Aquaman Review


It’s time to look at DC’s latest superhero movie in their cinematic universe. The universe got off to a rough start with its first few titles not quite hitting it out of the park like you would expect. Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League were all superb films. It wasn’t the quality that was lacking, but for some reason people just weren’t giving it great reviews. They simply weren’t ready for it. Whether this is due to smear campaigning by Marvel and its fans, fans just preferring more of a comedy/action blend for their CBMs, or something else, it is what it is. DC was forced to undergo a change so for Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad they went with Marvel’s approach and made the films more of a action/comedy hybrid. Gone were the darker, more thought provoking CBMs and we were more in line with the norm. In Wonder Woman’s case it succeeded and based on the films coming up it seems like DC will be sticking with this approach. Well, there’s nothing wrong with it. If it works for Marvel it can work for DC. Still, I think I will miss those original 3 films. (With Justice League’s original cut never quite being seen but what we got still had fair amount of its original identity I suppose) Aquaman is a solid film and if the rest are as good then DC will be in good hands.

The film starts off with a nice action scene as Aquaman’s mother Atlanna fights off a bunch of guards. I always think that a good way to spice up the origin story is by having the parents actually be secretly good fighters. In this case Atlanna is the one who does the fighting and she is quite good at it. It’s a nice way to start the movie and then she leaves to go back to Atlantis to die for her crimes of having a kid with a mere surface dweller. We then cut to the present where Aquaman has embraced his gifts as a defender of Earth. He grabs some drinks and saves people who are nearby. You could say that he is a local hero. That all changes when Mera shows up. She is the princess of Atlantis and explains to a reluctant Aquaman that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Atlantis is on the brink of war with Earth and if that happens then there will be big consequences. Most likely Earth would win since Superman could vaporize everyone, but that would be a last resort like the Snap and so by then everyone would have died. Aquaman must claim his birthright as King to put a stop to this. Can Aquaman really do this? He’ll have to put the bottle down and become something he’s always feared becoming. Something even greater than a king…a Super Hero!

It is said that films rise and fall on their supporting casts. It can be relatively easy to make a good main character (Not to trivialize this. Good writing is key to any character) but creating good supporting characters is a lot tougher. Particularly in a one shot film or the first in a series since they won’t get as much screen time as the lead and must be developed so that they are not simply walking tropes of characters with little personality. Fortunately, Aquaman does well in this area, especially as I am still not sold on Aquaman himself.

I will acknowledge that Aquaman is far improved from his portrayal in Justice League. There he was just very annoying and you almost wished that he wasn’t in it. Here we at least see why he became such a loud persona…even if that doesn’t make him much more tolerable. Here’s the problem with Aquaman, and he points this out himself. He’s good at beating people up and heading home. When that doesn’t work he is out of options and as he learns in this film, it usually isn’t enough. He loses in almost every fight that he gets into in Aquaman as the moral of the film is to fight creatively and to use his other gifts. It’s not Aquaman’s fault that he’s losing, but he takes the “not very smart” character a little far. He doesn’t seem as earnest or interesting as other leads. I won’t go as far as to call him a bad lead, but there’s nothing that makes him stand out. In a world of dynamic characters like Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Steve Rogers, and Clark Kent, there really isn’t any way for Aquaman to stand out. This is actually one of the few problems Justice League 2 may face. The trinity are rock solid, but the other members have a long way to go before they are all that good.

Backing up into the supporting lineup is where the true fighters are. Mere’s water manipulation abilities have always been very potent and the film illustrates why that is. She can shoot water with enough concussive blast to knock out an Atlantean. She can conjure up water from just about anywhere. If she is fighting someone underwater then there is no way she can lose. Mera could have easily beaten all of the enemies in the film, but the only reason she did not is because of the tribal traditions of the clan it wouldn’t have defused the war. As a result she needed Aquaman to help out. Still, Mera’s skills are never in doubt and she has to save him quite a few times. I’m already hoping that she will show up in Justice League 2 as she could hold her own against some of the villains.

Yes, this does force me to quickly sidetrack into one of the film’s weaknesses..the romance. The romance with Aquaman and Mera really feels undeserved and just falls flat. It all happens fairly quick with no real reason for them to pair up. It’s just there to check the box but cut the romance out and I don’t think anything would actually change. There just isn’t much to it. It could have been a lot worse so I’ll give the film credit for showing some restraint. Still, it should not have even been a factor.

