Sunday, March 15, 2015

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis review


    Wow, that was bad.

    No, let me correct that.

    Justice League: War was bad.

    This was just sort of there.

    There's nothing really offensive about Throne of Atlantis but there's nothing really to sell it either. It was a decent arc for the New 52 with a number of interesting twists for long-time fans but these twists get removed for the animated adaptation so it becomes much more generic as well as bland.

Orm is mwahahahaha evil throughout. He's not even very good at it.
    The original comic had a semi-decent conflict between Arthur Curry, his mother, an unknown puppetmaster, and Arthur's half-brother Ocean Master. There's a lot of lies, double-dealings, and respectable positions going on. All of that gets thrown out to, basically, turn Ocean Master into underwater Hitler who wants to kill all surface-dwellers because he is a bad person.

    Now, I don't necessarily want moral ambiguity from my DC cartoons. With the exception of Ra's Al Ghul, who is still crazy don't get me wrong, the vast majority of Batman villains are just all around bad people. However, its notable when a story goes out of way to make things less emotionally complex and interesting.

    Say what you will about Justice League: War, there was a clear cut conflict between all of the various diverse personalities in the League. They may have all been unlikable jerks, but you understood where they came from.

Mera is a lot better character than Aquaman.
    The premise is Orm Marius is the Prince of Atlantis. After his father is killed as collateral damage from the battle against Darkseid in Justice League: War, he has become obsessed with revenge against the surface world. Making an alliance with Black Manta, who is (oddly enough) a surface dweller, he proceeds to murder a naval submarine and steal a host of missiles as to frame humanity for attacking Atlantis.

    Orm's mother, Atlanna, is the present ruler of Atlantis and is uninterested in war with the surface world. In what appears to be an unintentional bit of sympathy for the villain, she's revolted by her son and wants to pass her crown to her illegitimate half-human son Arthur Curry. This is more out of affection for her lover than any qualities Arthur possesses since we first meet him as a drunk who uses his superior strength to beat up regular humans at a bar.

The best moment of the movie for a multitude of reasons. Lois Lane finding Clark Kent dating Wonder Woman.
    The Justice League is mostly perfunctory to the entire proceeding, being helpless to fight Ocean Master and his mystical trident (yes, Superman, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the team which DEFEATED DARKSEID can't overcome one guy with a magic fork). They also exist only to get rescued by Arthur and engage in a few massive brawls against generic Atlantean mooks. I do appreciate a moment where we get to see Superman fight Cthulhu, the Great Old One making a random appearance about halfway through.

    Really, this movie would have made more sense as an Aquaman movie and that's what it really is. Like Batman: Assault on Arkham, the title is misleading as it's really about Aquaman instead of the Justice League. We follow him from being a working class hero to the superior King of Atlantis with almost no real follow-through and it's hard to believe. I'm not sure they sold Arthur winning the loyalty of Atlantis either.

Atlanna is a more interesting character than most of the cast. So, of course, she gets marginalized from any role in the story beyond being Aquaman's mom.
    Oddly, what I enjoyed most was the brief interaction with the league. The unintentional hilarity of Superman saying he'll show Diana the sights of the mortal world only to take her to dinner at a greasy spoon, Batman and Green Lantern's immense loathing for one another, and Cyborg's struggle to keep hold of his remaining humanity. The character of Mera is attractive to look at and fun to watch kick Atlantean ass but, really, that just makes me think SHE should be queen instead of Aquaman.

    In short, this movie is bland. There's nothing really impressive about it and it was a chore to get through. It's not as bad as Justice League: War but I can think of any number of DC Animated movies which are more enjoyable to watch.

5/10

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