I watched DC’s Justice League Throne of Atlantis recently and felt compelled to share my experience with you. Overall, I would watch this movie again for the entertainment value, but I think it’s important that some of the movie’s problematic areas are addressed. To date, this is the lowest score I’ve given anything using the Scale of Inclusivity on Her Story Arc. Let the contention begin!
Not offensive to women = 0 (of possible 1) points*
I couldn’t in good conscience give this category any points when Wonder Woman’s character was written so poorly. It’s not surprising that her character is the smallest one portrayed on the cover of the DVD. It was seriously, just… bad. Here’s why:
- Superman teaches her how to open up, and let herself be loved. “Let me show you how,” he says
romanticallypatronizingly when he swoops her up into his arms for a kiss.
- Apparently Wonder Woman doesn’t understand the concept of “acting.” Superman diligently explains it to her. I guess live theater, or even everyday politics, are foreign concepts in the Amazonian homeland.
- Wonder Woman’s knowledge of Atlantis is openly mocked, and strangely she does not stand up for herself. Superman says “I believe you Wonder Woman,” yet doesn’t stand up for her either. Another hero, of course, says “Sure you do” in response to Superman. Because the only time you’d defend a woman is when you’re banging her, amiright?!
Here are some other, non-Wonder Woman problems I had:
- Once Aquaman is conscious, Mera becomes second fiddle. Sure, she has full strength and knows her powers from years of training, but nah, Aquaman is better than her now. HE must always go in front. Even when it probably makes more sense to fight side by side (this is a direct reference to the end of the movie).
- Dr. Sarah Charles’ sudden OVERT interest in Cyborg at the end is somehow supposed to make us think that Cyborg has so much self-esteem now that the women SURROUNDING him will change their actions. Usually a self-esteem story arc such as his results in the individual changing their own actions. Nope. Dr. Charles is clearly picking up on some self-esteem pheromones now. So, to the dudes who are watching – all you have to do is
actfeel confident and women will just fall into your arms. And when they don’t it’s probably their fault, right?
*This is a category that could get very complicated, very quickly, if we tried to list everything that could be offensive to any woman. Instead, we use this category as a way of showing our own personal reaction to whatever we are reviewing. All contributors to this site are women and can speak from a woman’s perspective. However, no woman can speak for all women, so we do our best to explain our choice one way or the other. We encourage all readers to share their opinions in the comments below.
Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2 points
The movie includes four named woman supporting characters:
Picture Pending: Dr. Sarah Charles
My favorite of the four was definitely Mera. Her powers are really freakin’ awesome. She manipulates water into weapons, summons tidal waves, and slices through baddies like a hot knife through butter. She also rescues Aquaman from certain death and is the right hand to Queen Atlanna. Queen Atlanna herself is very powerful, and very dominant as a queen. She is sure of her actions and of her strength. However, while the city of Atlantis appeared to be gender diverse, due to some animation shortcuts the entire Atlantean army is inexplicably male. I mean, c’mon, Mera and Atlanna didn’t just become a kick-ass women in isolation!
Passes the Bechdel test = 3 points
I’ll be honest here, the movie barely passed this test. Lois Lane makes a cameo appearance in the beginning and compliments Diana (Wonder Woman) on her glasses and her firm handshake. However, Lois’s actions during the entire encounter demonstrate clearly to the audience that she is jealous of Wonder Woman and sees her as a threat. By Superman’s expression, he thinks this is rather humorous. Hardy har har.
Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4 points
The music was good, the voice acting was amazing, and so was the animation for the most part. I never, in a million years, thought I’d find Aquaman interesting. Before watching this movie, if I’d tried to envision Aquaman, I’d probably have summoned Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy into my brain.
Now, I actually do think of Aquaman as a legit superhero. His back story was compelling and his personality (at least in the beginning) was one I could root for. The end was rushed, and so was his character development, but overall I had a good impression of him. I also had fun watching Mera be awesome with her mad water skillz. Given this complete 180 change in my opinion, I decided to award the full amount for being entertaining. Also, the way the bad guy dies is hilarious. Hilarious I tell you!
Above and Beyond General Media = 0 (of 5 possible) points
As you have probably gathered at this point, the movie doesn’t exactly thrill my feminist side. It is better than some, but it’s also worse in its portrayal of women than some of its peers (see my review on Assault on Arkham). Some parts I definitely loved, but I also wrinkled my nose and had many “how did this end up in the movie?” moments. The final score reflects my conflicted-ness: 9/15 on the Her Story Arc Scale of Inclusivity.
For a better feel for the movie, checkout the 2014 trailer:
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