The 2014 direct-to-video animated feature, Justice League: War, is based on the first New 52 Justice League storyline, "Origin". Aquaman in his New 52 origin examined in the DC Universe Animated film Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.
Justice League: War
A series of strange abductions have occurred in Gotham City, Central City, Coast City and Metropolis among others. Video footage suggests that Batman, a wanted, costumed vigilante, is behind the incidents. When a mysterious, burly, cloaked kidnapper abducts a woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) arrives to confront the kidnapper and saves the woman when she is dropped from above. Green Lantern then attacks the kidnapper, revealing it to be a monstrous Parademon. The creature defeats Green Lantern soundly, and as he is about to be killed, Batman appears and attacks the Parademon, trying to interrogate it. The Parademon then attacks both heroes. They escape from the city's police and chase the creature into the sewers, where it charges a Mother Box and explodes. Batman and Green Lantern examine the box, deduce that it is of extraterrestrial origin, and decide to ask Superman for an answer. Another Mother Box, supplied by The Flash (Barry Allen) is being studied at S.T.A.R. Labs. Doctor Silas Stone, father of Vic Stone, deliberately misses his son's football game so he can study the box. Arriving in Metropolis, Batman and Green Lantern fight Superman—who has fought a Parademon previously and believes the heroes are working with it. The battle spreads over a portion of the city; it finally stops when Batman calls Superman "Clark". Superman uses his x-ray vision and recognizes Batman as billionaire Bruce Wayne. The three heroes then begin to collaborate. On planet Apokolips, Darkseid orders Desaad to begin an invasion of Earth in response to the superheroes' discovery of his plans.
Vic arrives at S.T.A.R. Labs and argues with his father Silas, who believes that football has no importance in a world that is changing with the appearance of metahumans, and states that he will never come to one of his son's football games due to his devotion to his own work. At the Daily Planet, Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern realize the invasion has begun when the box activates and several Boom Tubes appear throughout the world, including S.T.A.R. Labs. While Vic is holding the Box being studied by his father during their argument, it activates and explodes, creating a Boom Tube. The explosion fuses the technology inside the Box to Vic's fatally wounded and mutilated body. With several Parademons attacking, Silas is forced to take Vic to an emergency room to save him. Silas loads Vic into a technologically advanced medical bed and uses experimental nano mechanical and tissue grafting technologies on Vic in desperation, though this seems to fail when his heartbeat flatlines. Countless Parademons appear around the world, attacking everyone on sight. The box's technology spliced with Vic's body fuses itself with the various technologies, as well as computers, around the room, transforming Vic into Cyborg, with a body now made from technology capable of transforming and adapting itself and obtaining new features, such as weapons. Just as the Flash arrives to save the scientists, Cyborg's systems reveal details of Apokolips, Darkseid, and the invasion plan. He sees that the Parademons are actually the inhabitants of countless worlds conquered by Darkseid. The inhabitants are captured and spliced with Darkseid's technology, allowing it to control and repurpose their genetics and physical makeup, transforming them into mind-controlled monsters and together serve as a highly expendable army for conquering other planets. Vic's body was affected by the same technology but it had not been programmed to create a Parademon, and fused with other materials and instead. At his foster home, teenager Billy Batson sees a Parademon outside and mystically turns into the superhero Shazam. Air Force One is attacked in the air, but is saved by the Amazon princess Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) and Superman. After the heroes gather, Cyborg reveals that the invasion is a prelude to the terraforming of Earth. Darkseid arrives and proves to be a powerful opponent who defeats each hero effortlessly.
Darkseid uses his Omega Beams while fighting Flash and Superman, with the latter being unable to outmaneuver the beam and is hit, incapacitated and captured by a Parademon. Batman stops Green Lantern from going after them on his own, as his ego has caused him to charge at Darkseid without thinking and be quickly defeated and injured to the point where his arm breaks. Batman then persuades him to think about the many lives at stake rather than his own image as a hero and to help the heroes work together after he unmasks himself and reveals that his parents' murders were what motivated him to fight evil. Batman unmasked deliberately and allows himself to be captured to save Superman. Green Lantern, acting as a leader, assembles everyone and decides that to defeat Darkseid they must destroy his eyes first, stripping him of his power to use his Omega Beams. Bruce is taken through a portal and arrives on Apokolips, proceeding to escape the Parademon and stop Desaad from turning Superman into a Parademon. Because of a brainwashing process being done on him, Superman becomes unstable and highly aggressive, resulting in him crushing Desaad to death and attacking anything in sight, including other Parademons and Batman. Batman reasons with Superman, helping him reassert his own personality. On Earth, after Darkseid's eyes are disabled, Cyborg connects with the Mother Box to reopen the Boom Tubes and send the tyrant and his army back to their home world. Though the Parademons are gone, Darkseid remains. Superman and Batman arrive and together they force the tyrant into the portal. With the world saved, the once-maligned superheroes gain the public's trust and are honored at the White House. The President of the United States asks whether they have a name. Shazam abruptly announces the name "Super Seven", to which the others object. After a short debate the team of superheroes agree to take the name of Justice League.
