|Justice League Dark|
Blu-ray Disc cover
|Screenplay by||Ernie Altbacker|
|Story by||Ernie Altbacker
J. M. DeMatteis
|Based on||Justice League Dark
by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin
|Music by||Robert J. Kral|
|Edited by||Christopher D. Lozinski|
|Distributed by||Warner Home Video|
Justice League Dark is a 2017 American animated supernatural dark fantasy superhero film produced by Warner Bros. Animation and distributed by Warner Home Video. Featuring the DC Comics team of the same name created by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin, the film is the twenty-seventh in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. It was released on Digital HD on January 24, 2017, and on DVD on February 7, 2017.
The film is directed by Jay Oliva, and stars the voices of Matt Ryan, Jason O'Mara, Camilla Luddington, Nicholas Turturro, and Ray Chase. It is the first Justice League film and the second DC Universe animated film to be rated R by the MPAA for some disturbing violence. Justice League Dark features an original premise wherein a supernatural force is causing violent crimes across America, and Justice League member Batman consults exorcist John Constantine to form a team of magic-based metahumans.
All over Metropolis, Gotham and Washington, D.C., violent murders are committed by people who think their victims are demonic creatures before they are stopped by members of the Justice League. The heroes conclude that magic is the source of the crimes, but Batman is skeptical of this. At his manor however, Batman is briefly possessed by Deadman and left with a message in a single word: "Constantine."
Five days earlier, exorcist and con man John Constantine and Jason Blood engaged the Demons Three in a poker game in Las Vegas for high-end stakes; the former even offering his home, the House of Mystery, as his part of the pool in exchange for a box of artifacts, including a chipped Dreamstone. When both parties were caught cheating, Constantine summoned Etrigan — a demon forced to share a body with Jason Blood — to dispatch the demons. Afterwards, Blood reprimanded Constantine for making him summon Etrigan, worried at what he might do, and the two parted ways.
Batman goes to see Zatanna, who had a failed romantic history with Constantine, and Deadman possesses Batman once more and tell Zatanna that she and Batman need to see John. On the way, the trio is attacked by a magically controlled tornado, and barely get to the House of Mystery, where Constantine is waiting for them. They are joined by Black Orchid, the spiritual embodiment of the House who wanted to experience humanity and gave itself a body. After much arguing, the group decides to investigate the cause and reason for these supernatural occurrences.
The heroes visit a friend of Constantine and Zatanna's named Ritchie Simpson, but outside the house they find shroud spirits of Death waiting to collect Ritchie's soul upon his upcoming demise. Simpson is suffering from a form of cancer and is resentful towards Constantine for abandoning him to his fate, but loans them the Keshanti Key. Constantine and Zatanna look through one of the unwitting rampager's memories for the cause of his frenzy, and discover that he was possessed by an unknown entity wearing a strange ring. Batman, Deadman, Constantine, and Zatanna narrowly manage to escape from a beast made of human waste conjured to consume the man, but Zatanna manages to destroy the monster.
The team returns to Ritchie's house only to find him close to death, with the Shrouds lingering around him. Blood is found at the house, looking to find the Dreamstone, and escapes, forcing Constantine to chase him while Batman uses an adrenalin shot to revitalize Ritchie. Upon being caught by Constantine, Blood elaborates that centuries ago the sorcerer Destiny possessed the Dreamstone and attempted to overthrow Great Britain. He used it to make people see their worst nightmares and fed off of their torment to grow stronger. Blood was a young knight who was mortally injured in his effort to cleave the Dreamstone in two and banish the sorcerer, and was bound to Etrigan by Merlin to gain immortality. He explains that Etrigan was summoned by Merlin to defeat Destiny, and then bound to Blood because Merlin knew they would be needed in future. Ritchie briefly wakes to claim Felix Faust was his assailant.
The group locate Faust's observatory with help from the plant elemental Swamp Thing, formerly the scientist Alec Holland, who is now transformed into the guardian of the plant world, which he calls the Green. When they infiltrate Faust's lair, The Observatory Of The Cosmos, the wizard battles the team, but is ultimately defeated by Zatanna. However, Faust is found to have no involvement in hurting Ritchie. Ritchie awakens and is revealed to have the other piece of the Dreamstone, which he has been using to keep his cancer in remission. He apparently destroys Black Orchid, and when the team arrives, Constantine tries to reason with Ritchie that the soul of Destiny that is trapped within the Dreamstone is using him. However, it is too late, as the Dreamstone takes over Ritchie's body and transforms him into a newly resurrected Destiny. Destiny destroys the House and departs to sink the United States into frenzy; Zatanna saves the group, but passes out from the exertion. The Justice League tries to fight Destiny, but he makes them perceive each other as demonic threats, causing them to attack each other. Etrigan attacks Destiny, but is separated back into Jason Blood and Etrigan. Constantine summons Swamp Thing, who believing Destiny to be a threat to the Green, attacks him, while Batman and the recovered Zatanna disable the Justice League. However, Destiny rips Alec Holland's corpse from Swamp Thing's body, causing Swamp Thing to dissolve into a mass of harmless plant matter.
Constantine tricks Destiny into bringing him and Deadman within his protective shield, allowing Deadman to wound Destiny, before Constantine, Batman, and Blood destroy the Dreamstone and Destiny's body, allowing Ritchie's soul is dragged to Hell by the shroud spirits. Blood succumbs to his mortal wound from centuries before. Zatanna, Constantine, and Etrigan bury Blood's body near the place of his old village, before Etrigan leaves for parts unknown. Zatanna agrees to join the Justice League, and offers Constantine a position as well. Constantine initially declines, claiming Batman would not approve of him, but Zatanna claims it was Batman's idea. The two return to the now-rebuilt House of Mystery, taking a first tentative step to restoring their fractured relationship, and Deadman likewise joins the restored Black Orchid as her soulmate.
Justice League Dark received generally positive reviews from critics. The film holds an 71% based on 7 reviews according to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Dave Trumbore from Collider.com wrote, "Justice League Dark is a briskly paced, darkly magic adventure that gives some of DC's most shadowy heroes a chance to shine in a story that folds in mythology and mystery, while never losing sight of what it means to be a hero." Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Craze also praised the film, calling it a "fun celebration of supernatural elements in DC comics."
It earned $2,691,775 from domestic home video sales.
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