Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons – The Movie, 2020.
Directed by Sung Jin Ahn.
Featuring the voice talents of Michael Chiklis, Sasha Alexander, Chris Jai Alex, Faye Mata, Griffin Puatu, Imari Williams, Asher Bishop, Colin Salmon, Delbert Hunt, Panta Mosleh, Noshir Dalal, Castulo Guerra, and Minae Noji.
Slade Wilson leads a double life, as an elite assassin and a committed family man. But ghosts from his violent past hellbent on his destruction resurface, and all hell inevitably breaks loose…
Deathstroke has never been a property I’ve been overly familiar with, coming off more as a stoic and serious version of everyone’s favorite foulmouthed, fourth-wall breaking antihero Deadpool. I mean I’m a DC fan through and through but let’s face it, DP is oodles more fun than the character it took inspiration from. And yet, it must be said that what DC has done here with Deathstroke’s character, goes a long way in making the audience understand more about the guy’s motivations and what makes him tick. It isn’t a deep-dive exploration into Wilson’s psyche but rather a cursory but effective look at his flawed logic and how he justifies his morally questionable actions, and that’s more than adequate for an animated film based on a comic-book property.
Since his marriage Slade Wilson has concealed his life as a hired mercenary from his loved ones in an effort to protect them from the ugly truth. However, a previous extra-marital affair early on during their marriage has led to his wife having perpetual doubts about Wilson’s lengthy ‘business’ excursions abroad. But this much is true, they both love their son very much and that keeps them together as a family without falling apart. These bonds though, will be tested when one of Wilson’s nemesis resurface and threaten his son if he doesn’t carry out their request. As a result, utter carnage ensues as Wilson must fight against time to save his child and thwart a potential plot that involves world domination.
The animation at display here is top-notch, with the jaw-droppingly brutal action sequences perfectly bringing to life Deathstroke’s deadly skill set as an assassin. Make no mistake, this is a hard ‘R’ film filled with an insane amount of violence and gore. But what makes these action set pieces less repetitive is the solid narrative that strings them together, exploring Wilson’s dark past and family dynamics. Michael Chiklis (The Shield) does a stellar job with his voice talent by bringing to life the morally ambiguous titular character. You can feel how broken Wilson is as a person through Chiklis’ nuanced voice acting performance. Making an audience root for a stone-cold killer is no mean feat and Chiklis accomplishes this and then some. Sasha Alexander (Rizzoli & Isles) as Wilson’s stern but ever-caring wife also was a stand out in the film. Chris Jai Alex voice work as the movie’s villain Jackal unfortunately, didn’t add much to the rather thinly written character, throughout the proceedings. He’s just another generic bad guy hellbent on world domination, nothing more nothing less. Griffin Puatu (Forest of Piano) as Wilson’s son Joseph is also worthy of mention here, since he is the emotional centerpiece of this blood-soaked drama, and Puatu accomplishes much through his vocal skills.
For Deathstroke fans who have always wanted a movie centered around their favorite character this will be a dream come true. Top notch animation coupled with some solid voice acting performances and a decent narrative bring to life the titular anti-hero’s blood-soaked world with style and panache. DC animation fans, this one is for you.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Hasitha Fernando is a part-time medical practitioner and full-time cinephile. Follow him on Twitter via @DoctorCinephile for regular updates on the world of entertainment.