Back to supporting characters. Vulko made for a pretty good mentor. While he isn’t the strongest fighter out there, he’s a good tactician and manages to keep the peace for as long as possible. He’s fortunate that Orm isn’t completely evil like other villains or he could have really been doomed. Meanwhile, Orm makes for a good villain. Villains don’t always need to have some tragic backstory or extra development to be good. Sometimes, they can simply be total villains with no reason for it and that works out well. Finally, you have the villains who believe they are fighting for a noble cause or that the ends justify the means. In Orm’s case, he makes a compelling argument for why war is needed. The humans have been polluting the oceans for a long time and show no signs of slowing down. If they don’t do anything then the war will be lost before it ever begins.

Of course, the Atlanteans could have at least tried to negotiate first. After all, as they point out several times the humans don’t even know they exist. Alerting them to this presence would at least open up a channel of dialogue. Then if the humans attack (and they will) the Atlanteans can counter and they will be within their rights. Still, as a backup option at least Orm is right that attacking now and sending a message will protect them from destruction. It’s not a heroic goal and Orm knows it, but protecting his people is his top concern. The film never shows him to be crazy, deluded, or ineffective. He’s on the wrong side, but otherwise he is a capable leader and that’s a good thing.

Then we have Nereus who is quick to join Orm’s cabal. It turns out that he is also looking for war and that’s reasonable. I do think he is quick to falter towards the end, but I suppose traditions are important. He’s not as cool as the other two big villains in the film, but he’s not bad. Then we have Black Manta who is the best of the villains. I’m all for a good villain revenge story. Most of the time it isn’t justified and can be a bit of a stretch in logic on the villain’s part, but regardless it makes for good motivation. Especially if the villain plays the long game and takes a long time to train and get stronger before seeking revenge. At that point, nothing will stop him/her from succeeding.

Sasuke Uchiha, Neo (RWBY), Broly, and many more. Villains whose whole ambitions have been turned to revenge over things done to them or their loved ones make for superb villains. It’s not a “Every villain who falls into this category is awesome) kind of thing, but if written well it’s hard to stop. A good way to sabotage this motive is to have the villain take it out on a target who isn’t a part of their revenge. If it’s someone getting in their way then that’s one thing. However, trying to attack the hero’s friends to get a reaction out of them is murky as it can make the villain a little hypocritical and can destroy whatever message they were trying to send. If they’ve got a problem with someone then that’s where it should stay. Manta blames Aquaman for murdering his father and is certainly right that it was murder. (He never goes after anyone else during this revenge tour which is important) Letting someone die when you can save them is only different from actively murdering the person in terms of scope. The latter is certainly putting you in as a bad guy while the former could be explained by a moment of cowardice or aggression. Naturally, those aren’t excusable, but I will concede that the latter is still worse just as a full lie is worse than a white lie. It’s all semantics though and at the end of the day I can see why Manta would want Aquaman dead. He does a good job gearing up for the second round and whenever he is on screen it’s a blast to watch. I look forward to seeing him in the sequel.

Atlanna is also a scene stealer whenever she shows up. Her role was handled extremely well and she gets the credit she deserves. While she may technically be lacking in raw power compared to Mera or Aquaman, she certainly makes up for this in talent and experience. You don’t get the idea that mother time has caught up to her. She’s older now, but still a fighter. Then we’ve also got the giant monster near the end who is quite solid. Honestly if the monster had died at the end I would have been pretty upset. Aquaman basically has him take a lot of extra hits which seemed to be causing a bit of effect towards the end. This monster seems pretty OP so it’ll be interesting to see how he is handled in future appearances.

I think that’s pretty much all of the big characters. It’s a nice roster as I mentioned earlier. As for the soundtrack, it’s less memorable than some of the other DC films but it wasn’t bad. I just seriously cannot think of any themes off the top of my head. As long as they weren’t bad then that’s the important thing I suppose. As for the writing, it’s decent to good. The characters are written well of course while the romance is lacking a bit. I do think that most of the jokes didn’t land though. At times the film tries a little hard to be funny, but doesn’t yet have the rapid fire dialogue that adds to the humor in some of the Marvel titles. It is naturally a tricky balance with the humor of course since there are no many different kinds. Unless it’s a dirty joke I wouldn’t dock the film any points for it. So, while the humor wasn’t the most effective, it doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the film one way or the other here.

Naturally there is an after credits scene here. It’s very low key but not a bad scene. I think the problem is that with how great some of the previous after credits scenes have been over the years it’s hard to go back to simpler days. Still, this will always beat the alternative of not having such a scene and I do think the sequel should be pretty fun. Aquaman is also the kind of character who is pretty tough, but could certainly be beaten is taken by surprised or overwhelmed before getting to the water so this villain could be a legitimate threat. I was hoping for a Justice League stinger, but I think DC isn’t totally sure what to do with those characters as of yet so I don’t expect we will see Superman or Batman for a while. I’m hoping that at least Wonder Woman can still pop up from time to time to keep the group united and ready to fight though.

