Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis Reviews
The beginning starts off well. The prologue sets up for the main plot of the movie with a bang. Actually, multiple bangs, booms, and swooshes. We see where the heroes of the previous movie, Justice League: War, are and what they're up to. They all have their fair share of the screen, with the exception of Flash, because although he's in the movie, he wasn't all that important to the story (in fact he wasn't even in the original graphic novel). We get out first talks-to-fish joke when we are introduced to a drunk Arthur Curry having a conversation with a lobster. Good stuff. Good beginning.
So, by the time we see Batman telling Green Lantern to stay out of his way, we're set for seeing the main characters of the movie, and I'm thinking that it's going to be better than Justice League: War. And then, the story just rushes through, misses several key elements that made the original Throne of Atlantis such a thrill to read, creates plot holes the size of the Trench, and "develops" into what's supposed to be a climax, but ends up being a ripoff of Mr. Waternoose's (spelling?) downfall in Monsters Inc. Not how an action movie should end.
First problem: characters. Okay, writers and producers, I understand that you tried to balance out Aquaman's origin story with the Justice League and Throne of Atlantis storyline and that it was a difficult task to do. I wouldn't have minded if the movie was a 2-hour animated feature as long as it was delicious and juicy, like The Flashpoint Paradox. I would take that over 72 minutes of rushed storytelling and black and white characters. Let's talk about Orm. What happened? His character is so much more rich than the evil royal stepbrother that wants to keep the throne for himself. One of the main reasons why Throne of Atlantis was such a good read was Orm's multi-dimensional character. Sure, he drowned three heavily-populated cities, but he thought that he was genuinely defending his people. He was, in a way, a good king to Atlantis, just terribly misguided... actually, more like tricked. Even after being arrested, he didn't seek revenge against his brother. He was just confused and even saved a single mother and her child during a failed prison break. This Orm was nothing like the one that I read about. He was a one-dimensional villain. He killed his own mother out of cold blood, bombed his own people just to make a point, and tried to wipe out the surface world for the sole reason of honoring his father's name. Not even the same guy. That's one character down... out of many.
Who was his partner again? Oh yeah, wait, what? BLACK MANTA?!? Okay, in the comics, he's the nemesis of Aquaman because his father was killed by a young Arthur out of anger. Good reason to hate Aquaman. In this movie, I have no idea what is going on with this guy. Plot hole(s)! What was he doing with the Atlanteans? Why did Dr. Shin call him David, like they were friends or co-workers? And what was the whole taking-over-the-role-of-an-evil-Vulko deal? What was the point of Manta? Especially when all you were going to do with him was kill him off with a great white? That part when Black Manta was in the middle of his monologue about how he planned the attacks and used Orm to take over the world or something, I was as lost as Aquaman in the desert. Pointless. Getting rid of him in the storyboard altogether from the beginning and keeping the coordinator a mystery would've been smarter and a good setup for possible future Aquaman movies.
Moving on to Dr. Shin, who had about 3 minutes max in the movie. You mean to tell me that you couldn't have introduced Dr. Shin without making him a complete stranger to Arthur? Who did Arthur see for medical attention as a child? Did Tom find out about Dr. Shin and write him a letter about Arthur right before he died or something? Ugh. Oh, by the way, he's another important Aquaman character that they killed off in two seconds.
Mera. Oh, Mera. So, I'm guessing that she was an Atlantean in the movie, removing what made her her and gave her hydrokinesis.... I mean water sorcery. I'm sorry, but they also don't explain why Mera can control water but no other Atlantean can. However, this character change is one that I accept because how else will Arthur go to Atlantis?
The big reason why the Throne of Atlantis story was so thrilling was because of the quotes, the action scenes, the characters, and the story combining to make one silver tuna of a graphic novel. But lo and behold, I found the Justice League: Throne of Atlantis climax so... anticlimactic. You're expecting the flood that devastated Boston, Gotham, and Metropolis in the graphic novel to crash on the screen. You see it. Batman, Cyborg, and the Flash see it. The wave comes closer, and closer, and closer, aaaaand it stops right at the shore. And then splits like the Red Sea with Oceanmaster like an evil Moses, trident and all, and a small army. No civilians in the area. Just military. No flood. No sense of disaster or terror, even as the Atlanteans cut through the military like it's nothing, because (let's be honest) we've seen it happen in every alien invasion and kaiju attack before. Now, I thought that this Orm guy was supposed to be evil. Did I miss something? I keep wishing that I did. I have the graphic novel right here, and no matter how many times I look at the art, it never gets boring. That huuge wave lifting up the aircraft carrier like it's nothing and crashing down on the cities, drowning families inside their cars, killing pedestrians on impact, and just doing what a gigantic tidal wave does. The "I AM YOUR KING!" picture that should've been in the movie. Mmmm.
So overall, I thought that the movie was Justice League: War level. Meh. I'm not even going to go into the "only royalty has power over the trident" confusion or the Trench Dwellers' random appearance.
Here's how I would fix it:
Change the prologue. Instead of a human submarine being destroyed by Atlanteans and making humans seem like the absolute good guys, show us Arthur Curry's initial origin, closely following the prologue of the Throne of Atlantis, minus Vulko. Replace his meeting with Vulko with him returning to the lighthouse, grieving the loss of his father and sulking in his failure. He has known Dr. Shin since he was a child, so Shin is no stranger.
Remove Black Manta and Atlanna from the story. Atlanna's presence made Orm the evil stepbrother and Black Manta's existence confused the hell out of me.
Use the Orm that we read about in the book. If we change the story a bit to say that Atlanna and his father were killed by humans early on in his life, even better. It's more personal than using his grandmother and grandfather and let's us understand why he hates humans so much. Top that with pollution, poaching, and weapons testing, and then we completely understand. He'll welcome his brother with open arms when Mera, sent by Orm instead of Atlanna, escorts Arthur there. He'll offer him the throne with tears of joy. Arthur would refuse, and Orm will promise himself to be patient with the surface dwellers after he finds out that Arthur identifies himself as one of them. He gives Arthur the scale armor and the Dead King's Trident as gifts. Of course, everything goes downhill when a mystery hacker (who remains a mystery throughout the film all the way to the end) hacks into a submarine nearby Atlantis and fires missiles directly at it. Orm considers it the last straw and opens up the Atlantean War Plans that he made himself before Arthur's visit, showing that he has a clever mind, unlike the one in the movie. This one involves flooding heavily populated cities along the coast and then having the army charge through.
The Justice Leaguers are introduced at the beginning like in the movie, but since my version would be more of an Arrow or Flash like storytelling style, with flashbacks and heat of action present day scenes. They respond to the floods like they do in the comics.
The League doesn't know Aquaman until the flood and Dr. Stephen Shin decides to show up on the news with info on Atlantis and Batman makes the connection with him and Arthur Curry.
MUST HAVE QUOTE in case you didn't catch it:
I AM YOUR KING!
Imagine saving a chicken from having her head chopped off.
Between this and Batman: Assault on Arkham, gotta love how the animated movies do better in under 90mins then the live action movies have been able to do in almost twice that