Constantine City of Demons Review
Written By: J M DeMatteis
Directed By: Doug Murphy
Produced By: David S Goyer and Greg Berlanti
Staring: Matt Ryan, Damian O’Hare, Laura Bailey, Emily O’Brien
Originally released as a mini animated series on the CW Seed and now edited together with additional unseen footage, Constantine City of Demons is a straight to DVD/BluRay/Digital Movie Release under the DC Animation banner. Described as being in the same universe as the 2017 release Justice League Dark we once again follow the Hellblazer himself John Constantine on a dark and twisted journey through the underbelly of Los Angeles.
We first meet John back in London which ties into the most recent Hellblazer Rebirth comic series where John removed the curse on himself which prevented him from setting foot inside the capital. Early on we learn the main plot to the story as John’s old friend Chas contacts him needing help due to his daughter Trish suddenly going into a coma and fearing the Dark arts are at play.
John learns that the demon Beroul is behind the events in London and after recruiting help from the Nightmare Nurse to watch over Trish, John and Chas set of in pursuit to the city of Demons AKA Los Angeles.
John confronts Beroul in one of the most unsettling sequences I have seen on screen let alone animation. Up to this point there is some mild swearing and sexual references but this scene really makes you realise this movie is not for children. Without spoiling the impact, I will just say that there are some very graphic mutilation and murder scenes here. The purpose of this is so Beroul can recruit John to help him set up his own franchise of Hell on Earth and eliminate his competition, in return Beroul will return Trish’s soul.
John and Chas then spend the bulk of the movie plotting and weaving their way around Los Angeles to track down Berouls competitors and defeat them. This journey is full of action, suspense, deception and plenty of John Constantine being John Constantine with his British swagger and complete disregard of safety when confronted with Demons and creatures from hell. We get the climatic ending that we come to expect from all movies these days, just when everything looks like its stacked against John, using his skill of the dark arts, he finds a way to turn to tables in his favour and return the world to some sort of normality.
DC have confirmed that this sits in the same universe as Justice League Dark but no mention of how or if it connects to the rest of the Arrowverse, however we do get an explanation to the events in Newcastle that were so heavily mentioned in the stand-alone TV series. There are also some real-life political references scattered throughout regarding the film industry being run by people who have sold their soul to the devil and even suggesting something similar at the White House.
We get the fantastic return of Matt Ryan as John Constantine who really has gone out of his way to make this character his own and once again, he does not disappoint. His own TV series, appearances in Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and now a second animated feature film Matt has set the standard for this character now and good luck to whoever takes this role on in the future as a very high bar has been set. That being said with Matt Ryan promoted to a series regular in Legends of Tomorrow season 4 it doesn’t look like he is going anywhere soon.
This is another strong addition to the DC Animation library, and a worthy successor to the popular Justice League Dark. The story is simple but fluid and has enough twists and turns so its isn’t completely predictable and is a treat to watch for any Hellblazer fan. It is an R Rated animated movie with plenty of swearing, graphic violence, blood and guts with a brief sex scene and sexual talk, so not one to watch with the kids. This is also the first DC animated film I can think of that doesn’t feature Batman, but John Constantine and Matt Ryan definitely show they can hold their own. Seeing that we haven’t had a big screen live action John Constantine since 2005 I think this story could be adapted very well. If given the R rated certification and someone like Eli Roth at the helm then this has the potential to be something DC fans have never seen. With Marvel having commercial success with R Rated films like Deadpool and Logan who says Constantine couldn’t do that for DC?
Watch the trailer here…