Hey gang, Valkor here. The DC Cinematic Animated Universe (DCAU) continues to grow and even at its lowest point, its films are still a solid effort worth checking out. Well it’s a new year and new batches of animated films based on the DC 52 lineup are well on their way, starting with the continuation of the Justice League films; the preceding film, JL: War, won much praise from me and other critics alike. Now it’s time for Aquaman and “Throne of Atlantis” to step in. Will it will it beat out War or will it end DC’s animated reign?
Throne of Atlantis opens with a lone sub, surveying the trenches, deep below the ocean. The sub is suddenly attacked by a swarm of “somethings” and Cyborg is called in to investigate the incident. While surveying the downed sub, he’s suddenly attacked by the same creatures and makes a hasty retreat after receiving some severe damage. So he calls in the rest of the Justice League – Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Shazam and a reluctant to join Batman (because he has shit to do) - to help with this urgent matter.
It’s learned that the attack on the sub was caused by Atlanteans from the lost city of Atlantis; their reasoning, well Prince Orm’s reasoning to his mother Queen Atlanna, is that the surface dwellers will one day discover their home, also he wants payback for the death of his father (who died during the events of JL: War) as well as use their might to put the surface dwellers in their place once and for all. Queen Atlanna isn’t hearing it and wishes peace amongst the two worlds. But in order to make that happen, she’ll have to seek out her son, Arthur Curry, whom she left behind on the surface to continue her royal duties beneath the sea.
Arthur aka Aquaman (he's given the name towards the end - and he doesn't like it), is suddenly caught between two worlds – one beneath the sea where tempers are flaring and the calls for war with the surface world are ever increasing, thanks to the fierce campaigning by Prince Orm and his side Black Manta. And then there’s the up above world - a world he was born into, a world where heroes with extraordinary abilities much like his own, have banded together to save their world from what could be a vicious and deadly invasion. Who will win, who will lose and what will be the end results?
DC/WB have/will have a lot on their plate in the coming months/years… rest of the decade. Their TV stuff is killing it as well as their animated-verse. But the live-action experience in theaters is “wait and see”, though if the rumors are true (and I’m kinda hoping they are), we might be seeing something real soon. Throne of Atlantis is the first of the animated-verse this year, with “Batman vs Robin: Court of Owls” as a follow-up. And I’m so looking forward to that.
Throne of Atlantis, while it tones down the intensity of JL: War, it still brings a hearty dose of entertainment, action and fun to the table plus it’s a nice balance of the continuation of the JL team coming together mixed with the origin story for Aquaman. As far as the continuation is concerned, you see the team dealing with their current situation such as Cyborg with his dad issues, Clark and Diana’s budding relationship with a little Lois Lane tension to spice things up. We also get to see Arthur at his lowest point in his life before he takes on the role he was destined for. Everything is set up nicely and plays out to near perfection. But I don’t come into these things just for the story, which is great. I come for the action, which does hold up. The battles are evenly balanced with each member getting their moment to do what they do best. It’s not as hard-hitting as War or graphic as Flashpoint, but the maturity levels are there such as stuff getting blown up, people get stabbed and parts of creature-things getting sliced. Watching Arthur take a beating while dishing out his own style of “justice”, is pretty brutal because he’s getting the snot beat out of him, but the dude can take a beating and dish it out just the same, which should put a lot of Aquaman naysayers in their place. He's not a corny, powerless fish talker - he's seriously bad ass! I’m not a huge fan of the character, but I respect who he is and his abilities. And I’m glad to be a witness of the evolution of Aquaman from his campy Super Friends days to his current level of bad assness. I had a lot of fun with "Throne of Atlantis" and I can’t wait to see where the JL series goes from here on out. Post credits we get a Lex Luthor appearance so you know shit is about to go down!
I picked up the first couple of issues of the Aquaman’s DC 52 series and I really enjoyed how it began with him going into a diner, ordering fish and chips and getting ripped on by the patrons before dishing out his own pwnage. I kinda wanted to see that and it didn’t really happen. Instead of Arthur eating fish, he actually… fights to defend one. I didn’t care for that. I also miss that intensity of Flashpoint and War; the action is there but it’s more like laid back action, not edge of your seat intense. Finally I’m still not a fan of the voice work. Jason O’Mara is win and so is Sean Patrick Thomas, but the remaining cast needs to be retooled.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis gets a wide release (DVD, Blu-Ray and digital formats) on January 27th. And if you’ve been following along with the previous films, then you’ll certainly want to pick this one up. It’s weaker than the previous films, but totally worth checking out. And out of TOV 5 stars, Throne of Atlantis gets 3.5.