LEGO DC Comics Superheroes:
Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis
"LEGO DC Comics Superheroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis" is the seventh movie in a line of Direct to Video movie collaborations between LEGO, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. In 'Aquaman,' Orm teams up with Atrocitus to take over the world and manipulated Aquaman into giving up the crown of Atlantis. On the run on an alien planet, the Justice League tries to find a way home where the only line of defense is rookie Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, Batgirl, and Robin.
As the title suggests "LEGO DC Super Heroes: Aquaman" stars Aquaman and features the Justice League, Mera, Batgirl, Robin... and Lobo! The movie is a very enjoyable all-ages story filled with humor, heart, twists, and a love letter to Aquaman and his place among DC's super heroes. Aquaman is riding on cloud nine and has it all: a superhero, a member of the Justice League, king of Atlantis, beloved by his people, working with his reformed half-brother Orm and wife Mera -- but he suddenly loses it all. The movie uses the classic 'Ocean Master trying to take over Atlantis' story then puts a spin on it by injecting Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns. In addition to Aquaman rediscovering his courage and self-worth, so too does Jessica Cruz go on her own journey of self-discovery of being a hero.
The movie starts off as a typical day at the Hall of Justice but we learn that Hal Jordan is off-world on vacation and has left rookie Lantern Jessica Cruz in his place. Soon enough, a trouble alert is triggered and the Justice League learns Lobo has attacked Area 52, a defunct secret alien technology stockade, on Dread Lake. Aquaman jumps to conclusions about its location and departs Atlantis, eager to help out. Orm is all for helping take care of things but it becomes clear very quickly he has ulterior motives. Aquaman arrives first and alone then is utterly humiliated by Lobo at Dread Lake, a dry lake bed in the desert. The League rallies and eats back Lobo but he finds the orb he was searching for and departs Earth. Aquaman invites everyone to Atlantis for a feast. He introduces them to the singing denizens of the kingdom, the legend of King Poseidon's statue, and his wife Mera. Batman and Wonder Woman are surprised to learn a scoundrel like Orm is Aquaman's half-brother then things take a turn for the worse. Orm brainwashes the Atlanteans with the light of rage and finds a provision in the Constitution that stipulates only a full blooded Atlantean can rule, which Aquaman is not. He rashly gives up the crown and irritates Mera. To complicate things, Orm introduces his royal adviser - Atrocitus. Jessica's ring immediately registers him and raises a shield around Mera and the League, protecting them from the light of rage, but the kingdom turns on them.
Aquaman leads the others through secret tunnels to the Sea Gate, an interdimensional portal that leads to other aquatic planets. They find themselves transported to a Red Lantern factory where an armada is being built. Aquaman uses some ingenuity to secure them escape from the furnace. Meanwhile, Jessica was left behind because of her indecisiveness but Mera saves her. It's a brief respite as Mera falls under Atrocitus' control. Aquaman starts losing his mind in the desert but the others use him as a divining rod. Back on Earth, Batgirl and Robin try to enjoy a day off at the Star City Pier but Robin has a hard time acting like normal boy. The League discovers a watering hole aptly named "The Watering Hole" where Aquaman earns the respect of the locals. They even get Lobo to agree to work with them in exchange for helping find his space dolphin friend Fishy. Orm is smitten with the invasion of the surface world and hardly questions the new Stage 3 of the plan. The Justice League forces Dex-Starr and Fishy to retreat through the Sea Gate. Jessica can't handle the pressure of fighting and being on the news at the same time and runs away.
The League scrambles to get the Sea Gate working again and assembles jets from spare parts in the factory. Jessica sees Lois Lane's news feed and turns back to save Batgirl and Robin. The Justice League returns but they are no match for Atrocitus and the rage stored in his Central Battery while Orm defeats Aquaman with his magic. Then Atrocitus double crosses Orm and proceeds to drain the planet of its water. Jessica recites her oath and inadvertently removes the rage from Mera and the Atlanteans nearby. The Justice League realizes they've been taking Aquaman for granted. Aquaman summons plankton and has them form a key to get them out of their prison. The legend of King Poseidon's statue wasn't an old wives' tale afterall and Aquaman pulls out the Trident of Hope then blasts the central battery to pieces. All of the heroes gather at the surface. Aquaman leads them in attacking a solitary point on the rapid pump but it's not enough. Lobo suddenly arrives and lends a chain. Superman shoves the stolen water, now a giant frozen brick in space, back to Earth where it turns to rain and restores the ocean levels back to normal. Aquaman is re-crowned king and Lobo departs to collect a bounty on Atrocitus and Dex-Starr. The ceremony is interrupted by another trouble alert, Gorilla Grodd is in Kathmandu, Nepal. Aquaman is eager to get going and helping people in trouble.
"LEGO DC Super Heroes: Aquaman" is for the younger fans in your family but, writers Jim Krieg and Jeremy Adams and director Matt Peters peppers in a lot of comic book and pop culture references for the older viewers from Lobo's comic book debut in 1983 and Big Belly Burger to the Mos Eisley cantina in Star Wars. An unlikely source of comedy, Batman emphasizing how useful his Utility Belt throughout as well as having or his Batster credit card getting rejected added a lot of laughs. His on the nose choices of using an ink bomb to distract the Atlanteans or a wind up mouse toy to distract Dex-Starr were also amusing. Two of the four villains turned to be redeemed by the movie's end - Lobo and Orm - but are still fighting their own compulsions. With his friend Fishy back to normal, Lobo is back to being a no good bounty hunter eager to collect while Orm begrudgingly returns the crown to Aquaman after he's betrayed by Atrocitus and Aquaman proves to be worthy by lifting the Trident of Hope. Atrocitus and Dex-Starr, on the other hand, are the movie's real villains. Atrocitus' master plan is a departure from his usual M.O. but since the movie is geared to a younger audience, it makes sense to make him more of the mustache twirling two timer with a big, over the top set piece or two and robot army instead of his entire Red Lantern Corps and brutal ways. Batgirl and Robin fill out the smaller than usual cast but don't have much space to bloom like Dr. Fate, Atom, Firestorm, and Bd'g did in the previous Flash movie. There are no special features other than trailers of the Teen Titans Go! To The Movies and LEGO DC Comics Superheroes: The Flash before the menu screen.
"LEGO DC Comics Superheroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis" is a fun for all ages action adventure for children that also doubles as hype and preparation for this December's live action Aquaman movie and strong message to the audience about having confidence in oneself. A rousing story of overcoming loss, action, jokes -- Utility Belt! -- aplenty, a light tone, a positive lesson, and an amusing finale, "Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis" is a recommended purchase for the family.