Sea what I did there? Shore you did! Ever since the release of The Flashpoint Paradox in 2013, the DC Animated universe has begun its own continuity. In other words, the movies, characters and, in most cases, voice actors stay the same. This was a bold move and has worked well up to this point. Two of the three movies that released last year, Justice League: War and Batman and Son (with the third, Assault on Arkham, being in its own universe), kept up with that continuity with the former teasing what the lead off movie would be for 2015. Enter Justice League: Throne of Atlantis!
As the title suggests, Throne of Atlantis is the introduction of Aquaman, a much maligned but heavy hitter in the DC lineup. Getting this origin story right is VERY important, not only for the fact that this is a important in this New 52 continuity but also because if you don’t get Aquaman juuuuust right, all the haters will say “See?!?” Throne did its best to not only introduce this delicate character but to also have an enjoyable movie to boot. Even though they did they’re best, neither aspect quite hit their mark.
The story here, for the most part, was quite enjoyable. In the New 52, Arthur Curry has no idea that he is heir to the newly emptied crown of Atlantis (his dad died during the Darkseid invasion in JL: War) being raised by his human father. He knows he’s incredibly strong, has near impervious skin and can hold his breath seemingly forever but he’s not quite sure how…his dad also died at the beginning of this flick. After some crazy shenanigans by his half brother Orm (Ocean Master) and Black Manta, Arthur is thrust into not only claiming the his rightful place as King of Atlantis but to also stop a war between the sea dwellers and the surface. What team of super powered juggernauts do we know who could help with that???
The first problem that needed to be corrected from JL: War was the atrocity that was the voice actor for Wonder Woman…it was distractingly bad. The new Queen of the Amazons is voiced by Rosario Dawson and she is a million times better. Superman, previously voiced by Alan Tudyk, is now helmed by Jerry O’Connell with no noticeable difference. Also, Nathan Fillion comes back as the voice of Green Lantern and knocks it out of the park as always. The rest of the voice cast is strong including newcomers Matt Lanter (from Star Wars the Clone Wars) as Aquaman, Sam Witwer (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed) as Orm and Harry Lenix (Man of Steel) as Black Manta. Again, DC Animated has missed once with their casting and it was corrected here.
The real problem in this flick comes in the pacing. Why in the world, in a JLA movie, would they split the team up for long periods of time? The real fun in a movie like this is to see the whole team laying waste to a bunch of baddies, so getting Batman and Superman away from the rest of the team seems odd. There’s also a part during the climactic battle where Batman disappears for much too long of a time. Also, as much as I love Ocean Master and Black Manta they are not quite to the level of Brainiac, Darkseid or even Lex Luthor and I had a hard time thinking the team was in any real danger.
The complaints I have though don’t really overshadow that this is still a good movie. The story, even as unevenly paced as it was, was still solid and got the team on a more even level. The team dynamics are solid and when the action starts it’s pretty awesome. Mera, Arthur’s future queen, steals almost every action scene as she is a grade A butt kicker. There’s also a post credit scene that teases what to expect with the League next year. Overall, check this movie out…it’s good. However, with just a few tweaks to the direction and story and this movie could have been an absolute home run.