|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 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. 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. The Justice League conclude that magic is the source of the crimes, and Batman elects himself to investigate. At his manor, Batman is left a message by Deadman in a single word: "Constantine." Exorcist and con man John Constantine and Jason Blood engage 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 the Dreamstone. When both parties are caught cheating, Constantine summons Etrigan—a demon forced to share a body with Blood—to dispatch the demons. Afterwards, Blood reprimands Constantine for making him summon Etrigan, and the two depart. Batman summons Zatanna, a magician with a failed romantic history with Constantine, and Deadman to consult Constantine at the House of Mystery. They are joined by Black Orchid, the spiritual embodiment of the House. The group gathers to share information and form a team to investigate the cause and reason for these supernatural occurrences.
The heroes visits 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 only to find him close to death, and he is left in a coma. Blood is found at the house looking to find the Dreamstone. He elaborates that centuries ago, the sorcerer Destiny possessed the Dreamstone and attempted to overthrow Great Britain. Blood 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. Ritchie briefly wakes to claim Felix Faust was his assailant.
The group locate Faust's observatory with help from Swamp Thing, formerly the scientist Alec Holland. When they infiltrate Faust's lair, 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 it to keep his cancer in remission; he apparently destroys Black Orchid. And when the team arrive too late, Constantine tries to reason with Ritchie that the soul of Destiny that was 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. Etrigan attacks Destiny, but is separated back into Jason Blood and Etrigan. Constantine summons Swamp Thing and tricks him to fight Destiny while Batman and the recovered Zatanna disable the Justice League. However, Destiny defeats Swamp Thing by ripping Alec Holland's remains from his body.
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, leaving Ritchie, whose soul is dragged to Hell by the shroud spirits. Ritchie begs Constantine to help him, but he regretfully refuses. Right afterwards, 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 wouldn't 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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