When Bruce Timm stepped away from the DC Animated Universe, I was deeply concerned for the future of the franchise. However, the direction that new supervising producer James Tucker has taken the films since Timm’s departure has been extraordinary. This new slate of films are much darker than what we were use to from Timm and with continued story lines, each feel like true sequels to the previous.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis takes place a short time after Justice League: War and the world is recovering from Darkseid’s attack. However, the Earth’s new champions, the Justice League, are far from the unified team of guardians they are made out to be. As shown at the end of Justice League: War, a new threat has arisen from the depths of the ocean. Prince Orm of Atlantis has intentions to wage war with the surface world, with only his mother Queen Atlanna standing in his way. As Orm plots against the Queen, his half-brother Arthur, unaware of his Atlantian heritage is sought out to take the throne to help bring Atlantis and the surface world together in peace.
Fans have been begging for an Aquaman film for quite a while and we weren’t entirely disappointed with Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. The story is adapted from the Justice League comic book story arc Throne of Atlantis written by Geoff Johns. Aquaman was purposely replaced by Shazam in Justice League: War for the exact reason of this film. With Arthur Curry now firmly entrenched in the ranks of the Justice League the team is also now solidified.
I was a bit disappointed with the pace of this film. The setup and introduction of characters takes up nearly the entire film with some completely useless scenes such as the romance between Superman and Wonder Woman. The scenes were completely superlative to the overall plot and left me wondering if the next Justice League film will center on that very theme. Could a Superman/Wonder Woman film be on the drawing board? By the time the film really gets going it is nearly at the end. There is quite a bit of focus on Cyborg adapting to his new life. The rest of the Justice League — Shazam, Green Lantern, Flash and Batman are merely background characters that aren’t given much to do.
The voice acting was also a bit weak with the exception of Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman and Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern. As a long-time fans of these films, there is just no substitute for Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman and I was unimpressed with Jason O’Mara as the Dark Knight.
There were other areas of the story that bothered me as well, such as how easily the Atlantians were able to subdue members of the Justice League, especially Superman. However, I was completely disappointed with this film due to appearances by Mera, Black Manta and even a cameo by John Henry Irons (Steel). Mera, voiced by Sumalee Montano was especially bad ass and as my favorite Aquaman supporting character, I loved seeing her in action for the first time on film.
The film contains several nods to the New 52 debut of Aquaman that comic book readers should recognize including the Trench, Dr. Shin and flashbacks to Arthur’s childhood. The story is a blend two of the comic book story arcs that works even though you’re rushed through it. The after credits scene is of particular interest as Lex Luthor visits Orm in prison…which will undoubtedly lead into a sequel.
Although this film is animated, it is not suitable for children due to adult language and scenes of violence. I for one support Warner Bros. Animation for giving these films a more edgy tone. By pure coincidence, shortly after watching this film I was able to watch Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and the differences between the two were like night and day. Even though I miss Bruce Timm’s style, I have no complaints with how Tucker and crew have treated these new films.
Even though Justice League: Throne of Atlantis suffers in many key areas, I can’t give it an overall thumbs down. It’s surprisingly entertaining and introduces Aquaman in the manner in which he deserved. Heath Corson’s screenplay does Geoff John’s original story a great deal of justice and gave me the unique feeling of the comic book coming to life. Hardcore DC Comics fans are going to rail on this film for it’s obviously flaws. Casual fans should find it entertaining and action packed.