JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS
As the tentative attempts to conduct standalone films based on Green Lantern and Wonder Woman have shown, these tend not to be top-sellers for the DC Universe Original Animated Films as much as the tried and true regulars of Batman, Superman and Justice League do. (Although you would think that the popularity of live-action shows such as Arrow (2012 ) and The Flash (2014 ) in the last couple of years would make these ripe properties for standalone films). In much the same way that director Ethan Spauldings previous outing Batman: Arkham Asylum was more a Suicide Squad film than a Batman film, Throne of Atlantis feels like a stealth attempt to conduct an Aquaman film but sold as a Justice League film.
Aquaman has been a regular DC fixture since his first appearance back in 1941 he was even a founding member of the Justice League in 1961. His story has generally remained that of the blonde-haired Arthur Curry born of a union between human Thomas Curry and Atlantean queen Atlanna and with the ability to breathe underwater and communicate with sea life who becomes the king of Atlantis alongside his queen Mera. Other aspects have been added over the years, including the introduction of secondary characters like Aqualad, Aquagirl and an octopus sidekick Topo, as well as Aquamans earlier adventures as Aquaboy. Some of the incarnations from the mid-1980s onwards have messed around with the origin story but this was restored in DCs The New 52 continuity reboot in 2011. Aquaman has for right or wrong become a joke DC superhero for the wimpiness of his powers with snide jokes being made most notably in tvs Entourage (2004-11). Aquaman had previously appeared on screen in various episodes of Justice League/Justice League Unlimited (2001-6) although was notedly not a core member of the League in that incarnation. He made his first live-action appearance in an episode of Smallville (2001-11) played by Alan Ritchson. There was Aquaman (2006), a one-hour tv pilot produced by Warner Brothers starring Justin Hartley, although this failed to go to series. He is due to be incarnated by Jason Momoa in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) with a slated standalone Aquaman film slated for 2018. Certainly, Throne of Atlantis, while not a particularly great DC Universe film, gives us a fair to okay Aquaman origin story and incarnates the character with suitably heroic dignity.
Throne of Atlantis is notedly also a Justice League film that falls into DCs The New 52 reboot and is a direct follow-on from the previous Justice League film Justice League: War in which we saw the formation of the Justice League along the lines of The New 52 continuity. This is continued here as we see Cyborg trying to reunite the group that came together to fight Darkseid in Justice League: War and their eventual choosing of the group name Justice League. I am not a big fan of The New 52 and its often pointless rewriting of standard DC continuity, including a scene here where Lois Lane comes across Superman as Clark Kent out on a date with Wonder Woman where he is trying to introduce her to the idea of maintaining a secret identity. We also get a minor background cameo from John Henry Irons who of course goes onto become Steel.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is a fairly routine DC Universe Original Animated Film. One of the better aspects of vJustice League: War was the snappy banter between the various superheroes as they came together and the various conflicts of personality. There seems to be some of that here notably an amusing scene where Green Lantern gatecrashes Batmans attempts to arrest The Scarecrows gang but this is quickly sidelined. Once we get into action, the superheroic battles seem average for the genre, nothing standout. I also quibble with just how powerful the story ends up making the trident, which even has the power to throw around and cause Superman to bleed. You also end up feeling like much of Orms story and eventual post-credits fate has largely been lifted from that of Loki in Thor (2011) and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.