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Batman & his Creepy Friends

While DC movies continue to leave a bad taste in the mouths of many fans, DC still  manages to churn out Animated movies that hit all the right spots. The most recent being Justice League Dark, the first animated feature to feature DC’s ghost busting team… and Batman. So did this dip into the occult work in DC’s favor? Lets take a look!

Alright, so who IS this Justice League Dark exactly? Well, they are the Supernatural branch of the Justice League universe, they are the Scooby-Doo gang, the BPRD, the Buffy the Vampire Slayers, the (new) Howling Commandos, the Monster Squad, so on and so forth. They are the magic wielders, the monsters, the weirdos.
The actual roster of the “team” has had a variety of members since kicking off in September of 2011. While the movie does feature the more popular/core members it would have been really nice to see Raven and maybe Frankenstein join in on the fun!

Not that I’m complaining, I quite like the team they assembled for these 75minutes of fame.
So who does make the cut?
We get the quick-witted John Constantine, the backwards-speaking Zatanna, the body-jumping Deadman, the rhyming demon Etrigan, and the monstrous Swamp-Thing.

Oh and Batman -_-

I don’t get why Batman is even IN this movie.
He’s the most anti-magic character in the DC Universe and here he is hanging out with the kids from Hogwarts. But hey, Batman sells right? That’s what the people want right? Well that’s a load of bollocks! The movie was fun overall but it would have been much better if Batman stayed in his cave! But that’s just my opinion, if you agree please let me know… Moving on…

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.

Ugh. Why don’t they just call it Batman and his creepy friends?
Seriously I can’t get over how dependent DC is on The Batman.
You would think they would want to build up other characters for future movies and junk, especially considering the movie was rated R for “disturbing violence”! Its not really FOR kids anyways! But there he is front and center…

Okay, so the movie opens up with normal peoples going crazy and seeing demons everywhere, seeing their friends, and family as creepy af demons, so of course they try to kill them. Yes its dark. Good.
Its not as dark as it could have been if they really wanted to push things but its dark enough considering its a DC animated movie.

The Justice League is full of brains and brawns but fall short when it comes to the mystical world of the supernatural, fortunately for them they have The Batman! Not really. The moment they conclude the threat is magical in nature Batman chimes in on how magic is for dorks and not real… so of course the story continues focusing on him.
While Bruce Wayne is at home shaving his already shaved face (Batman is super hardcore like that) he sees the name Constantine scribbled all over his mirror and his walls… which leads him down the rabbit hole in search of the Sorcerer Supreme that is John Constantine (not his actual title, we all know that belongs to Dr.Strange!)

Road Trip!!

Overall the movie was enjoyable, the collecting of team members along the way flows naturally and we get some insight into each character as we go which is nice. Everyone seems to dislike Constantine (not unlike the Keanu Reeves movie) but they pull it together for the sake of the mission. Its a nice introduction into these characters that many are probably unfamiliar with. Well thats not entirely true, I think Deadman and Etrigan both had cameos in Batman Brave and the Bold?

The character design/style of the animation is nothing new, its basically the same as many of the previous DC animated films, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it would have greatly benefited from a change of tone. Maybe something ohhh I don’t know, Darker?
The magical visuals are pretty nice though, very Dr.Strange-like! But I guess that’s just magic overall… magical glowing arcane circles and whatnot…

I really hate to keep bringing it up but I just can’t get over how out of place Batman is in all of this.
Sure he has a Bat motif thing going on but is that really enough to join the spooky kids club?
If you aren’t a fan or familiar with any of the individual JLD members and are a big Batman fan you will probably have a good time and use this movie as canon when arguing with friends over why Batman is the greatest. Otherwise you will probably share in my struggle to pretend Batman isn’t there, which is kinda what the rest of the team does anyways…

It was very nice to see DC dig into their rich collection of characters, entertaining storyline, nice animation, great voices, really its pretty close to being among my favorites. Close but no cigar.

Would have liked to see more of Etrigan and maybe a little bit less of his buddy Jason Blood.

I am unsure of how I feel about the way Swamp Thing was handled. Mind you I know very little of the character outside of the cartoon from the 90s and the cameo he makes in the Animal-Man books. Just thought he was TOO powerful and large? Also his voice just didn’t work for me but I’m just nitpicking.

“Are all you green blokes insanely huge and muscular?”

Batman aside I quite enjoyed this addition to the DC Animated Universe! Nothing groundbreaking or anything, its your typical demon mystery solving team story but with superpowers. I give DC an A for effort but they really need to have more faith in their characters and give them a chance to succeed on their own without the training Bat-wheels!
Hopefully it does well enough for DC to give the team another GO at the spotlight!.. and don’t get me started on the Constantine live-action show!

Giving it an unfair 3.5/5 Franks. Damn Batman ruining everything…

 

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