I’ll admit I didn’t have high hopes for this one. Even DC’s animated movies haven’t been that decent lately with Return of the Caped Crusaders being the best we’ve had in a while. Plus when I started the film and saw the same bland version of the Justice League that has plagued the last few movies I was prepared for them to once again take attention away from the thing that actually worked about the film.
But I was pleasantly surprised. The Justice League presence was kept to a minimum and there was no sign of that awful Superman/Wonder Woman romance DC was trying to force on us. As a result we got an interesting story focused on DC’s supernatural characters.
Matt Ryan reprises his role as Constantine and once again captures the spirit of the character perfectly. Once he’s introduced he takes the spotlight away from Batman (who really didn’t need to be there) and the film’s quality improves. I also liked that Zatanna got a good amount of attention and turned out to be the strongest member of the team.
True to the film’s title it is dark but unlike most of DC’s live action movies they don’t make everything depressing. The film has a lot of humour (mostly from Constantine and Deadman) and nothing feels overly brutal despite having an R rating in the US.
It’s not great and still nowhere near as good as DC’s older animated films but it is decent and better than I was expecting. I mostly just wish the film had less Batman and more Swamp Thing. Hopefully this will be a good year for DC’s animated movies with The LEGO Batman Movie coming out next month, a Return of the Caped Crusaders sequel and new a Teen Titans film. Their live action movies I have much lower expectations for.