By Davey Nieves

JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS

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Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is the animated film follow up to last year’s Justice League: War that introduced the New 52 to DC Animation. The last few movies have been a roller coaster of quality. Flashpoint Paradox was excellent while War and Assault on Arkham suffered from execution problems. While the film has a few standout moments Justice League: TOA doesn’t quite parallel the emotional strength of its Geoff Johns Aquaman source material.

Directed by Ethan Spaulding, the film blends two of Johns early New 52 Aquaman arcs as the audience is presented the origin of Arthur Curry. Then we shift to the mysteries of the deep and totalitarianism of Orm (Ocean Master) as he attempts to wage war on the surface world. Also dealing with the fallout from the War film are the members of the Justice League. We have to continue to see them come together as a team because apparently Darkseid’s invasion just wasn’t enough of a reason to form on a regular basis. The team crosses paths with Atlantis and the brooding enigma that is Aquaman when weapons of mass destruction are stolen from an underwater military submarine. Along the way to recovering the missiles, the league must find Arthur Curry to avoid an all out war between Atlantis and the surface world.

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Where ToA stumbles isn’t so much in the execution but in the little things that you can’t ignore. Not following the books is understandable. Building the DC Animated into its own universe is a great way to create a unique identity for the brand. Plus, I’ve always been of the mindset: why make something where the intended audience already knows what’s going to happen next. That being said, ToA has an overall compacted feeling. It rushes through so much of its material causing it to feel diluted and unnecessary. The Superman/Wonder Woman relationship, Cyborg’s coming to terms with being more machine than man; it all could have been better played with or at the very least given more screen time.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 4.40.14 PMJason O’Mara, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore and Sean Astin return as Batman, The Flash, Cyborg and Shazam. Joining them are Jerry O’Connell, Rosario Dawson, and Sumalee Montano as Superman, Wonder Woman and Mera. Voice acting performances feel a bit unbalanced due to what seems like bad writing. Nathan Fillion has always been a great Hal Jordan but here the performance is so short that he never really gets a moment. Which is true of almost the entire cast and a big problem for having Justice League on the box art. Rosario Dawson’s voicing of Wonder Woman was superb and the film could have used more of it. Most of the weight was carried by Matt Lanter voicing Aquaman whom on his own turned in an adequate performance. Though that isn’t what you want out of a Ferrari or the title character of your movie.

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Justice League has some things that did land on target. The animation is as crisp as any of the better-animated movies like Under the Red Hood and Flashpoint. Where animation excels even beyond film is in the action and this movie has some great scenes like the tidal wave and VR submarine reenactment. One thing that the film did well more so than most recent DC Animated movies is the acting drawn into the characters. Eye movements, twitches, and the fluidity of there movement in battle all surpass previous entries. Visually, everything just clicks on this movie. The credits scene also raises some questions because I’m curious to hear what it leads to since the next films are based on Court of Owls, and an original story by Bruce Timm called Justice League: Gods and Monsters. Both of which are set for 2015 releases.

Ultimately Justice League Throne of Atlantis probably suffers more from its scheduling than anything else. So many of its moving parts feel rushed and uncoordinated that it doesn’t serve the tremendous material it came from. My advice, rent it or watch it once on your favorite digital platform.

Justice League Throne of Atlantis is available now on Digital HD and on Blu-Ray and DVD January 27, 2015.


If you’ve got a hankering to rate DC Animated films follow Davey on twitter.

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder who these movies are made for. What is the intended audience?

    I ask because the last 2 DC Dirct DVD movies i watched (Justice League : War and…. i forget which Batman movie it was) were NOT written for a mature audience, but we’re defiantly filled with swearing and other language and situations NOT intended for a young audience. DC needs to decide the target audience and focus on creating for that audience, not a shotgun approach that doesn’the appease any audience.

  2. Great Hera!
    Read the packaging before buying the dvd big little old baby, so many whiners, and old farts
    You two obviously aren’t the target audience if you both dislike the foul language, so buy Marvel or better yet use your own imagination because its 2015 times are changing, old fart

  3. The movie was alright. Not one of DC’s best animated movies by any means, but it was every bit as Justice League: War was and I think it’s worth the watch. I’d probably rate it a 7/10.

