Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis 2015
And right onto the first new release of the year. This seems like it’s one of the first follow ups in the DC Animation home video releases as it almost directly follows last year’s Justice League: War. Even though Son of Batman was also part of DC’s New 52 continuity, that movie felt much more self-contained where this really felt like a sequel, especially when I did revisit War shortly before watching Throne of Atlantis. While Aquaman is often the butt of many jokes, he is actually a popular and powerful member of the Justice League and long since deserving of his own movie. There are a few jokes tossed at the king of the sea’s expense, but for the most part it’s a typical origin story with a very similar tone and feel to War, with a few of the same voice cast returning along with some new and familiar voices like Rosario Dawson who got upgraded from Artemis in the Wonder Woman movie to Wonder Woman herself, and Nathan Fillion returning to voice Green Lantern. I thought it was a decent sequel to War, but if there’s one aspect of superhero movies I have had my fill of, it’s origin stories and this didn’t really do anything different or interesting to set it apart from any of the dozens of other origin stories I’ve seen already.
Aquaman is one of the few Justice League members that I haven’t really gotten to know very well as he has not been very well represented in many of the previous Justice League DC Animated movies to date and I never really watched any incarnation of the Super Friends. But I did know enough about him to know a lot of what was coming as far as seeing his famous archnemesis Black Manta in the fold as one of the Atlanteans, though it was never quite explained how he had an “in” with the Atlanteans. From what I can tell, he is a surface dweller with a unique scuba suit and yet they all seemed to trust him without question and make no mention of his surface dwelling connection.
The movie does do a nice job of introducing Aquaman by quickly getting at several aspects of his character. He is sympathetic as he mentions that he has just lost his father, he is comedic as he is telling this to a lobster in a fish tank, and he is formidable as he takes on half a dozen guys and finds out that his skin is stronger than a knife blade. Throughout the movie there is a nice combination of these traits, like when he realizes that he really can talk to fish, or when he loses his mother before even getting the chance to meet her. The best moment is when shortly after realizing he can call sea life to his aid he is facing off against Black Manta. Manta starts monologuing and in the middle of his sentence a great white jumps out of the water and takes him out of the equation in a great combination of Aquaman being badass and the surprise factor making it hilarious. And there’s plenty of moments where he gets to show off his hand to hand fighting prowess, though his impervious skin seems to not be impervious to any of the underwater weaponry.
The biggest issue is how formulaic the plot is in regards to the usurper Orm. It’s the very typical heir to the throne who is the warmonger while the ruler yearns for peace. Meanwhile Orm is willing to do whatever it takes in order to get his war with the surface world even if it includes killing his own people, including his own mother, and blaming it on the humans so the people of Atlantis will back him up. It even has the all-too-common trope where he admits his whole plan to the heroes who have the ability to record the entire conversation and happen to play it back to the horde of Atlantean soldiers during the climactic moment of victory so that they immediately turn on their leader in favor of Aquaman as the true heir and ruler of Atlantis. Without so much as a single supporter of Orm.
Honestly, the most enjoyable parts of the movie were the interactions between the still-young Justice League after the name Super Seven didn’t test as well. There are plenty of brief moments that really help develop the interpersonal relationships between the Justice League members. There’s more of Superman and Wonder Woman’s romantic relationship, including a date where he shows her how to use a secret identity before getting interrupted by Lois. There’s also a great brotherly relationship between Shazam and Cyborg, where Victor is obviously the big brother and the childlike Shazam the enthusiastic younger brother. There’s also a continuation of the antagonistic relationship between Green Lantern and Batman, though it’s not nearly played up as much as it was in JL: War. It’s probably helped that the two are much less prominent, and Nathan Fillion brings a more mature, but still playful tone to Hal Jordan. There was still quite a bit of fun to be had throughout Throne of Atlantis, but it didn’t accomplish anything that hadn’t been done dozens of times before. It was nice to see Aquaman not just being the butt of the joke, but he didn’t really bring anything new to the table either. Worth a watch if you enjoyed War or are a fan of Aquaman as a character, otherwise fairly skippable. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
Posted on January 30, 2015, in 10's movies, DC and tagged aquaman, batman, cyborg, DC, justice league, movies, review, Superhero, Superman, the flash, wonder woman. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.