By Will Barber – Taylor
After the events of Justice League: War, Ocean Master and Black Manta have declared a war against the surface in retaliation of the aftermath of Apokoliptian-tyrant Darkseid’s planetary invasion. Queen Atlanna seeks out her other son, Ocean Master’s half-brother Arthur Curry, a half-human with aquatic powers with no knowledge of his Atlantean heritage, to restore balance.
Living with powers he doesn’t understand and seeing the danger around him, Curry takes steps to embrace his destiny, joining the Justice League, and with his new teammates he battles to save Earth from total destruction.
Following on from the success of the previous DC Animated outing, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, the film continues the themes set up in the previous film – that of how to protect the Earth from threats either internal or external. This is the basic theme which runs through most Justice League films and stories but it the movies twist on that basic theme that is interesting.
The film introduces Aquaman to the DC Animated Universe. Aquaman has for years been the butt of many jokes because of his apparent wetness and for the fact that his character has also been underwritten. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to some that in this film Aquaman is not only the lead but also one of the most interesting characters in the film. The development of Aquaman’s character throughout the film is crucial to the plot as without Aquaman’s change of character the conclusion of the story wouldn’t happen.
The films shows how responsibility and power can be used wrongly and how ones’ perception of power differs due to how you are brought up. Aquaman, who was brought up by his fisherman father, had a humble beginning and so never knew about his royal inheritance. Consequently, he only wants to do the right thing for other people. On the other hand, his half-brother Ocean Master who was brought up with the full knowledge of his royal succession cares only about power and wanting to destroy the surface world. The actions and personalities of both Aquaman and Ocean Master demonstrate that due to Ocean Master’s concept of divine right he can only think in terms of how to rule his people the way he wants to, while Aquaman is the reverse wanting to serve his people in the way they want rather than trying to impose his own view of kingship upon them.
This nicely links into the film’s overall theme of how to protect the Earth from threat. At the end of the film, Aquaman accepts the Justice League’s offer to join them as a member so that he can show that the people of Atlantis pose no threat to the “surface dwellers”. This therefore neutralizes the internal threat that was the focus of the film, nicely linking in Aquaman’ s development into a responsible monarch into the film’s core.
The animation in the film is superb, with scenes such as Green Lantern’s encounter with Batman in Gotham and the sinking of the US submarine at the start of the film being particular highlights. The artwork follows the New 52 style of illustration, which generally is nicely done.
Overall, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is a nice film which manages to give a good origin of Aqauman while also telling a watchable and action packed Justice League story. Hopefully we will see more films like it from DC Animation soon.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is now available on XBox Live Movies and will be on DVD from the 27th of January.