Western Animation: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

When the king of Atlantis is killed during Darkseid's invasion, Ocean Master decides to take control of the throne. His first act as king: to avenge the last king's death and declare war on the surface world. To stop him, the Justice League, formed during the invasion, soon finds themselves having to team up with Ocean Master's brother, Aquaman and his lover, Mera.

A film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is the sequel to Justice League: War and an Animated Adaptation of the comic of the same name. Voice actors include the return of Jason O'Mara (Terra Nova) as Batman, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) as The Flash, Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as Cyborg and Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) as Shazam. Newcomers include Jerry O'Connell (Sliders) replacing Alan Tudyk as Superman, Rosario Dawson (Sin City) replacing Michelle Monaghan as Wonder Woman, Nathan Fillion reprising his role from Green Lantern: Emerald Knights as Green Lantern (replacing Justin Kirk), Star Wars: The Clone Wars cast members Matt Lanter and Sam Witwer in the respective roles of Aquaman and Ocean Master, and Sumalee Montano (Transformers Prime) as Mera.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Orm isn't a real villain in the original arc, being much closer to an Anti-Villain; he was simply manipulated by Vulko into attacking the surface in what he thought was fair retribution, and he also did not kill Atlanna; Vulko falsely suggests he did in order to motivate Aquaman to dethrone him. Besides that, he truly cares for Arthur as his brother and wishes him no harm. Vulko reveals himself the true Big Bad of the original arc. This entire plot was dropped in the film, where Orm was made a straight-up villain, similar to his pre-New 52 incarnation.
  • Adaptation Distillation / Pragmatic Adaptation: The film not only adapts the "Throne Of Atlantis" story from the comics but also Aquaman's origin story, requiring it to create a story that combines elements from both while implementing original elements of its own in order to fit the universe the film takes place in. Many characters from the New 52 Aquaman comics have their backstory drastically condensed, altered, or cut out altogether to save time and play very different roles, and the plot in general is far more streamlined than the original comics. The spirit of the original story and key events are present, but the circumstances and context are wildly different, with one of the major changes being the presence of Aquaman's mother, Atlanna.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Dr. Stephen Shin isn't as selfish as his comic counterpart.
  • Adapted Out: Vulko, who revealed himself as the real Big Bad in the original arc of the comics and was an ambiguous character himself, was entirely cut in this movie.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Prince Orm eventually becomes this to his mother, Queen Atlanna. He ends killing her.
  • Arranged Marriage: Atlanna had to marry the king of Atlantis, hence why she couldn't be around for Arthur.
  • Artistic License Geography: The U.S.S. California is searching the Mariana Trench in the Atlantis Ocean. That's actually in the Pacific.
  • Atrocious Alias:
    • The Justice League's original name in the headquarters was Super Seven. Coronel Steve Trevor, their government liaison, is on the phone telling his superiors that "Justice League" tested better in focus groups.
    • Arthur thinks this of "Aquaman", so Hal of course decides to go with that.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: An underwater variant. Both Superman and Wonder Woman have no need of respiratory equipment. Curiously, Cyborg does, even though the film informs us early on that he no longer has organic lungs (given his brain and heart are still organic, though, this could be justified).
  • Battle Couple: Superman and Wonder Woman. Arthur and Mera.
  • Big Bad: Prince / King Orm, in a deviation from the source.
  • Bring It: "You are welcome to try."
  • Call Back:
    • Green Lantern picks up Batman in Gotham, same as the first movie.
    • Vic's still mad at his dad.
  • Cain and Abel: As per tradition, Orm (Cain) to Arthur Curry (Abel).
  • Casting Gag: Jerry O'Connell as Superman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, and Sirena Irwin as Queen Atlanna, after O'Connell voiced Captain Marvel in Justice League and Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, Dawson voiced Artemis (who in comics canon between Crisis on Infinite Earths and the New 52 temporarily replaced Diana as Wonder Woman) in Wonder Woman, and Irwin voiced Mera in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • Category Traitor: Orm considers his mother and Mera this.
