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Cake's Takes on Justice League Dark Apokolips War (Movie Review, 2020)

Caila went to Meremac-STL for journalism and has been writing for most of her life.

Apokolips War

The theatrical and DVD release poster for the film.

The theatrical and DVD release poster for the film.

What The Films Should Have Been...

DC Animated Movie Universe is large and has many different universes due to many resets of the timelines. We get to see various versions of the characters we know and love and that is exciting to see iterations of a superhero whose personalities may be changed. Justice League Dark movies are like that I've noticed. They change the timeline a bit and add characters to the storylines that make it feel more expansive and more like a universe than just a small team of super friends. I remember watching this film for the first time and not even writing notes because I was so glued to the screen. Upon watching it a second time to take my notes this time, I couldn't help but feel like "THIS is what the Justice League live action DCEU movies should have been!" It was just so damn good!

Justice League

The team prepares for war

The team prepares for war

Heroes and Villains

The movie begins with a big action plan to go attack Darkseid on his homefront but the plan goes awry, as Darkseid is watching the super team's every move through Cyborg's robotic eye. Upon attacking the planet Apokolips, you can only imagine how wrong it goes, and who lives and who dies. Similar to Avengers Endgame, the movie takes place 5 years later after and the teams take an offensive approach for vengeance.

John Constantine is approached by a Kryptonite afflicted Superman with no powers and a weakened Raven for help to attack Apokolips and Darkseid again for the Earth and their friends who are now enslaved to the tyrant. Constantine is a very good and relatable character in this movie. During the last battle, he was compelled to run while his love Zartanna was killed by Parademons on Apokolips and does not know, and has been a grief stricken drunk ever since. He is charming, funny and cool. He even has a sidekick/friend that I have never heard of named Etrigan the Slayer, who is also one of my favorite parts of this movie!

Again, there are a plethora of DC characters in this film, but what I think is most interesting about the story is that they take the time to focus more on the side characters and their stories and pain, as oppose to the main superheroes and villains that we always see all the time. Superman has never been one of my favorite characters in the DCEU, the DC Comics, or the DCAMU. This film made me like him even less for multiple reasons. Him leading many heroes and villains to their deaths in this film, needlessly, is one of the main problems, especially when everyone expressed concerns in the first place against it.

Raven and Robin (Damian Wayne) are the same characters that we saw in our last review on Justice League vs Teen Titans and I can appreciate that continuity, because I did like both of their updated versions of those characters. Damien is especially savage and funnily serious in this movie. Even the Suicide Squad members get a prominent role in the plan for a counterattack and a couple of their stories are told. The sad point is reiterated that this war was a bad idea in the first place and that everyone has lost someone/something. Harley Quinn has lost her love, The Joker, and a bit of her purpose, as she expresses how the "new Batman" isn't any fun. This, to me, showed their relationship in a sense of heroes needing villains in order to be themselves, and it being vice versa for the villains to also have a purpose.

Unlikely Pairings

Suicide Squad members have to befriend the Justice League and Teen Titans for the fight.

Suicide Squad members have to befriend the Justice League and Teen Titans for the fight.

How to Go Back...

This is the most brutal version of the Justice League, Teen Titans, or any DC property, that I have ever seen before, hence the name Justice League Dark. It is very graphic, violent, and dark. With that, they do kill off so many characters in the movie that it does end up seeming like the first Suicide Squad movie. It's almost hard to watch sometimes seeing all these heroes get hurt or killed. While the violence is abundant, there are some heartwarming moments in the film toward the end, some between Bruce and Damian Wayne, Raven and Damian, Constantine and Zartanna, and even Raven and her father, Trigon.

By the end, Trigon and Darkseid are coaxed into fighting and THAT is a match I wish I could see the rest of. Darkseid was actually afraid of Trigon and I really would have liked to know who is stronger and more cunning to come out on top of the fight. The twist of the movie really shows how smart and good at deduction, reasoning, and probability Batman is to have thought of a backup plan, know it in and out, and how it had to involve Constantine being alive at the end of it in order to work. They make Batman clever without even trying too hard and only the real ones will know how great his mind truly is.

Raven and Constantine release Trigon again and let him have at Darkseid again, to which Trigon is completely appreciative of her for setting him free from the prison of her powers, and even wishes her well until they meet again. This was the heartwarming moment I mentioned before, showing that Raven and Trigon have the weirdest relationship ever, because Raven almost seemed sad to be rid of him. We learn at some point that The Flash started all of this with his first Flashpoint, which reset the timeline for them and led them to all of this in the first place. So to think that another Flashpoint would be the solution to changing the results of what happened to everybody and the Earth is kind of crazy, but not for the Justice League. It's just crazy enough to try!

Darkseid

The reason for war, Darkseid.

The reason for war, Darkseid.

My Final Thoughts...

This movie was amazing. It was literally just like Endgame except more graphic and crazy really. Darkseid was a very intimidating villain, as was Trigon, who even made Superman nervous at some point, even with his powers. The ending could have been better to me, honestly, but I could get over it because the rest of the movie was so good. The ending was just a bit lackluster to me, while the rest of the movie was either action packed or really funny and entertaining. Even though it does come across as a standalone film, I would love to check out the movie that comes before this, Justice League Dark, as it is a sequel. Much like Avengers Endgame is a sequel to Avengers Infinity War, but either movie could stand alone as a good individual movie from either the heroes' or the villains' perspective, if you had not seen the other to connect certain plot points. It really was a great movie overall and could have many possibilities as to what happens afterwards with the reset of the timelines.

I also couldn't help but think when it was all over, yet again, that this is what the Justice League movies should have been. It was short and wrapped up in a solid hour and 30 minutes, which is admirable to tell such a good story in the short amount of time that they did while making the characters feel real and fleshed out in the process. No one important to the story felt lost in the sauce. Everything was nicely paced and put together. We don't need a bad version of this movie and we did not need a 4 hour version of the Justice League teaming up to defeat Darkseid, when it could have been done like this and be better at the end of the day. This movie shows that the two versions of the live action movies could have been better.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War Poll (DCAMU Movie) (2021)

This movie is..... GOLD!!!

Where You Can Watch...

  • HBO Max
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