Overall, Aquaman is a solid film. It’s got a good amount of action and works out well as an origin film. Since Aquaman already showed up in Justice League at least the origin was relatively quick. The scenes that we did get weren’t too long which is always good. The pacing is on point and the supporting cast is solid. I won’t say that the film is amazing, but it’s a fun watch and has a good amount of replay value so you could certainly see it again. I think that is almost as important as being a good movie since a true “good” movie should be one that you can see more than once. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I would recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

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The SIlver Age Justice League of America Volume 1 Review


It’s finally time for another really old comic. This is from the good ole Silver Age…as you probably gathered from the title. This was a great age for comics and DC in particular as the Justice League had a superb roster and Superman was still nigh invincible. Of course, every villain and even the D listers had Kryptonite back in the day so it balanced out. It’s certainly a great comic collection and while it can get a little formulaic at times, it’s great to see these classic stories. It’s also interesting to see that Superman is the strong member as well as the smart one this time.

There are definitely a large variety of stories to be found here. They are all fairly formulaic so it is good that the writing is on point as it could get a little old otherwise. For example, one comic has a villain pit the Justice League against a group of other villains who were getting in his way. He sends them off in pairs to fight and each team goes up against a tricky situation where they end up coming out on top after each member is able to do something to help. There’s never a change to the formula with a character actually losing. It stays completely true to this and then in the end the team gets together and saves the day. It is very predictable, but it’s not something that actually ends up hurting the issue. I would enjoy seeing the issues stray from the format a little, but this works well enough.

Before talking about the issues a little more, lets talk about the art and the characters a little more. The art is consistent and all of the characters are in their iconic designs. This was definitely the classic era of DC and it’s cool to see all of the characters together. I can imagine that fans were incredibly hyped to see the team together. While this is volume one, the characters already know each other and the team is formed so I’m assuming that they came together in a different title. One comic has them all go into their secret identities which was also cool since they got to bring supporting characters along for the ride. The fight scenes all look solid and this art style will always be a lot of fun. It’s clear and easy to read.

Due to the writing being so sharp for this collection, all of the characters are fairly likable. Even someone like Martian Manhunter, who I am certainly not a fan of, is acceptable here. I still find him rather bland next to the other characters and his weakness against fire is so easily exploited, but he’s not super arrogant here and is a decent team member. Flash is solid as always and his speed is more consistent than the strengths of the other heroes. There are less excuses for villains to exploit it which really works in his favor. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Green Lantern since literally anything that is yellow ends up messing with him. It happens quite a lot and he is the only hero who had to watch from the sidelines during the climax of the final adventure. He even mentions how he is sad that he couldn’t help out, but the other heroes cheer him up.

Wonder Woman’s only real weakness is that she loses her powers when she is tied up, but that never actually happens here so she does fairly well. She may still not be as strong as Superman, but she’s certainly a heavy hitter on the team. Naturally, the big two really steal the show here. Superman is great as always even if he gets less screentime than the other members. He is always very confident and isn’t afraid to call the other team members out if something appears to be off. He seems quite upset when he returns from a wild goose chase until he learns that it was all part of the plan. Superman is also shown to be super smart as he always knows what is going on even when Batman is forced to ask questions.

Of course, Batman looks great as well. He may not have super powers, but his gadgets always come in handy and he is still shown to be one of the smart members. He always has something up his sleeve and the team wouldn’t be the same without him. Finally we have Aquaman. His weakness is the most exploitable so the issues always have very forced moments where the villains sprinkle him with water so the hero won’t die. After all, Aquaman must make contact with water once every hour or he will perish so for the issues where he is knocked out for a few hours…..things happen. In one issue, we find out that his chair has an automatic sprinkler which blasts Aquaman with water every hour so even if he is tied up for a while, he ends up being okay. The other heroes find water for him as well once in a while, but you’ll really expect him to die on a mission one of these days. There are so many situations where water just isn’t around for a little while. It’s hard to get past that. Luckily, I believe that a lot of the modern comics got rid of this weakness or at least lessened it.

There are also some rare guest stars here like Green Arrow and Adam Strange. It was nostalgic to see Strange return since I read a lot of his adventures back in the day. He handled the situation well even if the ending was rather tragic for him as per usual. You’ll feel bad for Green Arrow when he shows up since he gets framed quite a bit (Although he could have defended himself a little better) and the whole team is eager to jump on him. They don’t doubt that something may be off for a second and are pretty harsh with the guy. It’s easy to see why he is rarely on the team. I certainly wouldn’t be eager to join after this issue.

