The latest animated feature film Justice League Dark: Apokolips War from DC/ Warner Bro’s could not have come at a better time. I have literally just finished watching every superhero feature film animated and live-action during this pandemic.
This is supposedly the last entry in the animated shared universe. I say supposedly as with superheroes nothing is ever cast in stone. But in terms of story, it does come to a stunning conclusion. The movie brings together a huge cast from different factions of the DC Universe. Ranging from the Trinity to Titans and even Swamp Thing. However, with Dark in the title of the film, it lacks the key Justice League Dark team. Other than Constantine, only Zatanna and Swamp Thing have a significant (partially) role.
The movie takes an endgame route, especially in the beginning. The story essentially has Darkseid coming for Earth, the heroes lead by Superman to decide a counter strike is the only way to defeat him. Clearly all doesn’t go as planned and a title snapshot later we are thrown into the near future. Most of our beloved heroes have all but been decimated. Batman has defected to the Darkseid along with the once heroic Luther.
The first act of the movie really sets up the feature beautifully. DC does what it does best and create fascinating alternate versions of its most famous characters.
Constantine is placed dead center among the prominent heavy hitters of DC, but he manages to hold his own…even against the Man of Steel.
Beards, Bruisers, and Sharks
With the animation itself, I seem to have mixed feelings. There are portions of the movie where it works and works really well. Then there are the other bits were it feels choppy and lazy. Where it does shine is in Apokolips and somehow really captures both Darkseid and the desolation of the planet. The earth scenes felt a bit empty, and this isn’t just the war-torn cities but the background felt like it needed just a tiny bit more polishing.
Like I said earlier there is a lot of characters and with that, there is obviously a lot of character development needed. There is no doubt that the films try to give as many of its stars their due. But with so many stars it’s hard not to sideline one or two. With that being said there isn’t much one can do with someone like King Shark. Sure he is a fun villain to include and adds a little mayhem to the show but he isn’t much more than a bruiser. Clark, however, isn’t just your average bruiser and he is very much an interesting character here. Beard Bro Kal is proof that Supes isn’t as one dimensional as he is sometimes made out to be.
This movie has a lot happening and never lets up even at the very end. While the foreshadowing is a bit on the nose at times it is still very entertaining. It finds its heart in the most unlikely of its cast. Most of all it makes us wonder what could have been had the live-action taken a different route…