Constantine: City of demons // Review
DC goes full on hard R with their new release, Constantine: City of Demons, as DC’s resident magician sets out looking for redemption years after the events of Newcastle. For those who don’t know, it was at Newcastle that John Constantine accidentally sent the soul of a little girl to hell. This new DC movie is a perfect watch for the Halloween holidays, full of sex, violence, and plenty of gore. Unlike the other R-rated animated features DC has released, this one doesn’t walk the line between PG-13 and R-rated like Justice League Dark, and doesn’t have an awkward sex scene that is absolutely cringe-worthy like Batman: Killing Joke. Constantine: City of Demons gets black metal with its story, and does not disappoint.
Years after John Constantine accidentally banished a young girl to hell, he is hit up by an old friend of his named Chas Chandler, who needs his help. Something is wrong with his daughter, and he doesn’t know what. The doctors have exhausted their efforts, and Chas is just looking for anyone who might be able to save his little girl. Constantine: City of Demons draws loads of influence from the Hellblazer: All his Engines comics, and stays very close to the source material, keeping a very nostalgic feel reminiscent of the early Hellblazer comics from the eighties.
Matt Ryan, who many believe is the ultimate incarnation of John Constantine, reprises his role as the streetwise magician, bringing the same amount of swagger and cynicism to the character as he has in the past. With the R rating, Matt Ryan is able to more completely explore what makes the character of Constantine so relatable and show fans a side of the character they have not yet seen.
Both the movies art and writing pull heavily from the superhero cartoon genre, bringing together a group of individuals who have nothing but experience telling these stories. Doug Murphy directs, a relative-unknown who he has worked on Justice League Action, Wolverine and the X-men, as well as X-men Evolution, and J.M. DeMatteis does the writing. Dematteis’ filmography is a bit more extensive, and includes writing work on Justice League Dark which also featured the character John Constantine, as well as writing for Batman: Bad Blood and Batman vs. Robin. In this movie, the writing forgoes most of the teeny bopper soap-opera drama that is so prevalent in many of DC’s live-action shows, especially those that are shown on the CW giving the movie as a whole a more unhinged feeling.
This movie isn’t without its faults; there are one or two scenes that feel rushed and have equally lousy animation, but, as a whole, this story is full of badass comic book violence and an equally compelling story that’s ending pays homage to everything that makes the character of John Constantine great. So this Halloween, do yourself a favor, put away the Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin movie, and order yourself Constantine: City of Demons. You won't be disappointed.