  • Clark Kenting: The Trope Namer shows Diana how it's done. She's amazed at how such a simple disguise can be so effective.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Subverted. The lighthouse might as well be tissue paper to the Atlantean beam weapons, and eventually collapses under sustained fire. Also subverted when one of the Atlanteans tries to take cover behind some of the rubble as Mera is attacking them; her ice weapons slice the cover and him clean in half.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Green Lantern. It helps that he's voiced by Nathan Fillion.
    • Flash, too. Especially towards Green Lantern.
  • Death by Adaptation: Dr. Stephen Shin and Black Manta.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Mera, Atlanna, and most Atlanteans.
  • Dog Pile of Doom: Several times. This being a superhero movie, the pile is naturally thrown off in a show of badassery.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Black Manta is motivated by a desire to plunder the riches of Atlantis. He's devoured by a shark mid-rant.
  • Drop the Hammer: John Henry does this to an Atlantean.
  • Eaten Alive: Black Manta is devoured by a shark under Arthur's control.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • As mentioned below, John Henry Irons, aka Steel, comes in to defend a fellow construction worker.
    • Lex Luthor offers a proposition to the newly imprisoned Orm.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Orm has the Justice League tossed into the Dark Trench, which apparently has an Old One living down there.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Orm admits to killing Atlanna in front of the Justice League. Cyborg's computerized memory and holographic playback makes this a damning mistake.
  • The Evil Prince: Prince Orm.
  • False Flag Operation: Black Manta uses stolen missiles and a holographic shell to make it appear as if a United States submarine located and attacked Atlantis without provocation. It backfires when Queen Atlanna is only that much more driven to protect the peace, forcing Orm to be more direct in his scheming. Not to mention, Atlanna knowing that they were behind it.
  • Fantastic Racism: Prince Orm hates and despites anything on the surface world. He also despites his half-brother Arthur Curry for being a "bastard" and of mixed-race.
  • Fatal Family Photo: One of the submarine's crew has one in the first scene. It even floats out of the submarine when it was attacked and the scene ends on a close up on it.
  • Fish People: The trenchers, which are basically humanoid piranha.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: Orm attacks the surface world with one.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used for the submarine crew in the opening. Averted for the Atlantean soldiers and trenchers, who are slaughtered in full gory detail.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Arthur, human dad and Atlantean mom.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Arthur demonstrates why control of sea life is awesome when he commands a shark to eat Black Manta.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Mera takes Arthur to a ruin where Atlanna has stashed the king's old armor. After suiting up, Arthur finds himself overwhelmed by the moment and ditches the armor, leaving only the undersuit, giving him his Aquaman look.
  • Heroic Bastard: Arthur, the illegitimate son of Atlanna.
  • The High Queen: Queen Atlanna has shades of these.
  • I Am Not My Father: Shazam tells Cyborg he's acting like his dad, both workaholics. Cyborg tells him he's not like his dad.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: When the Atlantean army learns Orm killed Queen Atlanna, he tried to justify it by saying he was doing it for his people.
  • If I Can't Have You: Orm wants Mera to be his wife, but she said she'd rather die, and Orm says it may come true. After taking the throne, he no longer has any feelings for her when sided with Arthur and the Justice League.
  • Just Between You and Me: Black Manta takes a break in the middle of his fight with Arthur to detail his Evil Plan and intend to betray Orm. This ends up being lethal to him, as Arthur seizes the opportunity to order a shark to eat him.
  • Killed Off for Real: Atlanna, Black Manta
  • Kill It with Ice: Mera makes liberal use of ice weapons to kill her enemies.
  • Kryptonite Factor: As in most continuities, Superman doesn't fare well against magic.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: To The Stinger of War, which featured Ocean Master cradling the late king's body and declare war on the surface world.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Orm uses the trident's magic, which can only be wielded by royalty, to imprison the Justice League. After Arthur wakes up, he gains control of it and escapes. Might be justified in that Arthur is a bastard, and Orm's egotistical enough to believe that meant he couldn't use the trident's magic.
  • Love Triangle: Implied that it has been starting one between Lois Lane, Superman / Clark Kent, and Diana Prince / Wonder Woman.
  • Mommy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Atlanna had to leave Arthur because she was already in an Arranged Marriage, and her people might not accept a hybrid.
  • Mook Chivalry: A heroic version. The Justice League takes on Orm one by one, and true to the trope they just get taken down one by one.
