Movie Review: Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

Details: More information can be found at https://www.dccomics.com/movies/justice-league-dark-apokolips-war and https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11079148/

Score: 7/10

The only thing I can say about this movie without any spoilers is that it is rated R. Be aware, heavy spoilers ahead.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is meant to be an end to the current generation of animated movies which started with Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox back in 2013. Since that movie, they released a series of animated movies that all take place in the same universe.

As this is the ending, that mainly means one thing: gruesome deaths for the majority of DC heroes. That’s where the R rating comes in. Throughout this movie, almost every hero introduced throughout this generation of movies is either horribly mangled or gruesomely killed. That means being torn to pieces with arms, legs, and internal organs flying all over the place. That means horrifying screams from some of your favorite heroes. This final movie is basically what happens when you don’t have to worry about the next movie in a series of movies. You can just kill all your characters off.

Which is fine, except I’ve read and watched my fair share of “otherworld” or post apocalyptic stories like Marvel Zombies or DCeased. This isn’t new ground for long time comic book fans. And like those stories, tropes develop. The biggest trope of course, is the use of time travel to revert everything back to a different state and invalidate everything that happened. That trope is present here and in my opinion, mostly makes the events of this movie meaningless. The Flash goes back in time and every comes back to life again.

With that said, I still had fun with this movie even though I knew that they’d just abandon all the narrative they established here. I just thought of it as another “what if?” story. The heroes go through some messed up stuff, but in interesting ways that reflect their characters. Batman gets brainwashed into Darkseid’s slave and becomes the tactical brain behind Earth’s invasion. Wonder Woman, despite being turned into a robot and having her body parts removed, remains Wonder Woman and is unshaken no matter what horrible things happen to her. Superman also, remains hopeful and… super.

One of the biggest problem I have with this movie is a problem that I’ve had with all the DC animated movies, which is that the animation is kind of blocky. The best animation in this generation of movies were the fight scenes in Batman vs. Robin. As someone who watches a lot of anime among other animated movies, the characters just aren’t drawn very expressively.

The other big problem is that none of the deaths are given that much fanfare. There’s no appropriate build up or emotion. Watching most of the heroes get brutally murdered just felt like checking off items on a list. It just kind of randomly happened. You didn’t get a chance to get to know most of these characters and many of them died off screen. Or I should say, the prior DC animated movies were so long ago and so forgettable that I don’t remember too much about any of these characters.

Overall, this movie had problems, but I still enjoyed it. It’s no where near as good as the top tier of anime or the old animated series like Batman: The Animated Series or Justice League Unlimited. Even still, I enjoyed this movie for what it was, which was an elseworld’s story that sought to reboot the current continuity for the DC animated universe.

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