Justice League Dark (2017)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 9/25/17
Cast: Matt Ryan, Camilla Luddington, Jason O'Mara, Rosario Dawson, Jerry O'Connell, Alfred Molina

The title is a bit of a misnomer, since it's really a John Constantine story that just happens to have Batman in it. A wave of supernatural murders is sweeping the planet, leaving the Justice League without any course of action. Suspecting that magic is involved, Batman (Jason O'Mara) asks Zatanna (Camilla Luddington) to help him locate John Constantine (Matt Ryan), who might be able to provide some clues. Deadman, Etrigan, and Swamp Thing also join the party, effectively creating a "dark" Justice League. The villain turns out to be a power-mad demon who needs an artifact from Constantine's collection in order to become all-powerful, which jeopardizes the fate of the entire planet.

It's an entertaining adventure, but throwing a bunch of anti-hero loners together results in an awkward narrative. Batman is totally out of his element and just tags along to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. His overbearing grumpiness and grunts of disapproval provide most of the laughs. Zatanna is delightful, although her outfit is much more conservative than what she normally wears. It's also interesting to note that she single-handedly takes out both Wonder Woman and Superman, which would seem to put her on the top of the Justice League's threat list. The film really belongs to John Constantine, who's a rough and tough, wise-cracking asshole that no one likes or gets along with (although Zatanna seems to have some buried feelings for him). He has a certain roguish charm and emotional vulnerability, which is good because he carries the majority of the film. As expected from DC, the animation is very good and the voice acting is excellent. It carries an R-rating and is surprisingly violent and gruesome at times. It also features a literal shit monster that crawls out of a hospital toilet and starts killing people. Can't say I've ever seen that before.