heroes and the Demons Three + Faust, but Zatanna going all Dark Phoenix jams the tide in their favor. Their win is short-lived as they realize Faust had nothing to do with the conspiracy, and that Ritchie was the one behind it all to gain access to the House of Mystery and get the Dreamstone for himself to cure his cancer. However, the whole thing was a plot by the remaining spirit of Destiny(here an ancient version of Dr. Destiny from the comics)to possess Ritchie's body and go on a rampage by causing people from all over to start going totally psycho, including some of the other Justice Leaguers. After removing Etrigan from Jason Blood, and Swamp Thing's human spirit(supposedly killing him!), Deadman knocks Destiny out of Ritchies, while Constantine sends him to Hell, while allowing Ritchie to be carried off by shrouds. Later on, Constantine and Zatanna bury Jason's remains, while contemplating taking up Batman's offer on joining the regular Justice Leauge.

This was an original story based on the JLD comic, leaving out some of the other team regulars like Princess Amethyst, Pandora, and Shade, it manages to briefly debut a few new Leaguers like John Stewart, Hawkman, and Martian Manhunter who mainly just fill up the background in a few scenes. The movie does have some above par voice acting, especially from Matt Ryan reprising his roll as Constantine from the cancelled live-action TV series, although Alfred Molina playing yet another evil DC entity as Destiny was mostly drowned out by voice modifications. It's a deep analysis into the otherworldly events going on in the DC Universe, but is largely intended for hardcore comics fans, mostly of their Vertigo line.

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