WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, now available on Digital HD.
From the trailers and clips released, it was perfectly clear Justice League Dark: Apokolips War would be an intense, high-octane ride. Promotional materials teased tons of brutal fights and action sequences that made the DC Animated Movie Universe films that came before pale in comparison, while also painting a grim world for the broken heroes.
However, as the 90-minute runtime unfolds, Apokolips War becomes one of DC’s most violent properties ever, featuring the goriest deaths ever for a variety of heroes and villains.
Apokolips War holds nothing back, as Superman quickly takes a battalion to Darkseid’s fiery home, only to ambushed by Paradooms. The heroes didn’t expect the onslaught, and as the Man of Steel reveals later on in flashbacks, it was totally one-sided. One of the sequences that stands out is a frame of Darkseid’s Omega Beams splitting Aquaman in half, and at this point, it’s clear there’s gonna be a lot of blood and guts to come. In that same brawl, Wonder Woman’s arm is ripped off, Hawkman’s wings are torn off, Shazam loses a leg, and Mera’s face is squashed in. The flick pulls no punches.
By the time Raven drops an F-bomb later on at Constantine’s lair, you know it’s going to get grimier. It occurs when we’re introduced to Harley Quinn’s Suicide Squad, which finds Harley smashing Lex Luthor’s Darkseid loyalists with her mallet, King Shark eating them alive, Bane ripping them up, Captain Cold decapitating folks and, also, one of their own — Lady Shiva — getting a bullet to the head. Anyone can go at any time and this unpredictability factor really makes for an exciting watch.
The stakes in Apokolips War are higher, and key players get killed, not just random secondary characters. And make no mistake, teens get murdered too, as seen when the Titans are attacked by the Paradooms. Here, though, what stands out is Nightwing being impaled by a Paradoom’s spiked frame and Starfire also being torn in half. The Paradooms’ feeding frenzy is also pretty chilling, as seen when they swarm and devour Zatanna and Shazam, adding a gory dynamic that goes beyond just pulling limbs apart.
It comes to a head at the end when Superman’s resistance tries to free Batman from Darkseid’s control. The Dark Knight teleports magma they stole from Earth to Oa at Darkseid’s behest, and it drops on John Stewart, who’s about to tap into the Green Lantern’s battery. It’s another shocking fatality, as it melts the soldier on the spot, crafting a sadistic moment Darkseid enjoys as he basks in all his kills. They include Guy Gardner and also, Kilowog, whose neck he snaps. And in the finale, when Darkseid returns home, he gets an even bloodier moment when he uses his Omega Sanction to fry Damian Wayne in front Bruce after the kid tries to save his father. It’s a crowning moment, and not even Superman and Batman taking Darkseid’s eye out could top this. It reiterates that this movie is truly about doom and something Zack Snyder would be proud of with its aggression and unabashed bloodshed.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War stars Matt Ryan as John Constantine, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Taissa Farmiga as Raven, Stuart Allan as Robin, Tony Todd as Darkseid, Jason O’Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, Christopher Gorham as the Flash, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane and Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor. The film is out on Digital HD and arrives on Blu-ray May 19.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War has many brutal, unforgiving deaths in the fight against Darkseid that fashions it as DC's goriest film to date.