One of the stories has a guy hypnotize the Justice League. He did a pretty good job of it as he simply tricked all of the Leaguers into running right to where he was and they all fell instantly. He then sold the JL members to local gangsters so that the League could steal things for them. The gangsters then decided to compete with each other so they had pairs of League members (formula) head to each artifact, where they then got to fight with each other. I’m always up for some good JL fights, but unfortunately, they all essentially ended as ties. The heroes then realized that what they were going to steal was already gone, which is why they had no reason to battle. The only match that was almost definitive was probably Martian Manhunter vs Wonder Woman, where the former certainly had the edge before it was interrupted. It was a fun story although the Justice League certainly didn’t look great that time. They tend to greatly underestimate their foes.

Of course, this collection also has some very iconic stories like the Starro Invasion as well as that time where Despero infiltrated JL headquarters and telepathically defeated all of its members. Flash then had to play the ultimate chess game with his friends hanging in the balance. Flash wasn’t pleased, but he is a good Chess player so he was prepared for this. Another story had Snapper find out about an alien plot to take over the world so he phones the Justice League in. Unfortunately, they were defeated rather easily and lost their confidence and physical abilities after being distorted by a magical trick mirror. (Close enough) Good thing Aquaman was at the ready!

The only character here who could be a little annoying at times was Snapper. It’s cool to see him as a hero since he is typically just a TV reporter who likes to insult the heroes. It was quite the switch, but his “hip” dialogue could be a little over the top at times. He also uses his snapping gimmick too often and just about all of his screen time is used up on this. I believe that just about all of the other human sidekicks have been more fun, but at least Snapper always takes the subtle burns fairly well. Nothing that the JL tells him ever manages to get the kid down.

Overall, Most of the other stories are fairly similar to the ones that I listed above. The JL is constantly kidnapped and forced to go to various places or they decide to split up and gather artifacts. Whatever the narrative reason, the team uses this excuse to split into pairs and then solve the mission. Perhaps every issue was treated as a special team up and this formula made it easier for the writers to think of new ideas. One idea would become 5 whole plots after all. It could have been more unique, but having the world’s greatest heroes teaming up will never get old. I highly recommend checking out these Silver Age comics and remembering how it started DC on such a great path.

Overall 8/10

Justice League Throne of Atlantis Review

justice-league-throne-of-atlantis
Well, the sequel to Justice League War has finally arrived. I was not thrilled with the shift into the New 52 lineup from the start and this title definitely doesn’t help. It’s easily the worst Justice League film to date and that’s a pretty sad title to achieve. With such a great cast, it isn’t hard to make any Justice League film an elite, but this just shows how important a good writing staff/director is. All right, let’s look at why this film didn’t succeed.

A submarine is travelling through the waters when the crew is murdered by several underwater beings. The missiles are stolen so the Justice League is brought in to investigate. Meanwhile, Prince Orm is riling up Atlantis to go and face the surface dwellers. The Queen is keeping him in check, but for how long? Aquaman must leave the life that he has led on the surface to realize his destiny as an Atlantean. The players are all moving towards the climax where a confrontation shall be had!

For this review, I’m going to do some damage control before I get into the many negatives. One positive is that Batman doesn’t get hit during the film. He may as well be invincible since nobody can stop him. The flip side to this is that Batman never even gets to throw a punch this time. He’s basically in this film for star power since he doesn’t really have a role. He looks pretty good in his scenes, which is a plus. He gives up a little quickly on the flooding issue, but that just shows how dicey the situation was.

Another positive for the film is the animation. It still looks pretty good like in Justice League War. The battle scenes all flow pretty smoothly and there isn’t really anything negative to say about the animation. The character designs are another matter. They all look below average to be honest and it’s like they aren’t even trying in the New 52. Superman’s is probably the worst, but there’s something about GL’s that just isn’t appealing. At least, compared to his real uniform. Aquaman looks good, but he doesn’t have much of a costume to change here.

Are there more positives? Well, I’m sure we’ll find some as we go through the negatives. It’s time for some real talk folks so strap yourselves in because this roller coaster is about to begin its free fall! It’s hard to know where to start, but let’s begin with the romance section. Having Wonder Woman and Superman get together is completely pointless and it’s insulting to the fans. I grew up with the classic days where Superman made sure to keep everyone in the friend zone. He was firm about this so that villains couldn’t use his friends as targets. That was the Superman that I know. His pairing with Wonder Woman is wince worthy at best and it makes both of the characters look pretty awful here. More on that during their individual sections. Cyborg randomly gets a pairing as well and it’s just as sad. Superheroes don’t need rushed romances to keep the audience engaged and it just makes things sadder for us…the fans!

