A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman - Rage of Atlantis is the first of the Lego entries to feature Aquaman, who rules The Seven Seas and The Kingdom of Atlantis. And it's another in the Lego-Warner Bros-DC Comics partnership's successful efforts to cross-market toys and movies. The story sends the principal Justice League players, including the newest female member (The Green Lantern, voiced by Cristina Milizia), on a mission to rescue Atlantis from villains at the behest of Aquaman. The story moves from one armed (or super-powered) conflict to another, with a variety of villains conspiring against The League. Viewers can expect all manner of crashes, lasers, explosions, fire, and hand-to-hand combat. Interspersed with the action are some funny jokes and a character arc in which Aquaman regains his precious self-confidence. Meant for kids, but only those who are comfortable with real versus pretend violence. The movie introduces new Lego figures and promotes the usual ones as well.
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What's the story?
Lego Aquaman (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) handles all the planet's "water-based" problems in his role as King of the Seven Seas in LEGO DC COMICS SUPER HEROES: AQUAMAN: RAGE OF ATLANTIS. But after facing a series of humiliations, not the least of which is that his half-brother has conspired with the evil Atrocitis (Trevor Devall) and The Red Lanterns to take over his kingdom in Atlantis, Aquaman has lost his confidence. "How can you follow a king that everyone laughs at?" What's more, in the first step toward taking over the surface world as well, the villains have enslaved the minds of the people of Atlantis with the power of rage. Knowing he cannot take on these great adversaries on his own, Aquaman goes to the surface world to seek the help of the other members of The Justice League. It will take cunning, courage, superpowers, and, of course, Batman's fully equipped all-purpose utility belt, to once again save the world from such singular scoundrels and restore Aquaman to his usual semi-confident self.
Is it any good?
Some light but relatable references to self-confidence play a small part in this tale, but the abundance of loud, busy battle sequences overpower the message, as well as some funny comic bits. While the story seems to be simple -- good guys fight bad guys who threaten the planet -- there are an awful lot of villains on the scene with plenty of evil motivations to go around, so younger kids may not be able to follow all the ins and outs of the plot. That hardly matters when they're engaged by the dozens of surprises emerging from Batman's utility belt and the smash, bang, boom of combat.
On the plus side, the creative team smartly utilizes the solid voice performances of the actors who "appear" in the other animated versions, as well as this offering. It's notable that the release of Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman - Rage of Atlantis comes only months before the big screen Aquaman is set to open. It couldn't be purposeful advance marketing for kids, could it?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cartoon peril in movies for kids, even when the movie features Lego toys. What's the impact of such violence on kids? How does your family determine whether the kids in your family are ready for movies like Lego DC Super Heroes: Aquaman - Rage of Atlantis?
How does your family handle marketing strategies, like the partnership between DC Comics, Warner Brothers, and Lego, that use toys, films, and other licensing products to promote one another? Why is it important to be aware of these joint ventures?
Aquaman suffers a crisis of confidence in this story. How do his teammates in The Justice League help him get that confidence back? Have you ever relied on friends to help you with a problem? What are the advantages of asking for help when you need it? How do you feel when you can help a friend?
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