    @Zaku: If you like violence and gore, then you should look up DC’s animated movies Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1, The Dark Knight Returns: Part 2, and Batman: Under the Red Hood. Easily four of the best movies DC has ever released and they’re very, very adult-oriented.

  4. This movie was definitely not DC’s best, like at all. They screwed Aquaman, in fact I’ll go as far as to say Shazam stole the show and he only had a handful of dialogue. Aquaman had almost no real fight scenes, I was expecting a lot more being a fan of Aquaman but once again he was pushed aside even in his own movie. There were a number of scenes they could had scrapped in order to expand on Aquaman’s story, honestly the whole thing felt rushed. Really disappointed. Is it enjoyable? Well, It’s watchable. do I recommend it? No.

  5. Love this movie … love the adaptation of the DC New52 Superman and Wonder Woman couple storyline … love the to origin story of Aquaman … love the bromance of Captain Marvel and Cyborg, the bromance of Green Lantern, Batman and The Flash, the bromance of Batman and Superman … cant wait to see more animated adaptations of the DC New52 stories :D

  6. Can we talk about how the tidal wave made NO sense at all? The bad guys want to kill land dwellers, right? Destroy their civilization? And they can CREATE AND CONTROL A TIDAL WAVE?? But instead of using that to basically obliterate everything, they just used it to hide their little army. The JLA couldn’t have stopped the wave and couldn’t have gotten all the people out, so the bad guys do it instead lol.

    Bear in mind, at first the people on land have NO IDEA there is an Atlantean army inside the wave, so then WHY does the army know to show up with guns and point them at the wave? I saw that I was like ‘What are they gonna shoot the tidal wave?’

  7. Yup that tidal wave scene pretty much ruined it for me. Orm could have just let it be as it was and it would have wiped out everyone for them. Instead he stops it right before it hits the shore and uses his army instead. And yea… why did the army show up with guns to shoot a wave? lol Really bad writing and a lot of the scenes just felt forced.

    I love DC but if this is their approach to movies I can see why Marvel is kicking their ass.

  8. Steve Trevor looks like Aquaman and sound like Superman- (voiced by the actor who has done so atleast 3 previous times) I could only hear that when he spoke.

    And I am beyond tired of the Vaseline on the lens anime production.
    When Wonder Woman and Superman look out over the city and comment on how beautiful it is- All the buildings are the same shape and color.
    DC is slowly but surely ruining it’s animated legacy.

  9. calling people old farts is bs. These latest dc movies are ment for teenage boys, period. I am trying to get my kids into comics and these movies are a great jumping on point, but even they are turned off by it. The new 52 concept is exclusive to a certain group of people and needs to be more inclusive to get new readers and viewers. Its comments and attitudes of people belittling (like Joey) that will kill comic books and the animated movies they spawn, because that attitude is not inviting to those that are not a part of our geekdom. I want more Dc animated movies, and books, but it is not going to happen without new viewers, younger viewers and the old farts that have stood by this industry for decades.

  10. You guys nitpick too much. You whine that Ocean Master invaded with an army instead of a tidal-wave….well so what? He wanted to take-over the city, and he was doing a good job of it. He whipped the entire Justice League. It was only Aquaman that stopped him. As well as the fact that his army turned against him. So using the tidal-wave wouldn’t have made any difference.

  11. Man this movie was dissappointing. A lot of things didnt make sense. First off, since when can Oceanmaster unShazam Shazam? He didnt say the words, he didnt get tricked. That was a bush league move movie!
    Next, fire and smoke under water in Atlantis? C’mon.

    Also, Cyborg is walking to the ruined sub and it seems like it took a while for him to get there, but then when he needs to get out? Why not use a portal? Hell, why didnt they use a portal all those other times when they needed to move around?

    Also, the script was really a joke. Lots of weird stops and gaps in talking. Why is Shazam talking like a frat boy all the time? It’s just not his character.

    How can we get an AMAZING DC movie like Flashpoint and then end up with this?

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