A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is a 2015 animated feature that tells the origin story of Aquaman. The man who later becomes known as Aquaman is shown in a dive bar in Maine getting extremely drunk while mourning the recent passing of his father. As he drinks, he tries to make conversation with a lobster floating in a tank before getting into a prolonged fight with a group of longshoremen -- with punches, kicks, beatings with clubs, characters thrown around, beaten and bloodied. The next morning, he's shown to be extremely hung over. Two characters are shown getting stabbed to death. One of the bad guys is killed by a shark. Some profanity is heard, including "s--t." Some of the demonic imagery might be a bit much for younger and more sensitive viewers. The movie also explores one of the lead characters in the aftermath of his parents' death -- something that could be difficult for families facing a similar situation.
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What's the story?
JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS begins in the Marianas Trench, where the USS California submarine is attacked, her crew killed. Upon receiving the news, Cyborg goes off to find out what happened. He's later joined by the other members of the Justice League, and Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson) identifies the attackers as warriors from Atlantis. In Atlantis, Queen Atlanna tries to maintain peace, but her son Prince Orr, as well as Black Manta, are itching for an all-out war against the humans. Queen Atlanna asks Mera to go up to land and find her other son, Arthur Curry (Matt Lanta). Arthur is living in coastal Maine, drinking heavily and mourning the recent passing of his father. After Mera rescues Arthur from soldiers sent by Black Manta, he's taken to Atlantis to finally meet his long-lost mother. But Prince Orr has other plans, and as the Justice League prepares to battle with the Atlanteans, Arthur is seen not only as the one who can save Atlantis from Prince Orr, but also as a bridge between the humans and Atlanteans.
Is it any good?
This feature is an enjoyable part of the Justice League franchise. Serving as Aquaman's origin story, the movie shows how Aquaman fits in with the other members of the Justice League, not just as a superhero with power over the oceans and sea creatures, but also as a go-between from humanity to Atlantis. The backstory is interesting, if somewhat similar to the backstories of the other superheroes. There's plenty of action for those who just want to see "good guys" and "bad guys" do battle.
However, there are times when this movie doesn't seem to stand completely on its own. Some of the side stories -- like Superman and Wonder Woman trying to lead "normal" lives -- aren't overly engaging or even original. Still, on its own terms and when focused on the central story, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is engaging and worthwhile.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in animated features. Does the violence seem necessary to the story in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, or does it seem gratuitous?
How does this compare to other superhero movies you've seen?
How does Aquaman's origin story compare to other superheroes' backstories?
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