In a post-credits scene, an Atlantean ship emerges from the ocean and Ocean Master appears carrying the dead body of his king, possibly killed when the Parademons assembled in the sea during Darkseid's arrival on Earth. He believes that the surface dwellers on Earth are responsible for his death, calling it an act of war from the surface, for which he vows retribution.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
In the Atlantic Ocean, the USS California submarine picks up incoming human-like threats approaching the sub by sonar. The sub is attacked, leaving the entire crew dead by the invading hostiles. At S.T.A.R. Labs' Justice League headquarters, Cyborg, who has recently received environmental upgrades in an operation that replacing his remaining lung, is given news by Colonel Steve Trevor, the liaison for the Justice League, over the sunken sub. Cyborg decides to check it himself, deciding against Trevor's idea of calling the other superheroes, as he puts it "there is no Justice League", feeling there is truly no unity to them as they have never come to help each other since Darkseid's invasion.
At Mercy Reef in Maine, Arthur Curry, drunk over the recent death of his father, picks a fight with a group of tough guys over them wanting to eat the lobster Arthur was talking to. He defeats them using inhuman strength and when the last man tries to stab him, his knife breaks into pieces against Arthur's chest. After throwing him into the ocean, Arthur leaves, unaware that he is being watched by Mera and Dr. Shin. Cyborg uses a Boom Tube to teleport down to the sunken sub and discovers hand prints on the hull and that several nuclear missiles are missing from the launch bays. He is then attacked by the same hostiles that attacked the sub and suffers damage to his servos through his escape, though manages to take a knife-like weapon off one of his attackers when they stab him with it.
Back at their HQ, Cyborg gets help from Flash and Shazam to get Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, leaving Batmanthe last one remaining. Green Lantern decides to head to Gotham City to get Batman, who is currently chasing henchmen of theScarecrow. Green Lantern captures them for Batman, but Batman is angry as he needed them to head to where Scarecrow was and about his plot against Gotham's City Hall. With the entire team together, they check the raised sub and Cyborg's assault. They realize the enemy is not related to Darkseid but warriors from Earth's origin. Thanks to Diana's knowledge, she reveals these warriors are from Atlantis, beings saved from death after their land sunk into the ocean after being turned into underwater creatures by their king's mystical trident, after seeing the weapon Cyborg was stabbed with, with the theory of war related to the missing missiles. Using Shazam's suggestion, Superman and Batman decide to meet Atlantis-expert Dr. Shin, while the others are tasked in finding Atlantis.
At Atlantis, Prince Orm and Black Manta, the latter of whom secretly accompanied Dr. Shin when he was watching Arthur disguised as a man named David, meet with Orm's mother, Queen Atlanna. They argue over declaring war on the surface world because of the damage during the events of Darkseid's attack, with Atlanna saying that the volcano that killed Orm's father the king, was due to Darkseid's forces while Orm says it was the Justice League's fight with Darkseid that killed him. Orm also says that the humans polluting the Earth will eventually destroy it and Atlantis in the process, which he believes is a reason to attack them first. Atlanna silences Orm with the Trident of Neptune, the king's trident of the Atlantean legend with immeasurable powers, which seem electrically based, that can only be accessed by Atlantean royalty and asks Mera to bring Arthur, her other son, to Atlantis. Black Manta uses a craft holographically disguised as a submarine to attack Atlantis using the same stolen missiles, framing the surface for their "unprovoked" attack. Arthur answers the door to Dr. Shin, who tries to tell him that his father contacted him before his death to help Arthur. Moments later, Dr. Shin is killed by Atlantean soldiers sent by Black Manta. Arthur is overwhelmed by the attack, being knocked out and blasted out of his collapsing house, until he is saved by Mera, who dispatches the soldiers by using her control over water and its density, and taken underwater. Batman and Superman enter Dr. Shin's home discovering that his work is destroyed. Superman recreates a photograph of Arthur Curry and a letter from his father revealing that his son is half-Atlantean. Batman decides they must find him. The attack on Atlantis leads the citizens and Orm to demand for war and to break the seal on war plans created by the former king in the event of conflict with the surface. Queen Atlanna decides that they might need to reveal themselves after centuries of being hidden and contact the Justice League. Arthur wakes up with gills on his neck in underwater Atlantean ruins with Mera, who explains his situation. Atlanna met Arthur's father and gave birth to him. Due to her being royal, she could not be with him nor Arthur, so she had to leave to be with her king and Orm, though she still loved Arthur greatly and had even been watching Arthur when he was a child. Arthur had once encountered Atlanna when he was swimming by the shore. Now, Atlanna believes Arthur can help Atlantis be the bridge between the two worlds. Mera then dresses him with the kings royal garb, hidden by Atlanna inside the ruins. Arthur, having difficulty process the situation, removes the armor and crown from his garb, leaving only the orange and green Atlantean bodysuit underneath, and heads to surface with Mera following him. Soon, they are attacked by the Trench. The creatures overwhelm Arthur, one of them even biting his hand, making him bleed. The Justice League arrives in time to defeat the Trench. Orm hears from Black Manta that the Trench failed to kill Arthur. Orm and Queen Atlanna argue because Orm wants to start a war as per his late father's wishes and reveals his knowledge of Arthur Curry. Queen Atlanna reveals to him that she knows he attacked Atlantis. With this news, Black Manta confronts the queen, but is overpowered due to her trident. Orm then stabs her from behind, killing her and taking over Atlantis as the new king.
