DC took a few critical licks last year with the poor reception of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. As fun as both often were, many critics — and fans — felt that the movies were lacking in essential elements that make DC comics such a fun and engaging experience. While 2017 does seem to be looking up for the DCEU’s cinematic universe, many fans have kept themselves satisfied with the slate of DC animated films. It’s no wonder, really. For years, the animated arm of DC offered the best and most enjoyable adaptations of their comic book stories and, thankfully, that has continued into today.
Last year saw the highly anticipated release of The Killing Joke, one of the most famous Batman stories of all time, with great success. Hot on its heels, however, is Justice League Dark. Available now on digital platforms, the film unites a few lesser known, but still popular, DC characters like John Constantine, Zatanna, and Jason Blood to face off against a supernatural force outside of the purview of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League. It’s a big leap for DC, which normally sticks to the characters most fans know and love, but it could prove successful for them - especially if a newly released clip says anything about the overall quality of the movie.
Warner Brothers released the opening scene from Justice League Dark in conjunction with PlayStation, giving us a tiny glimpse inside the danger facing the new team. Spanning six minutes, the clip takes us all across the DC universe as the Justice League is confronted with a danger they’re unprepared for. At no point do we meet the Dark team, but it’s an intriguing opening that leaves viewers hungry for more. The clip is largely an extension of one released earlier this month that shows Batman scoffing at the idea of supernatural magic. In this extended clip, some context is given and we see just what kind of horrors are facing the world that necessitate the formation of the Dark team.
The new film comes right as DC and Warner Brothers are gearing up for a live action Justice League Dark movie, set to be directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow). In a sense, this animated feature serves as a bit of an appetizer for fans, and a test for producers. Audience reaction to the animated film can serve as a guideline judging both audience interest and a test of what works.
It also may introduce more casual fans to some of the characters and elements of Justice League Dark, whetting appetites for the live action film even further. Of course, animated films are a completely different beast from live action, and it remains to be seen whether or not they can properly translate this corner of the DC universe into the DCEU.
Still, taken on its own, there seems to be a lot to look forward to from this Justice League Dark, and the opening scene does set the tone well for whatever might be coming. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the fact that Matt Ryan (Away) is reprising his role as John Constantine from the sadly cancelled Constantine, which ran on NBC for one season in 2014-2015. His presence lends a bit of credibility to the film and bodes well for fans.
Justice League Dark is now available on streaming and digital platforms and hits home video on February 7.