DC’s decided that their new films are going to be a lot more violent than the older ones. This started out with Flashpoint and I’m sure that we all remember the films that came afterwards. Well, Throne of Atlantis tries to compete with those as the blood runs like water here. The fight scenes will make you think that you’re watching Mortal Kombat considering how many beheadings and diemembering appear in the film. Everyone gets stabbed at some point. Superman begins to bleed for no real reason when he gets zapped by the staff and let’s not forget the hand to hand scenes. The film adds some noises like the sound of a jaw breaking to make the scenes more “intense.” Aquaman really beats up on the normal joes and it’s the kind of fight scene that could easily be done without the extra effects. DC says gritty and I say unnecessary. The overload of violence is just distracting and it really takes away from the film. It definitely makes the title unsuitable for kids and it is definitely a very strong PG 13 so you’ll want to be careful with your teenagers as well. It’s probably not the most violent DC film to date, but it certainly tries hard to achieve that spot. So, the fights are pretty streamlined and flashy, but the violence hurts them pretty badly. They may be trying to send a message to Marvel’s animated features, but this blurs that message.

The writers also seemed to want to suck the philosophical questions that the comic had so they made Prince Orm a one dimensional villain. He is not a nice guy by any stretch of the imagination and he’s just your average super villain who wants to destroy everything. Once he gets the staff of power, he just goes around beating everyone up. His design also looks pretty fake as if the film is adding insult to injury. You’ll probably want to boo him off the stage since he’s so generic and not very intimidating.

Black Manta is also here, but he doesn’t serve much of a purpose either. He gets a brief fight with Aquaman, but he is humiliated and we remember that the Aquaman hype train will not be derailed until the next film. for quite a while. I’m fine with it since that’s handled pretty well, but Black Manta should have known that he was outmatched. He was just very sub par here.

That transitions into another area where the film needed some help. The writing. We’ve got violence, but that doesn’t make the film gritty enough right? Time to throw in some language! There aren’t many big swears, but the ones that are there were definitely added to show how edgy the villains are. Black Manta and a throwaway villain in Gotham just use the word for no discernible reason. They’re just using it because they can and I always attribute that to bad writing. The writers of today sometimes realize that they can’t match the ones from the Bogart and Bacall days so they don’t even bother. Adding in swear words is one of the ultimate cop outs.

The movie is definitely a lot different from the original comic and unfortunately, it is much worse. We don’t really get any action scenes since most of the “fights” just result in the Leaguers decimating hundreds of mindless monsters or watching the flip side of that. The only real fight for the League is at the end against Ocean Master and that one’s wince worthy due to plot hax. The movie also takes away any sense of danger since they erase the flood scene. It’s odd because it’s hyped up as the villains bring a giant tsunami towards Metropolis, but then they just part the waves dramatically and decide to attack the city on foot. It’s probably one of the most foolish decisions that I have ever seen in a film and it’s embarrassing for them. There is literally no point to using such a tactic and you’re basically giving the heroes a chance to fight back this way. Batman’s big “People are going to die” moment from the comic just doesn’t work this time since only a few soldiers are taken out during the battle. Not quite the amount of casualties that we were expecting huh? Cyborg’s drama about going through with the operation to replace his lung? It’s taken out here as he just says yeah from the start. The film wanted to speed along through everything.

The pacing is very quick, but a little too much so this time. The film is barely over an hour so it rushes through Aquaman’s origin so that they can have Ocean Master take the stage. This results in every area of the film feeling rushed since nothing is developed so that they can go to the next scene. The Justice League get the shaft at times because of this and you’ll find yourself just waiting for them to come back. The longest draught is when Batman and Superman leave to investigate. They don’t appear again for what feels like 10-15 minutes since it’s time for Aquaman’s subplot. This is the kind of film that should have easily been 2 hours and I think that it would have helped the film tremendously.

One of the biggest problems is the power level issues that are found here. Wonder Woman lands a direct punch on Ocean Master and it does virtually no damage while Aquaman is able to land some killer blows. Wonder Woman is stronger than Aquaman and the opening scene of the film practically proves this. Aquaman has trouble with random grunts and that’s pretty sad. They land a lot of hits and they don’t defeat Aquaman, but he certainly doesn’t look as strong as Wonder Woman or Superman. Superman looks particularly terrible as he is beaten down two times without doing any real damage. The first time, he grabs Ocean Master’s scepter….big mistake. He is quickly zapped and loses in a single blow. I think we can all agree that Superman doesn’t go down with one shot and especially not to someone like this. The Flash is naturally tripped and that sidelines him for the rest of the film. A random trip…he didn’t even get zapped! Green Lantern is swamped by minions like in War and when he breaks out he is quickly taken out with a zap. Cyborg is stabbed because he was too slow to dodge and Shazam gets one shotted by the lightning as well. (Shazam’s lightning did no damage of course) Aquaman gets in more hits than the rest of the Leaguers, but he is also stabbed and taken out of action.

