Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
Justice League:Throne of Atlantis is the latest in a series of direct-to-DVD/VOD feature-length animated releases, and it adapts the storyline of the same name from the Justice League comic book. This feature focuses on Aquaman a.k.a. Arthur Curry (voice-acted here by Matt Lanter), discovering his true Atlantean heritage and , with the Justice League’s help, stopping an invasion on the surface world led by his evil half-brother Orm, also known as Ocean Master. It also serves as a direct sequel to the previous Justice League animated offering entitled simply War.
As a whole Throne of Atlantis is a bit of a mixed bag. excelling in almost as many places as it fails. For instance, the voice cast is for the most part spot on, with fan-favorite Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman and Sean Astin as Shazam, which makes where it stumbles in this regard even more noticeable, like Jerry O’Connell’s rendition of Superman or, even worse because the movie is centered around him, Matt Lanter’s blandly emo reading of Aquaman. How the Leaguers interact with one another is another study in dichotomy. The friendly rivalry between The Flash and Green Lantern is fun and is reminiscent of their relationship in classic comic book pairings, but the Batman/ GL stuff seems like one of the most worn-out of tropes (the rookie who ruins the investigation by stopping the bad guys) that it was hard not to roll my eyes. The Superman/ Wonder Woman relationship does both, managing to feel forced and non-authentic early on but then later offering one of the best character scenes in the movie when Clark and Diana run into Lois Lane while out on a date.
The art fits right in with the anime-influenced style of the most recent DC DVD releases and is a good compromise between the highly-detailed art of the comics upon which it is based and the Alex Toth-inspired “Timm-verse” style that was the hallmark of the DC animated universe for over a decade. The action is well-blocked and choreographed although full of violent content that would probably rate an “R” rating in a feature film, which parents buying this film should be aware of. In the previous DC direct-to-DVD feature, Batman: Assault on Arkham, the high violence level seemed fitting as it was ostensibly a Suicide Squad movie and thus in need of more of a mature feel but in a Justice League feature that appeals more to kids it seems out of place. Its hard to tell whether the filmmakers are trying to appeal to an adult audience or just trying to seem edgy.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is overall kind of hit and miss, with the parts that miss only slightly outweighing the parts that work. If you are a fan of the New 52 version of the Justice League in the comics in general, and a fan of this storyline in particular then this is a must-buy, but more casual Justice League fans can probably safely pass this one by.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is currently available on VOD and will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 27th.
Written by Richard “Chubtoad” Sheldon
Holy bullfrog in my belly Batman! The eleventh episode of Gotham was a solid opening after the holiday hiatus. For me, this series started a bit rocky, but then rode a crescendo through to the tenth episode right before the break. The show kept getting more interesting and well done week over week. By episode ten I was satisfied enough that I could relinquish some forgiveness for the “Balloonman” episode.
Many times through the first ten episodes, Gotham suffered from trying to do too much at once. I was anticipating that issue with “Rogues’ Gallery” wondering if they would try to cram as much into the episode as possible for fan service. Fortunately, this episode did not suffer that, but was a pretty well balanced episode.
As per usual for this show, this episode focuses on several different plot lines. The focus of the episode is Jim Gordon and the twist we left off with that he has been relegated to guard duty at Arkham Asylum. This demotion into guarding hell does not break our hero, but makes Jim more determined to keep his path of setting Gotham right. Something strange is a foot at the ol’ Arkham Asylum! Someone is electro shocking patients to the point of causing an electric lobotomy.
We have several veteran TV actors added in this episode. First we have the somewhat over the top asylum director Dr. Gerry Lang played by Isiah Whitlock Jr. I get that he was a character that was supposed to be stressed and not have patience, but he came off a bit whacked out and overplayed to me. His hobby seems to be making Gordon’s job miserable, but we don’t quite get a motivation for this explained. A Batman comic fixture, Dr. Leslie Tompkins played by the ever so lovely Morena Baccarin of Firefly fame is introduced. Tompkins is a character that I have enjoyed in her various backgrounds and story arcs in the books. She seems perfect in the way this character is being portrayed for the show. I wonder if they will include some aspects from the comics like her dating Alfred, or her being a former colleague of Thomas Wayne.
There was a bit of mis-direction with the nurse actually a patient going on. I had guessed it was her early on, but then we get an interesting twist I did not see coming. It was nice to see Allyce Beasley on TV again. I don’t remember seeing her in anything since Moonlighting. The twist we get regarding Christopher Heyerdahl’s character Jack Gruber was not expected as I stated before. His look gave me a feeling something was up, but the mis-direction worked on me. Does anyone else wonder if he becomes Hugo Strange?
In other areas of the episode we continue to see the unbearable character Fish Mooney weave her plans to take the city’s crime underground. Her scenes bored me. However, we did get some character development with her #2 Butch. His loyalty to Fish is unwavering. The fact that he was willing to do what he did for her speaks volumes about his character. For a minor character in this show, I like him more and more every time he appears.
To truly round out the rogues’ gallery we get some throw away scenes with Cat and Ivy, as well as some humorous scenes regarding the Penguin. What Maroni does in “teaching him a lesson” is downright what you would expect from a crime boss. The look in the Penguin’s eyes though told a story to us the audience that he just added Maroni to his mental list of guys that will pay in the end. Robin Lord Taylor continues to steal every scene he is in.
Finally, more regarding the ridiculous mental breakdown of Barbara is thrown around. It is good that the show is laying the groundwork for her becoming a nut job like in the comics, but I am afraid that they will make her so unlikable that Jim never reunites a relationship with her. No Barbara Gordon equals no Barbara Gordon Jr. which means no Batgirl.
Overall this episode delighted me. We got a nice mystery at Arkham story surrounded with updates to subplots. We had a hint from Dr. Lang that there is more than meets the eye going on at Arkham.
Overall, I was pleased with the episode. There are still issues with the tone of the show, but it is coming together. I think the Jim stuck in Arkham stuff is going to give us better stories and next week looks like it might shake things up!
I would give the episode a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Be sure to tune in next week! Same Gotham time! Same Gotham channel!