I want to give all the parents out there a big warning before I get into this review: DO NOT show Justice League Dark: Apokolips War to your kids unsupervised. This isn’t an animated film for kids. It’s a (hard) R-rated film, filled with blood and guts (and the occasional exposed spine), swearing including an F-bomb drop, sexual innuendos, alcohol abuse, and dark adult themes and situations. I repeat: This animated film is rated R, and is not intended for your children!
Superman (Jerry O’Connell), Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson), and Batman (Jason O’Mara) get intel that Apokolips – the hellish planet run by Darkseid (Tony Todd) – is on its way to Earth. The Justice League is torn as some members are behind Superman in his claims they must strike first and destroy Darkseid for the good of our world, while others believe we should hang back until Darkseid makes a play for Earth and then be on the defense.
In the end, the Man of Steel wins the argument and everyone – including Lex Luthor (Rainn Wilson) – suits up to go to war. Unbeknownst to them, Darkseid has commandeered the Motherbox inside Cyborg (Shemar Moore) and knows all about their plan. He’s ready for them and uses his new secret weapon, Paradooms – part parademon, part Doomsday clone – to defeat the Justice League once and for all… killing most, subjugating and crippling others.
After some time has passed, Raven (Taissa Farmiga) and a powerless Superman come seeking the aid of John Constantine (Matt Ryan, who also plays the character on CW’s Legends of Tomorrow). They believe they have a new plan to stop Darkseid once and for all… a plan that involves teaming with the villains of the Suicide Squad and relies on the word of an unknown mole just waiting to double-cross Darkseid and his new right-hand slave Batman.
Despite being against this plan, feeling he has nothing left to lose and probably not much to gain, Constantine and Etrigan (Ray Chase) agree to come along and add their magical might to the fight. It’s war! Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is freaking fantastic! This R-rated animation (again, not for kids) is filled with tons of characters… which it has no problems killing. Nobody is safe in war, and that’s certainly the case here.
The voice acting is amazing. The animation is stellar. The battles in this war are as amazing to watch as they are grotesquely violent and gratuitous! There’s so many team-ups and new versions of characters that, frankly, I’d love to get action figures and Funko Pops of! The only critique I have is with how it all ends, but I also understand they are ready to move on from the New 52 movies just as the comics have moved into a new era.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is one of the best (if not the best) movie to come out of the DC Animated Universe thus far, and considering how good many of them have been recently that’s saying something. With so much happening onscreen, though, it’s bound to be a controversial watch – as not everyone makes it out alive. To say anything more would be to spoil both the surprises and the well-crafted drama that’s been crafted here, so please make some time to check it out for yourselves. Only don’t let the kiddos watch, at least not alone.