Batman doesn’t get to fight Ocean Master, which may be a good thing since we can tell that the writers did not know what they were doing. Instead of a satisfying ending where one of the heroes beats Ocean Master, we basically just get a betrayal plot twist. (Not for the fans, but for the Atlanteans) This finishes with a blind side punch from one of the heroes. Now they can all remember how they were crushed but won with a sucker punch. That’s not a good way to end the film and it’s pretty depressing for the heroes. There is an after credit scene that has some potential for a good sequel, but we’ll see what arc this film tries to adapt. If it really is Trinity War, then it will likely be an even looser adaption this time around.

As I mentioned, Batman was kept in character here. Cyborg is still not very likable and he has a new subplot where he’s very cold to people. He’s a machine after all, but he eventually warms up to everyone and gets a romance going. That was pretty terrible. Shazam still looks really bad and his voice is very high pitched. You can’t take him seriously and he doesn’t have the Wisdom of Shazam here. His character just doesn’t make sense as it’s still Billy’s mind just with an adult form. He looks pretty bad and he’s not likable either.

The Flash is basically perfect and it’s too bad that he doesn’t get to have more action scenes. He’s certainly one of the strongest members of the team and there is no opponent that should be confident of his chances against the speedster. Green Lantern is pretty similar to his portrayal in War, but he still seems to be portrayed as one of the weaker links. He doesn’t get beaten up on a lot like in the last film, but he still needs some work if he’s going to be a good hero. It’s sad because he is usually a great character, but I’ll have to say goodbye to that version.

Wonder Woman is technically good, but she really gets 0 character apart from the romance plot. We’re reminded that she is a good warrior when she is slashing away at the villains of course, but that’s about it. I just can’t forget that plot with Superman so she is certainly one of the least likable characters. This applies to Superman as well, who really seems like a shell of his former self. He talks about how he’s going to make one of the villains eat his weapon and it’s lines like that, which makes this new version of Superman hard to identify with. He talks tough, but he’s typically just showing off or getting beaten up. It’s hard to really be a fan of him here and he gets to sink just like Wonder Woman.

Aquaman looks pretty good here, but he does fall into the romance plot with Mera way too quickly. You have to realize that the film mostly takes place over the span of a single day…so that’s a reeeeally rushed romance. Aquaman doesn’t betray the League like he did in the comic so he’s a lot more heroic here. He does what needs to be done and Aquaman turns out to be a good fighter. There’s really nothing negative to say about him aside from the rushed romance. Likewise, Mera is certainly a capable fighter and she does well when needed. Her water abilities are very potent and they make her a lethal fighter to be up against.

Seeing the Justice League get to form for a second time was pretty fun. The film actually started out decently well with this plot since the daily trip to Gotham was pretty intense as per usual. Seeing GL go to fetch Batman was definitely in character since he wasn’t going to let the dark knight skip a meeting this time. Gotham always has a certain edge to it that distinguishes the city from the rest and we also get some of the best animation featured in that moment. Not bad Batman…not bad! It’s a little disappointing to see how irresponsible Superman and Wonder Woman were though. We can naturally understand why Batman and GL didn’t show up at the meeting, but why wouldn’t the power hitters come? You can make the case that they didn’t hear the signal…but that’s highly unlikely. Ah well, more time for those two characteres to sink I suppose.

Lois and Jimmy were two characters who had no purpose in this film, but it’s time for the review to start winding down. Ultimately, the film was just plagued with too many negatives for me to really call it a good film. Take away the Justice League and it’s probably a bad film. The iconic characters are what keeps it afloat,m but the actual handling of this otion picture just wasn’t up to par with what you would expect. The film is also extremely light on meaningful action and I would be disappointed if the upcoming live action film had a similar climax. I’m expecting big things from that title and I don’t want to be disappointed! There isn’t much of a soundtrack to be found here so I’ll skip that.

Overall, Throne of Atlantis is pretty disappointing. These could be dicey times for DC. The box art isn’t very good and it follows that live action feel that I’m not a fan of. The violence is way over the top to try to make the film gritty and I had problems with just about every scene. The final fight must be one of the most inaccurate moments in all of cinema. The animation looks nice and the main characters are mostly all pretty likable, but that’s just not good enough to help the film this time. I recommend just skipping this one and watching Crisis on Two Earths yet again. That film never gets old!