  • Motive Rant: Black Manta started doing this to Arthur. He should've known better.
  • Mugging the Monster: Some guys pick a fight with Arthur at a bar (over a lobster). The only reason they aren't immediately hospitalized is because Arthur is extremely drunk and holding back.
  • Mum Looks Like A Sister: Queen Atlanna looks as youthful as she was when Arthur was a little boy. Possibly justified since Atlanteans age slower than normal humans.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • During his first fight scene in the Aquaman garb, one of the trenchers, that resemble humanoid piranha, bites into Arthur's left hand, wounding it. This is a nod towards Aquaman's hand loss in the comics during the 90s, in which it was devoured by actual piranha.
    • "Outrageous." Used as a Bond One-Liner.
    • Arthur is shown with gills on the side of his neck in this depiction, in the same manner as Kaldur'ahm.
    • Diana wears glasses and goes by "Diana Prince", but leaves her hair down instead of in a Prim and Proper Bun, much like in the Bronze Age comics.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Batman is introduced chasing some of Scarecrow's mooks. Green Lantern interferes and catches them. Annoyed, Batman explains that he was trying to follow the mooks back to Scarecrow's hideout.
  • No Sell: One of the guys attacking Arthur at the bar tries to stab him with a knife. The blade shatters.
  • Official Couple: Superman and Wonder Woman in this movie. Aquaman and Mera at the end of the movie.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The trident only works for Atlantean royalty, shocking anyone else who tries to use its powers. This also makes Arthur resistant to its magic.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The main role of Billy Batson / Shazam in this movie.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Arthur learns how to use his trident rather quickly.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Queen Atlanna. The apparent attack on Atlantis by a submarine in reality orchestrated by Orm and Black Manta (which she knew) leads the citizens to demand for war, but Queen Atlanna decides that they might need to reveal themselves after centuries of being hidden, and decides to contact the Justice League.
  • Role Reprisal: As with Justice League: Doom and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Nathan Fillion reprises his Green Lantern: Emerald Knights role as Hal Jordan. Steve Blum also reprises his role from The Flashpoint Paradox as Lex Luthor.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Orm stabs his mother Atlanna in the back, literally.
  • She Knows Too Much: Orm murders his mother when she revealed that she knows that he attacked Atlantis to instigate war on the surface world.
  • Shipper on Deck: Billy Batson / Shazam to Victor Stone / Cyborg and Dr. Sarah Charles.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Arthur defeats Orm with one huge punch when he tries to justify why he killed Queen Atlanna.
  • The Starscream: Black Manta plans to backstab Orm and seize control of Atlantis after they've destroyed the surface world. A Great White Shark at the control of Arthur puts an end to that plan.
  • The Stinger: Lex Luthor offers Orm a proposition.
  • Summon to Hand: Orm calls the trident to his hand at one point. Wonder Woman wasn't strong enough to stop it from reaching him.
  • Sword Drag: Orm does this with the trident to slow his fall.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Atlantean soldiers really think they can take on Mera?
  • Tornado Move: Mera does this with water.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: After he assassinates his own mother, Orm usurps the throne and leads Atlantis' army to the surface.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Cyborg, being a quarter-ton of human-shaped metal, simply boom tubes himself to the sub and walks around. When he needs to move quickly, he switches to a jet pack.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never did find out about Scarecrow's whereabouts in the movie. A short on the Blu-Ray shows Nightwing and Robin (Damian Wayne) dealing with him, however.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The League doesn't seem to have a problem with Aquaman and Mera killing their enemies.
  • The Worf Effect: Taken to an absurd level with Orm, who manages to easily defeat the entire Justice League on his own twice, and only starts actually having trouble when Arthur fights him the second time. Granted, he is using the Trident of Poseidon, but you would think people who previously fought Darkseid on equal grounds would at least give him some trouble, and it's really hard to swallow that Shazam, the Champion of Magic, can be that easily overpowered by the Trident when his own powerset includes the Lightning of Zeus, which at the very least would be equal to the Trident's magic, if not outright superior..
  • The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: Even if he weren't a scheming jerkass, Orm is clearly unfit to rule, a fact even his own mother bluntly tells him. She instead plans to put Arthur on the throne.