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Justice League Dark

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- DC Comics' new straight-to-video release "Justice League Dark" (Warner Home Video) should come with a label that reads, "Warning: Not a Real Justice League Movie."

Even more important, the fact that this animated feature is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America should be conscientiously brought to parents' attention.

The star of "Dark" is John Constantine (voice of British actor Matt Ryan), an occult detective who solves problems in the supernatural world. Created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben, and partly inspired by rock star Sting, the character also has elements of Dr. Strange. Rather than the usual tights-and-capes sock-'em-up, "Dark" is a supernatural mystery.

Though the film is possibly acceptable for older teens, it earns its restrictive rating. It includes scenes of domestic abuse, vehicular homicide, murder and suicide. There are also a handful of vulgar expressions in the dialogue. Bizarrely and sickeningly, the heroes are even attacked by a monster made of living human excrement.

If viewers can endure that, there is ultimately a positive moral in the story about the terrible results of denying our mortality and playing God. Although it's being presented as a fresh take on superheroes, this central theme of the picture goes all the way back, of course, to the Garden of Eden.

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