It remains to be seen whether or not Jason Momoa will don the iconic, classic costume of Aquaman in James Wan‘s live-action flick, but there’s no doubt that LEGO’s take on the character is rocking the bold orange and green. In LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis, a mouthful of a title that’s now available on all varieties of home video formats, the title hero joins the Justice League on an adventure that dives into the high seas, spreads across the seven continents, and even extends into the near reaches of outer space. It’s a super-fun and very silly feature that’s well-paced and includes plenty of DC Comics Easter eggs and lesser-known characters alongside familiar faces. If you’ve enjoyed the previous seven LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes films, Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis is in that same vein, though it focuses more on the undersea hero’s story alongside the League.
The voice cast of this movie is incredible. It features Dee Bradley Baker as Aquaman, Susan Eisenberg as Mera, Troy Baker as Batman, Grey Griffin as Wonder Woman / Lois Lane, Nolan North as Superman, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Cristina Milizia as Green Lantern / Jessica Cruz, Alyson Stoner as Batgirl, Trevor Devall as Ocean Master, Scott Menville as Robin, Jonathan Adams as Atrocitus, Fred Tatasciore as Lobo, and Eric Bauza as Jimmy Olsen, with a special nod to veteran voice Bradley Baker for also doing the effects work for various animals that pop up throughout the story. (Honorable mentions go to Baker, Adams, and Tatasciore as well for standout performances.) If you’ve seen an animated DC Comics superheroes adaptation in the past couple of decades, you’ll be familiar with these voices and their characters, though it was nice to see relative newcomer Jessica Cruz get a solid storyline along with the appearance of the fan-favorite main man, Lobo.
As for the story itself, much like a pivotal plot-point trident there are three main points that Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis tries to get across. The first is that the royal claim of Aquaman is threatened by not only his own kin but by a powerful antagonist who allies with Orm, better known as Ocean Master. The second, and much sillier and more tongue-in-cheek conflict, is the Justice League’s own opinion of Aquaman himself; they see him as possessing incredibly specific powers that aren’t entirely useful for most missions. The third, which acts as a nice side story, concerns the newly minted Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and her struggles with self-confidence, an issue that’s not helped at all by her sarcastic and unrelenting ring, which has its own voice (because Jessica hasn’t earned enough coins to access its mute button yet). The script of Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis is solid and draws all three arcs to a close by the relatively short runtime’s end after 77 minutes, just before teasing another possible adventure for the undersea superhero.
The humor, as you might expect, ranges from the slapstick to the witty and sarcastic, making it a perfect movie to watch as a family; it’ll appeal mostly to the little ones but is enjoyable and smart enough to entertain adults. Batman’s comment about moving everything to a “warehouse in Rebirth, New Jersey” as part of a “Simplification Program” is just one such instance of self-referential humor that’ll fly over the heads of kiddos while older comics aficionados will pick it up. (Batman has a ton of killer one-liners in this piece that are rarely forced and always generate some chuckles.) So whether it’s undersea robots usurping human civilization on land, or a montage of the Justice League doing team-building construction work, or an exchange between Lobo and his beloved Space Dolph “Fishy”, there are plenty of laughs to go around.
That’s not to say Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis lacks in the action department. While it’s not the focus, the action and fighting sequences throughout are cleverly designed and excitingly executed. That shouldn’t be tough to do when there are so many super-powers and characters to play with, but sometimes it’s an oversight. Not so in this movie, which features set pieces all throughout Atlantis, a foreign planet orbiting a red sun, and even a seaside amusement park. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the LEGO-ified action, but it’s still anchored by its comic book superhero aesthetic.
The only downsides to this one are the decision to make Superman a bit of a dumdum, which probably plays fine with the kids but feels more like the character has to be sidelined a lot of the time to allow others like Aquaman and Batman to take center stage; and the same can be said for Wonder Woman, who’s literally “knocked silly” for awhile. Ultimately all the heroes get their time to shine, so it’s a minor gripe. It is, however, disappointing that the Blu-ray (which did include a LEGO Minifigure of Cruz, as provided to me in my review copy from WBHE) doesn’t have any bonus features to speak of; like, zero. That’s a shame, especially with such a solid cast of characters and a narrative that offers a chance to explore some nuances of Aquaman.
If you like LEGO’s treatment of DC Comics superheroes and just want to add this one to your collection, it’s an easy buy. If you want to check out Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis but don’t care about collecting minifigs, you can safely stick with the digital version of this one. Either way, it’s 77 minutes of entertaining, light-hearted, and super-silly LEGO DC Comics action.