Overall 5/10

Aquaman Volume 3 Throne of Atlantis Review

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The Throne of Atlantis film is coming up soon so let’s take a look at the source material. I think DC could do better with other Justice League stories, but this is one of the best ones to pick if you want to start establishing Aquaman as a big player again. After all, he’s essentially the main character here so he gets a lot of screentime. It’s a fun Justice League story to read even if it’s not a game changer.

The collection starts off with a quick glimpse into Aquaman’s past and how he rejected the throne to live above ground. He had some adventures as he hid his powers and he just faded away into obscurity. Well, that doesn’t last long as Aquaman is forced back onto the field when the Atlanteans decide to attack the surface world. Gotham and Metropolis are some of the targets, but ultimately the human race itself is in the crossfire. The Justice League retaliate and Aquaman is forced to choose between his allies and his people.

The New 52 may get a lot of criticism from consumers, but the art has never been a problem. This graphic novel continues DC’s trend of having great art in its titles. It is easily still some of the best artwork in the business and you could almost read the graphic novel for that alone. The fight scenes really pop out at you and all of the character designs are spot on. There are no questionable looks (Superman in vs the Elite) that will have you take a step back. This is the Justice League as they were meant to be seen.

One of the big worries for this arc was the fact that there are no powerful villains in it. At least, this was a concern of mine. How would Superman even be challenged? (Rhetorical question as well since I was well aware of what would happen to him before I read the comic) Unfortunately, a not very subtle mix of plot hax and villain hype is the comic’s solution. Ocean Master even landing a hit on Batman is another story altogether! I think that the writers do need to be very careful when including villains who can’t even level a city to be the opponent of the Justice League. Keep in mind that Green Lantern and the Flash are busy so the Justice League is weakened at the moment, but the Atlanteans are not a threat.

They are a threat in the sense that they will do a lot of damage to the cities, but they aren’t a threat to the heroes. You won’t think for a second that they will be able to take out the superheroes. It’s just not going to happen. As for their invasion, they will deal a lot of damage, but the government in DC is actually pretty competent when necessary. I’m sure that Amanda Waller and her various groups of heroes/villains would be able to drive the invaders back. A lot of civilians would be taken out, but that part is inevitable since this is a war.

Naturally, this does affect the fight scenes. We actually don’t get a whole lot of action here. We have a brief dispute with Aquaman and a short fight with the Ocean Master at the end, but that’s about it. Most of the comic involves Aquaman’s history and the fight against the Atlanteans. The art and character portrayals still keep this as an above average comic with room to spare, but I would have liked to have seen some more action.

Batman’s portrayed very well as he’s still the smart member of the group and he’s not about to back down when the going gets tough. His role isn’t huge, but he still plays a pretty big role in protecting Gotham and getting Aquaman to see that what he’s doing is madness. His scene with Ocean Master does leave a lot to be desired though and it felt like the writers didn’t know how to actually make Batman lose. Truth be told, it’s a pretty tough feat to accomplish.

Superman also looks pretty great and we get to see a solid glimpse of his heat vision. The only problem is that his vaunted strength isn’t enough to help him endure a lightning blast when it should have been easy for him. If Batman could live through such a blast, there’s no way that Superman would be knocked out. Magic or no magic. (Wonder Woman was also knocked out and she has a pretty good immunity to magic so there’s that as well) Superman was definitely nerfed here, but his portrayal was still pretty spot on aside from one issue that I will address.

Wonder Woman has been upgraded to Superman level in the New 52 although some may try to say that she was always this strong. Wonder Woman has been tough for a long time, but her lack of speed has typically kept her a little under Superman’s level. Their speed seems to be more or less equalized under normal circumstances so she’s definitely a heavy hitter here. She seems to be a little quicker to strike with lethal blows as opposed to the rest of the League, but she is a warrior first and foremost. She was a pretty solid character as well, but she had the same negative as Superman.

The negative is the rushed romance between the two heroes. We don’t really need a Superman and Wonder Woman pairing since it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the grand scheme of things. There’s just no point and teammates should know that it’s better to just stay friends rather than risking it all falling apart before their eyes. It’s simply not worth it and the comic didn’t need to add the romance to sell some more copies. I’m sure that sales were good enough and the brief spike wouldn’t last for very long. That was too bad.

Aquaman is the main character, but it’s hard to root for him at times. Choosing to attack the Justice League was not the right call. It’s true that he was actually making a little progress before they jumped in, but I doubt that the Ocean Master would have ultimately backed down. At that point, Aquaman just needed to follow Batman’s lead since the Dark Knight typically handles these situations pretty well. Aquaman is pretty tough and it’s good to see him actually trade blows with Superman and Wonder Woman, but I don’t think for a second that he could actually hold his own against them in a prolonged battle. I’m also unsure about his decision to just abandon Atlantis to live on the surface world. The whole thing was a little odd and you can’t help, but feel bad for the Atlanteans. It’s sad when you can sympathize more with the main villain than with the main character. Aquaman’s decision to banish Ocean Master to Earth was just adding insult to injury. Aquaman’s a good character overall, but you can’t forget how he was so quick to attack the Justice League. I wouldn’t trust him all that much after this if I was one of the heroes.

