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Monday, January 14, 2019

Review: Constantine City of Demons

Director: Doug Murphy
Screenplay: J. M. DeMatteis
Year: 2018

I recently bumped into this movie, for which I had no idea of its existence. Besides being about the character Constantine, who I like a lot, it caught my attention that this was an animated movie and that it received an R rating. Without much expectations, I went ahead to see it and what a surprise I got.

In “Constantine City of Demons” Chas looks for his friend John Constantine so that he can look at his daughter, which is in a coma in a hospital. While the doctors cannot find the cause that has her in that state, Chas suspects that there is something darker happening and that the occult investigator Constantine can identify the cause. Once Constantine sees the girl, he confirms Chas’ suspicion, which leads them to confront powerful demons and realize that there is more at stake than the child’s life.

As soon as the movie starts it is clear why it received an R rating. Since the beginning, it is pure action and excessive violence and while the scenes go by, the blood can be measured in liters. On top of this, we add that the plot is heavily influenced by demons and occultism and the rating is perfectly understandable. Most of the movie moves at a frenetic pace and the scenes of action and violence are ever present. I would have expected that focusing so much in this would result in a trivial story, but the violence and explicit gore more than take away from the story, it adds up in a great way, as in a most of the movie the personality of Constantine is explored and how do his encounters with demons and other entities affect it. One of the most important resides in his past when in his beginnings in occultism he has a disastrous encounter with a demon, which explains his cold and solitary personality. Very good work from director Doug Murphy (“X-Men: Evolution”) and screenwriter J. M. DeMatteis (“Justice League Unlimited”) in excellently balancing a deep story with so much violence and blood.

It is worth pointing out that the characters used in the movie are very interesting, as well as the art used to represent them. The representation of the city of Los Angeles in the shape of a woman and how she watcher over the inhabitants of the city is simply brilliant. The demons Nergal and Beroul, both important in the story, are visually impressive and the cast used to voice them fitted perfectly; Robin Atkin Downes (‘The Conjuring 2”) and Jim Meskimen (“How The Grinch Stole Christmas”), respectively. Equally fitting is the choice of Matt Ryan (“Flypaper”) to voice John Constantine, who had already interpreted this character in the series Arrow y Constantine. The animation used to bring them to life is decent, though in some parts it feels like the techniques used were somewhat outdated.

The only negative point I found is that the way the plot moves is inconsistent, sometimes it goes to fast and sometimes too slow, as well as some minor inconsistencies in details. For example, there is a sequence where we see the protagonists being chased by a horde of demons. These demons manage to catch Constantine and Chas while they are in a car taken to its limit. Later the persecution continues by foot and they manage to stay ahead of the demons for a few seconds, which does not make much sense considering the big difference in speed between a human and a car. Besides this, which are minor things, the movie is excellent.

What I liked the most about the movie is that it has a strong and interesting plot and it doesn’t suffer at all for the intensity in which it is shown. Besides exploring the personality of Constantine, his friendship with Chas, as well as the love Chas has for his daughter and wife are of great influence on the plot. These details play a meaningful role in the outcome of the movie. The ending is unpredictable, but it makes perfect sense with the events that happen and the experiences lived by Constantine, reinforcing his apathetic behavior. It is a movie worth seeing, particularly if you are a fan of animated and horror movies.

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