Say Goodbye To The DC Animated Movie Universe
The DC Animated Universe has finally come to an end … and it’s probably for the best. DC’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips War wraps up a 15-film arc that started with 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. A lot has happened within that time, but is DC able to close out its animated movie universe neatly? This is our quick review …
If you’re reading this then it’s safe to assume you’re caught up, or at least familiar, with the DC Animated Universe, so we won’t get into the lengthy history. All you need to remember is that in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Barry Allen attempts to time travel in order to prevent his mother’s death. In doing so, he creates a dark timeline that throws his entire world into disarray.
Although he is able to right his wrongs and set things straight, he creates an alternate timeline/universe while doing it.
Fast forward to the 15th film in the story arc, Apokolips War. Once again, Darkseid is going to attempt to invade Earth, but the Justice League gets the one-up on him by bringing the fight to him … or so they thought.
As they arrive on Apokolips ready to stop Darkseids army of parademons, they are immediately overwhelmed. As it turns out, Darkseid has created hundreds of new parademons using Doomsday‘s DNA.
The film jumps two years into the future on a conquered Earth. Darkseid was able to take control of the planet and we quickly learn dozens of DC heroes died in the fight. Superman is still alive, but powerless, as Darkseid infused liquid kryptonite in his blood. The rest of the Justice League is either dead or now doing Darkseid’s bidding.
The film kicks into gear when the former Superman locates a depressed John Constantine and enlists his help in one final attempt to save the world from Darkseid. What follows is a brutal, sad and very dark mission that involves heroes and villains working together to stop the ultimate DC bad guy.
Other reviews have stated that the violence and gore in Apokolips War was ‘over the top’ and unnecessary. If anything, I believe it helped the film set the dark tone and hits viewers in the gut when they realize how serious the stakes are.
Apokolips War shines when showing DC’s villains and heroes working alongside each other. I got major Injustice: Gods Among Us vibes from the entire thing. They were able to pull from DC’s roster and put characters in the story who often go unnoticed.
I enjoyed the callbacks to the previous films, such as the fractured relationship between Bruce and Damian Wayne.
Unlike other DC animated movies, Apokolips War gets right to the point and the pace is perfect. It moves fast enough that you won’t get bored and major deaths are often quick. They sort of have to be in order to highlight the grave situation their world is in and how no death is big enough to slow down the oncoming battle.
Speaking of battles — they’re amazing! I love the gore, destruction and animation. It’s so fun to watch all of our favorite heroes battle it out to their full potential. It really earns that R-rating!
I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it until it’s addressed. DC Animated Movies have some of the best voice over work … and some of the worst. In every one of their animated films I am jarred at how horrible some of the voice work is. Oftentimes it doesn’t match the tone of the film, and it’s usually obvious the talent is reading their lines with no context.
This leads to awkward sounding conversations. For example, Damian Wayne’s lines feel like they’re out of place. His energy and demeanor feels like he’s in an entirely different movie. The same goes for Darkseid. It’s an issue I’ve had since he first appeared in this animated universe, but his voice doesn’t suit him. To be honest, whenever he speaks I cringe at how hard they’re trying to make him seem scary.
Another thing that took me out of the film was the attempts at humor. DC does this whenever Harley Quinn is on screen. We get it. She’s quirky and wild, but you can tone it down sometimes. Her scenes come off as cringey and overdone.
As a final film in an arc, I really enjoyed Apokolips War. It’s been said before, but the fact it’s the last film gives the writers freedom to do what they want with character without worrying how it’ll affect the future of the franchise. This leads to awesome dark battles and necessary deaths.
The ending is truly spectacular, although sometimes predictable, and really brings the franchise full circle. But if I’m being honest … Injustice: Gods Among Us is an infinitely better story! Give it a try!