Ocean Master is the main villain and the comic portrayed him very differently than what you may be used too. He is played by another character into attacking the surface world and he’s really doing it to help the Atlanteans. He willingly stepped down from the throne the first time Aquaman went to Atlantis and he seems like a pretty reasonable villain. He was willing to talk to Aquaman during the war and he wasn’t the raving madman that you would have expected. He was calm and he made some valid points about how the surface world is always attacking the ocean. (BP does a good job of that on their own with the big oil spills!) I actually liked Ocean Master to a degree. He’s certainly not going to become one of my favorite DC villains, but he’s good enough to be an interesting antagonist and I’m wondering how the film is going to portray him. I have a feeling that he’ll be more evil and less sympathetic in the animated version, but I suppose that we’ll find out soon enough. He is very weak though so he needs a significant amount of plot hax during each of his fights. He’s really just a guy with mild super strength and a thunder staff.

Throne of Atlantis was a pretty fun Justice League adventure and if you just think of it as an Aquaman arc, then it’s probably the best one yet. I do miss the Flash and Green Lantern since the League is pretty incomplete without them. Cyborg gets a very brief role where he loses more of his humanity to save the league. It was supposed to be very emotional, but it didn’t seem too tragic when you really think about it since he didn’t lose any parts of his soul. This is still an Aquaman arc first and foremost so that’s one of the only reasons why it’s okay that the Justice League’s role was decently small at times. I do think that the government should have stepped in a little sooner with their super weapons to deal with the Atlanteans, but all’s well that ends well.

Overall, Throne of Atlantis is a pretty good story. There is not a whole lot of fight scenes to keep you occupied, but we have action in other ways like the giant flood that the Atlanteans cause when they start to invade. Ocean Master is actually a pretty compelling villain and aside from a brief romance between Superman and Wonder Woman, the Justice League were portrayed accurately. The artwork is stunning as always and there weren’t any really big negatives here. The collection was fun/decently long read from start to finish and I’m looking forward to seeing how the animated feature turns out. We already know that there will be some significant changes to it will be interesting to see how this affects things in the long run. Now’s your chance to see the New 52 Aquaman so this is a must read!

Overall 8/10

Eel (DC) vs Aquaman


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Thanks to a fun comic book site by the name of Arousing Grammar, I became aware of a DC villain who calls himself the Eel. He’s an Aquaman villain and we don’t have a whole lot of them over on the blog so I thought that it would be nice to have this match. The Eel (DC) may not be a great character, but his design is certainly great and his telepathic abilities make him a dangerous fighter. Of course, he’s no match for Aquaman’s super strength and underwater abilities. Aquaman wins.

Aquaman vs Graves


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Aquaman possesses a great degree of physical strength and Graves won’t be able to stop him. Graves has taken many opponents down in the past, or at least had some temporary wins. That just won’t be enough to stop someone of Aquaman’s level and Graves will be taking a hard loss. Aquaman has taken on Superman in the past after all! Aquaman wins.

Aquaman vs Teridax


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Aquaman is a powerful fighter, but Teridax possesses many abilities to make this a tough fight. Aquaman would be able to take him in a close combat fight, but Teridax has a lot of abilities that can enable him to keep Aquaman away for a while. Aquaman’s scepter is a good defense, but it would be tough to keep Teridax away for long. Teridax wins.

Aquaman vs Sylar


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Sylar has a lot of powerful abilities, but Aquaman will just prove too be too experienced. He’s fought many opponents and his strength is pretty impressive. Once he was able to land some good shots on Superman and Wonder Woman, plus his speed is also pretty good. This is one match that I don’t think Sylar can win. Aquaman wins.

Kyle Rayner vs Aquaman


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Kyle Rayner is now up against the mighty Aquaman. Aquaman’s been taking on some pretty powerful opponents lately, but I still don’t think he would be a match for Kyle Rayner. Kyle Rayner’s taken on his share of powerful enemies as well. Kyle Rayner wins.

Superman vs Aquaman


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Aquaman may be strong, but he’s definitely no Superman! Superman just needs one good punch to knock this guy out of the ballpark. Aquaman definitely can’t compete with Superman’s speed, power, or even his hand to hand skills. They don’t call Superman, the Man of Steel for nothing! Superman wins.