Arthur, Mera, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Cyborg arrive at Atlantis and learn of Queen Atlanna's death, the Atlantean people being under the impression that a surface dweller killed her. The heroes are then defeated by Orm, who has assumed the mantle of "Ocean Master" and uses the trident to incapacitate and restrain them inside cacoon like pods. Superman even sheds blood when attacked with the trident. The group is sent to be consumed by the monstrous Dark Trench, while Ocean Master leads Atlantis' army to the surface. Arthur destroys his pod by tapping into the power of the trident and with Superman's help, as well as his telepathic control over sea creatures, they save the rest and defeat the monster. In Metropolis, a massive tidal wave created by Ocean Master's trident is used to conceal Ocean Master's army, which reaches the shores and begins their attack. The military fights back but are powerless until the League arrive. During the fight, Superman saves John Henry Irons, and Wonder Woman saves Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Arthur is attacked by Black Manta, who reveals that he manipulated Ocean Master and plans to kill him when the time is right and take Atlantis for himself. While Black Manta is revealing his plan, Arthur calls a megalodon to attack him, dragging Black Manta underwater. Mera and the League attack Ocean Master but are once again defeated and unable to gain an advantage over him due to his Trident's power, as Shazam turned to his normal form, Billy Batson, and Cyborg is electricuted and disabled. Wonder Woman successfully disarms him of the Trident, though she is nearly incapacitated by its energy when she holds it. Superman is further wounded with the trident, being pierced in the chest with it. Arthur becomes the last to face Ocean Master, who has an upper hand during the fight until the end due to Orm being unable to use the trident's true power on Arthur due to his own status as Atlantean royalty. Despite this, Ocean Master manages to defeat Arthur with the trident's power by not using it directly on it and causing a massive blast of power to incapacitate him. Batman saves Cyborg from dying by electrocuting him with a taser device, and Cyborg reveals that he has video of Ocean Master confessing to killing his mother when they were captured. As Ocean Master is killing Arthur, nearly impaling him on his trident, Cyborg broadcasts Ocean Master's confession all over Metropolis for Atlantis' soldiers to see. Stunned by his treachery, the soldiers do not obey Ocean Master's commands and Arthur uses the distraction to defeat him. He then convinces the soldiers to stand down and declares his desire to bring Atlantis and the surface world together in peace.
Later in Atlantis, Arthur is crowned as king, with the Justice League among the audience celebrating. Batman suggests that, with new threats appearing, they need to solidify the team and Cyborg reveals plans for a watchtower. Arthur joins as Aquaman (which is a nickname everyone on the Internet gave him and he hates), and soon heads with now-love interest Mera against the Trenchers outside Atlantis.
In the post-credits, Ocean Master is incarcerated at Belle Reve, yelling at the guards to release him. He is approached by Lex Luthor who has a proposition for him to consider.
Son of Batman
At the headquarters of the League of Assassins, Ra's al Ghul grooms Damian Wayne (son of his daughter, Talia, and Batman) to succeed him as head of the league. The league is attacked by a group of assassins led by Slade Wilson, Ra's al Ghul's initial choice for successor before Ra's met Batman. Feeling betrayed, Slade decided to seize power. During the battle, Ra's is fatally burned in a missile strike explosion, dying inches away from reaching the Lazarus Pit. Although Damian stabs Slade in the eye, Slade escapes, vowing vengeance. Talia takes Damian to Gotham City to protect him with his father's help.
