Aquaman has always been a favorite of mine. Maybe it’s because I was a swimmer for most of my life, grew up on an island, or have always been happier in the water. But in Geoff Johns’ run on the Aquaman title in the New 52, he captures some of the ‘fish out of water’ sentiments that made the orange-and-green-clad amphibian crusty, while also painting him in a more sympathetic light. Now, the DC Universe original movie, Justice League Throne of Atlantis delivers a powerful animated story of the early years of the JLA with enough action and intrigue for fans of all ages who dig DC comics.
In parallel stories that will finally collide, Cyborg (Criminal Minds’ Shemar Moore) searches for the reasons a military submarine was destroyed in the deep, while Arthur Curry (Matt Canter, Star Wars: the Clone Wars) grieves his father’s desk and blunders into the truth about his aquatic past. Before long, the heroes who will make up the League [Batman (Jason O’Mara), Superman (Jerry O’Connell), Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson), Flash (Christopher Gorham), Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion), Shazam (Sean Astin)] are assembling to battle a seemingly overwhelming force led from the ocean by Arthur’s half-brother, Orm AKA Ocean Master (Sam Witwer, Being Human).
These DC films are epic. The plots are ripped from graphic novels, with some details changed, but the fresh story lines still sparkling with animated beauty. It helps that the characters are backed by real actors and actresses, and that John’s New 52 plots weren’t generic. For instance, Superman and Wonder Woman are together, and Lois Lane gets sort of spoofed; the film actually makes Curry more clueless than he was by now in the comics progression, but it works as far as an introductory origin story. It’s still compelling to watch this son of two worlds figure out whether he’s called to protect the sea, protect the land, shun one or the other, claim a kingdom, etc. He’s a tortured soul with plenty of ideals but less conviction than a Batman or Superman. Ultimately, of course, this works much the way Mark Waid’s JLA: Year One did: sooner or later, these folks have to get over their differences and come together for good.
Fans of DC and the JLA especially will appreciate the features that give more of a background on the movie, whether it’s the sounds that give our sub-aquatic experience a deeper experience (“Scoring Atlantis: Sounds of the Deep”), the 2014 NY Comic-Con Panel, the sneak peak of Batman vs. Robin, or the four additional cartoons featuring Aquaman. rating: borrow it