Warning. The following article contains spoilers for Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. If you do not wish to potentially ruin your movie experience, we recommend clicking away to another page on our site. The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of DC Comics News or its affiliates.
Film: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
Director: Ethan Spaulding
Release Date: January 27, 2015
There’s something special about when a new DC animated film releases to me that I get really excited, no matter who the film is about. It’s like a holiday gift come early every single time it happens. We’re getting at least two this year, so I have a lot to be excited about. The first one releases on Blu-Ray/ DVD today, and it’s a big one.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is the latest chapter in a series of animated films adapted from the New 52 story arcs that were published between 2011 and 2013. While like previous films in the franchise it takes some creative liberties with the original story, it does tend to touch a bit on the source material. It’s a perfect way to introduce Aquaman/ Arthur Curry into the DCAU Justice League. For those of you who don’t read the comics, Aquaman was already an established member of the League in the New 52, but for the sake of making this film the way they wanted, they simply introduced Shazam/ Billy Batson in Justice League: War instead.
This caused some complaints but the film itself wasn’t that bad. I mean, sure, there wasn’t really very much story. Just a whole lot of “Hi I’m a superhero who are you?” and “Oh there’s a bad guy that’s coming here we gotta fight him.” Luckily there is a healthy balance of story and action in Throne to keep you entertained and invested in the characters.
The voice cast from Justice League: War returns for this epic: Jason O’Mara is Batman. Throne of Atlantis marks his third film as the Caped Crusader and he’s starting to make an impression on fans of the DCAU. Chris Gorham, Shemar Moore, Sean Astin, and Nathan Fillion all return as Flash, Cyborg, Shazam and Green Lantern, respectively. A new Superman voice graces our ears thanks to the talented Jerry O’Connell, and Rosario Dawson picked up the tiara and braces to voice the Amazon princess Wonder Woman. And of course, the King of the Sea, Aquaman, is played by Matt Lanter, whom you might recognize as the voice of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series.
Playing opposite Lanter as the ever-intimidating, power hungry Orm/ Ocean Master is the amazingly talented Sam Witwer. His performance stood out to me as the best. His character is Atlantean royalty, a pureblood in line for the throne who believes he has first right to it. However, his desire for control proves him unsuited for it, leading to the commission of a series of heinous acts with the help of Black Manta, played by Harry Lennix. This amazing cast worked very well together, and as usual, we have voice director Andrea Romano to thank for that.
For the longest time, Aquaman has been given a bad rep. So he can swim underwater and talk to fish, who cares? These things a superhero does not make. Much like the comic book story of its inspiration, Throne of Atlantis shatters all preconceived notions about the character and will make any viewer believe that Aquaman could contend with the likes of Superman on his own – and he can.
The animation style of this film is consistent with previous Spaulding animations. Nice and smooth, the character details are incredible and so are the backgrounds. Atlantis, especially, has some really beautiful scenes that make me wonder if there isn’t really a magical city under the ocean.
The Blu-ray features are definitely not lacking in content. You have access to the absolutely incredible score of the film by Frederik Wiedmann. There’s also a bonus sequence, “Robin and Nightwing,” with commentary by producer James Tucker. It explains what happens to the case Batman is following when he gets called by the League. If you missed the New York Comic Con 2014 panel about the film, you can watch it on the Blu-ray and bring New York Comic Con right into your living room! Villains of the Deep gives you a nice look at Aquaman’s rogues gallery, if you don’t know who they are. Also included on the disc are four Aquaman-centric cartoons from the DC Vault (hint: they are OUTRAGEOUS). Finally, there is a sneak peek at WB Animation’s next feature, Batman vs. Robin. And let us not forget the bonus scene at the end of the credits that teases the next animated Justice League film!
This film was definitely better than some of its predecessors. WB Animation seems to have finally hit their stride with the types of stories they want to tell and how they want to tell them. Therefore they can only get better from here, and what a place to start from!