by Drew Kiess
In 2013, DC animation took on a new style and tone when they released Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. From there, they built a continuity with 15 more films starring several characters from the four corners of the DC Universe. It’s sequel, Justice League: War saw Darkseid launch an invasion of Earth, and established the tone and design of this new continuity as steeped in the New 52.
For the most part, with a few bumps and bruises along the way, this universe provided quality films and has been a major part of this writer’s anticipated films lists yearly. With the ending of Reign of the Supermen promising that the Justice League would take the war to Darkseid, fans of this series were eagerly anticipating the announcement of the next film.
What follows may be considered spoilers, but with the major twist of the movie occurring in the first five minutes, what else can I do?
Surprisingly, it wasn’t another Justice League sequel, but the sequel to 2017’s Justice League Dark that would take us to Apokolips. Turns out, for the story they wanted to tell, it was the right call. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, directed by Matt Peters and Christina Sotta and written by Mairghread Scott and Ernie Altbacker, focuses on John Constantine, who is battling his demons regarding the failed mission to overtake Darkseid. War survivors Clark Kent and Raven seek him out to launch a desperate mission to free Earth from the oppression of Apokolips.
And that’s just the set up.
I truly cannot say much more about the film without fully going into spoilers, but what this creative team managed to accomplish with Apokolips War is something that should be experienced. The script manages to tie up loose threads from 15 films and brings finality to a universe in a way that a big budget universe feature never could. By the time the credits roll, there is no doubt of the finality of the events.
The bleakness may prevent this from being in regular rotation for me, but it is one of the best efforts from this universe. The film captures everything I love about “end of continuity” stories, because there’s no such thing as an unbreakable toy. The whole box is smashed without hesitation, and it is done in a way that reminds you that these films are love letters to comic books. But just like the comics, continuity wears thin and needs an update from time to time. It’s time for something new from these DC animated movies. I hope this isn’t the last time we see DC construct an animated movie continuity (Superman: Man of Tomorrow releases in August, but there’s no word on if it is a launchpad for a new continuity or if it is a standalone picture), but I will undoubtedly be looking forward to the next story.
Final Grade: A