MOVIE: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Heath Corson/Ethan Spaulding
When the Kingdom of Altantis prepares to retaliate for an attack on their people by the US Military, it is up to the Justice League to stop this rising threat while Arthur Curry finds out about his real origins.
Okay, I have been a long-time fan of DC’s animated universe (having started out as a kid watching Batman:TAS through to Justice League Unlimited and then to the movies like Superman:Doomsday, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Justice League: Flashpoint) and it wasn’t until the New 52 began that I started to read the comics, which unfortunately gave me background knowledge of what happens in this particular story and so diluted my overall view of this film.
So Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is a animated movie adaptation of the New 52 story-arc that consists of several issues of Justice League and Aquaman that ran from November 2012 to February 2013, which is about Atlantis’s wrath being unleashed upon the surface world after a Navy warship accidentally (malfunctioning hardware) fires missiles at the City. This causes the Justice League to intervene as Arthur has to step up and take the throne from his brother Ocean-Master and stop his people from annihilating everyone on Earth, that’s the general gist of the plot. And this movie cuts and pastes it together with Aquaman’s origin story to make this new version of a tale that is only a few years old.
Now I can understand making a loose adaptation for film, which doesn’t have the running time to cover the entire story. So I went into this expecting to watch a watered down version of the epic I have already read and for the most part, Heath Corson and Ethan Spaulding remain more or less faithful to the source material. But then I find myself scratching my head when I see Superman and Wonder-Woman start dating (there was virtually no build-up to it in the previous film, while in the comics it was given quite a bit of development), here it just felt completely out of the blue as well as out of character for either of them. As did Cyborg’s dealing with his identity as either man or machine, these were scenes that went without further development and instead looked pointless and so should have been kept out of the finished movie altogether.
But as a vehicle to promote Aquaman, it was an enjoyable-enough experience, though I have to admit that I am not really a fan of the character (but I have read some good material involving the character recently with the New 52) and his voice actor (Matt Lanter) did a fine job. Everyone else involved also were fine too, though I still cannot get used to Jason O’Mara’s Batman. He just feels and sounds really generic (nothing like Kevin Conroy, Bruce Greenwood or even Peter Weller’s takes on the character). Nathan Fillion has always been good as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern and is again good in this movie (makes me wish we would get a New 52 Green Lantern story converted to movie at some point). But Shazam was really annoying, which has nothing to do with Sean Austin’s voice work, which is fine. But it’s his dialogue which is generally filled with juvenile jokes that just annoyed me though out my viewing, making me wish that he was not a part of the team in these new 52 adaptations (doesn’t help either that his character is written better in the comics too). Rosario Dawson was good as Wonder-Woman and a better fit for the character than Michelle Monaghan had been in Justice League: War.
The movie’s animation is fine (though it feels kind of bland when compared to previous DC animated releases) and the action scenes are entertaining enough. But the main problem with this Justice League movie is that they tried to push too much action and plot into it’s 72 minute running time.
Overall this film is currently the best of the animated New 52 adaptations DC have given us so far, but it is no where near as good as what we are used to getting (the previous movies I’ve mentioned or even the majority of their animated TV series).