Verdict: 3 / 5
This week saw the release of the much anticipated Justice League Throne of Atlantis. This film follows directly after the events of Justice League War and it sets up the New 52 origin story of one of DC Comics finest heroes… Aquaman.
Yes, since the New 52 re-launch a few years back, Aquaman is no longer one to be taken lightly. His comic continues to impress readers today, but does this animation meet the standard? This film opens up with a submarine being attacked by an unknown enemy. Steve Trevor asks Cyborg to investigate just what happened to the military submarine. This is when Cyborg makes the discoveries that these military trained men were slaughtered. The movie then crosses over to the main protagonist, Arthur Curry. We find him in a bar; drowning his sorrows and chatting to a lobster. But Arthur cannot understand his connection to the sea life, his incredible strength and his impenetrable skin. This is when Mera appears and tells Arthur the truth about his origin and that his strength comes as a result of Royal blood flowing through his veins, as Arthur is a prince of Atlantis.
Meanwhile, back in Atlantis, Orm and Black Manta are preparing to wage war against the surface dwellers. Orm plans to betray his mother’s will he does not see the point on living in harmony with the surface dwellers and is less than pleased when his half human bastard of a brother returns to the kingdom of Atlantis. This sets up for some great action sequences which are presented in flawless animation. So as you can see for most part this is an Aquaman origins story that features the justice in the background.
The Justice League here is pretty much the same team that was put together to face Darkseid in the last movie. Cyborg is about the only member that likes the idea of a justice league while the other superheroes are in denial. Some going as far as saying that it does not exist. Superman and Wonder Woman seem to be the power couple that they are in New 52, Flash and Green Lantern seem to have become friends since their last outing. They provide most of the comic relief in this film with their bickering and wise cracks. Batman is still the loner he prefers to be. Cyborg is getting some great character growth as DC attempts to educate new viewers to Cyborgs existence and what he means to the team. Shazam on the other hand does not do much. He makes jokes here and their but for most part he is acting like the kid he is. Shazam is such a great character and he is important to the team especially if the animation heads towards the Trinity War story line. To see him under used so badly is really frustrating as they make him look like nothing more than a weak point in the armour of the justice league.
The art is great. As mentioned earlier this story involves a large amount of action sequences. It starts of a bit slower as they introduce the story but once the action begins it is full throttle and full of gore. Yes, this is a film that is not kid friendly. It contains a few cuss words but it is the level of violence that made me question why I am watching this with my son.
The poor fish people of Atlantis suffer the most as it would seem that DC is using the excuse that because they are not human we can maim and murder them. So limbs are chopped off, bodies sliced in half and heads are rolling. I loved the action and the fact that it is so visceral and violent. It really leans into the fact that this is a new Aquaman, breaking the trend of mocking him. It is not as gory as the comic version but as a parent you might want to give it a watch first to decide whether it is appropriate for your child to be watching this. PG 10 perhaps I would say. The characters look pretty much the same as when they appeared in Justice League War. The only difference is that their proportions look more consistent from scene to scene. The voice acting is top notch. Sam Witwer does a great job as Ocean Master. It is great to see him getting involved in another DC project since his last stint as Doomsday in Smallville the TV series. The rest of the voice acting is pulled off quite well. It is only the story that is good but far from being great. What prevents it from shining is the fact that the story seems a bit too rushed and problems get resolved a little too conveniently. They are the freaking Justice League, they can afford to have some challenging problems. We are talking about a group of the most powerful people in the world here, Batman needs to do some better Detective work as well. But if you wait, post credits you will see a new development. One that just might become the challenge that the Justice League needs.
Overall, DC still proves that they are heading in the right direction with their animation. I just wish the film was not as rushed and the story had less inconsistencies and conveniences. It is no Flashpoint Paradox, nor is it near Dark Knight Returns, but still a solid effort well worth the watch.