The Justice League has had their first major battle against Darkseid, but are they really a team? Perhaps Aquaman can unite them as one!
JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS
Matt Lanter as Aquaman / Arthur Curry
Sumalee Montano as Mera
Sam Witwer as Ocean Master
Sirena Irwin as Queen Atlanna
Jerry O’Connell as Superman / Clark Kent
Jason O’Mara as Batman / Bruce Wayne
Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman / Diana Prince
Christopher Gorham as Flash / Barry Allen
Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern / Hal Jordan
Shemar Moore as Cyborg / Victor Stone
Sean Astin as Shazam / Billy Batson
Harry Lennix as Black Manta
George Newbern as Steve Trevor
Steven Blum as Cyborg’s Armor and Lex Luthor
Melique Berger as Sarah Charles
Juliet Landau as Lois Lane
Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns
Previously in Justice League: War: It’s a battle of the worlds as Apokalips attacks Earth! Fortunately, a band of heroes join forces to protect Earth and learn a little something about teamwork in return.
A HERO’S JOURNEY
I’ll say right up front, that I’m a little disappointed in Throne of Atlantis. If you’ve read the Geoff Johns tale in Aquaman, you know what you are getting up front, and though some of the story has been tweaked, fans of that series aren’t getting anything dramatically different. On the plus side, because it is an adaptation with Geoff Johns working with the crew, it is more faithful to the source material than other adaptations we’ve seen.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the comic book tale, everything seems very familiar if you have a passing knowledge of anything Aquaman. In this movie, Ocean Master and Manta plot to overthrow Atlantis and attack the surface dwellers. In the process they kill Arthur Curry’s mother, anger the Trench, and get Aquaman all up in their gills… Of course the Justice League comes to help, some of them wearing breathing devices under water, some of them not. I think the biggest problem I have with the story is events happen too quickly for the major events to play out in a logical manner. There are also a lot of visual inconsistencies throughout the movie. For example, when Arthur and Mera are fighting The Trench on an island, we cut to the two of them surrounded by fire – which would be okay if they weren’t using water based weapons – only to cut away to Batman flying over performing his first carpet bombing of the area. Then there is the small problem of Ocean Master’s small army causing that much destruction so quickly in Metropolis. There are plenty other examples of the creators not catching all the little details, which ended up lessening my enjoyment of the movie.
In the end, the Justice League forms their team, and Aquaman completes the hero’s journey having hit every step in Campbell’s thesis. The same arguments on relationship development can be made regarding Star Wars, but here, the creators are really asking audiences to suspend their disbelief.
ANIMATION ON PAR
When Warner Bros. Animation moved away from the Bruce Timm style to a more angular design, I was okay with that. And when Warner Bros. decided to update the animated movie universe to reflect the goings on in the DC properties (costume design, etc.), I was okay with that as well. Overall, the animation is what you expect from these direct-to-video movies. I would have liked to have seen something new and different, but I’m okay with what we received.
- Aquaman saying “outrageous” as a nod to the Brave and the Bold
- Wonder Woman’s costume change
- Clark and Diana on a date
- Everything Green Lantern/Flash related
- Post credits Lex Luthor’s conversation with Orm
- Seeing so many actors returning to their roles
- The Trench are underutilized
- Poor editing
- Mutton chops
- Nothing really new
- Captain Marvel
BOTTOM LINE: Check it out
Though I am not overly thrilled with the end result, I got exactly what I expected, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are more people who are going to buy/rent this movie than will go to the comic book shop to buy a collected trade of the tale. What DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation have done is create an entry point for those who are new to the DC Universe, that gets them caught up on the goings on, which in turn will hopefully encourage them to pick up a few DC comics going forward. And even if they don’t pick up a comic, just becoming familiar with the characters can help anytime “that guy who talks with the fishes” is mentioned.
The next movie is Batman vs. Robin, that has some story elements from Court of Owls. Justice League: Gods and Monsters will follow, and according to DC Comics, it will feature an original plot. THAT is the movie I’m looking forward to.