In Gotham City, Batman confronts Killer Croc, who is stealing mutagenic chemicals and steroids to enhance himself, to the point where he grew a reptilian tail. Batman gets ambushed by Croc before Talia electrocutes Croc from behind. She tells Batman about her father's death and leaves their son in his care, though Damian believes that he can take care of himself and does not need Batman. Although Damian wants to avenge Ra's al Ghul by killing Slade, Batman objects to this. Slade, now calling himself Deathstroke, captures Dr. Kirk Langstrom, who was working with Croc to enhance him in return for the mutagenics he stole and also had worked with Ra's, promising a formula for his soldiers. Slade threatens Langstrom's family to force him to recreate the Man-Bat formula for him and his soldiers. Damian bypasses Wayne Towers security to speak to Bruce, telling him about Slade's contact, Ubu, who was part of the raid on the League's headquarters and is stationed in Gotham. Although Damian wants to avenge Ra's al Ghul by killing Slade, Bruce objects to Damian wanting to kill. Talia is captured by Deathstroke when she and some remaining League members attack his compound.
Against Batman's orders, Damian leaves the Batcave and, after a chase and a long fight, defeats Ubu, whom he located by accessing the Bat-Computer. Before Damian can kill him, Nightwing arrives, mistakes him for a criminal and subdues him before bringing him back to the Batcave. Batman berates Damian for his recklessness, willingness to kill and exposing their operation. Batman then has Damian don the mantle of Robin to teach him discipline. Searching for a lead on Langstrom's location, Batman goes to Arkham to interrogate a rabid Killer Croc, who supplied the mutagens to Langstrom in exchange for his enhancements and is currently going through drastic, agonizing withdrawal symptoms that cause him to shed his scales and tail. Since others are too afraid of him to medicate him without being harmed, Batman promises Croc help in exchange for information. Batman follows Croc's lead about the formula's mutagen to Langstrom's apartment, where he finds a throwing star that he takes evidence of Deathstroke's involvement. Before he leaves, he goes throughout the building and finds a storage room filled with caged bats, with one larger cage being empty and broken open from inside. Batman then finds a rabid gorilla with bat like mutations, one of Langstrom's unstable subjects, and it attacks him until it dies from its mutations. A drone aircraft sent by Deathstroke then flies past and crashes on the building, destroying it, though Batman evades the explosion. Commissioner Gordon warns them about an abandoned stadium believed to house Deathstroke's men.
At the stadium, Batman and Damian question Langstrom but are attacked when Damian becomes violent. Before they successfully escape, they fight off a swarm of Man-Bats. In the cave, Langstrom reveals Deathstroke's plan to create superhuman, flight-capable assassins. While Nightwing works with Langstrom on an antidote, Batman and Damian rescue their family. Batman guesses that Talia has been abducted when he finds evidence of torture in an empty cell, which he keeps from Damian to not set him off. They find and rescue Langstrom's family, but Batman is unaware that Deathstroke challenged Damian to a fight in exchange for Talia's life through a video device he gave Langstrom's daughter in exchange for sparing them. Both Langstrom's daughter and Deathstroke's video tell him not to involve Batman in their fight.
Nightwing learns that Deathstroke is operating in an oil rig off the Scottish coast, and when Batman is distracted, Damian goes to the rig. He finds Deathstroke and Talia in an underwater base with a swarm of Man-Bats and another Lazarus Pit, whose fluid Deathstroke intends to sell. Damian pulls a gun on Deathstroke, who holds one against Talia's head until Damian drops his gun. Deathstroke fires at him, but Talia is hit instead after she jumps in the path of Deathstroke's gunfire. As Deathstroke corners Damian, Batman appears and the Man-Bats attack. Batman wards them off with sonar-emitting batarangs, and Deathstroke flees after losing to Batman in a brief fistfight.
Batman heals Talia in Lazarus Pit, while Nightwing and Langstrom reach the oil rig and cure the Man-Bats. At the same time, Damian fights and defeats Deathstroke, but refuses to kill him because he is his father's son. The elevator from the rig to the underwater base is destroyed when the Man-Bats, overwhelmed by the sonar devices, overcrowd the glass elevator shaft, flooding the base. Batman, Talia and Damian escape, but Deathstroke gets left behind and dies via flooding. Batman believes that Damian should stay with him and remain as Robin while Talia still wishes to recreate the League with Batman, who would rather disband the League, and Damian at her side. She decides to let him care for their son and leaves with the League of Assassins though she says she will return for him.
As the credits roll, a slideshow of the fight between Damian and Nightwing is played between credits.