Many comic book connaisseurs look down their noses at DC Comics and their heroes/stories. Marvel is seen as the supreme super hero home. That being said I don’t like snobs telling what I should and should not like. But, in all honesty, that is exactly what us critics do. We are movie snobs and we tell you which films to go see and which to avoid. So I cannot really pull the rug out from under those who say this film was doomed from the beginning.
Based on characters from DC’s Aquaman which were created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the story is of a boy who is born to a lighthouse keeper (Temuera Morrison – Once Were Warriors, Moana) and the Queen Atlana (Nicole Kidman – The Others, Cold Mountain) from the sea kingdom of Atlantis. Though their love is forbidden they are together and have a son. Not willing to lose their Queen, forces are sent to bring Atlana back. Though she defeats them, she tells her love for his and their son’s safety she must leave them.
Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa – from television’s Game of Thrones) is brought up by his father. He is considered a half breed. Not really human and not creature of the sea. Does not belong anywhere. Arthur spends most of his time making sure that humans do what is right in regards to the seas and oceans. Becoming a sot of hero to some while a freak to be feared by others. As a result, he keeps mostly to himself.
Though he has a legitimate claim to the throne of Atlantis, Arthur is not interested in the least. That is, until he is approached by the daughter, Mera (Amber Heard – The Rum Diary, Machete Kills), of one of the rulers of the underwater kingdoms, King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren – Creed II, Rocky IV). She wants Arthur to come and contest his half brother, King Orm’s (Patrick Wilson – Insidious, Watchmen) claim to the throne. Orm is attempting to use any means possible to get the other underwater rulers to agree to attack humans living on land. This would mean millions of deaths on both sides. She wants this avoided at any costs.
Arthur is finally convinced and in order to do so he begins the search, with Mera, for the trident which will aide him in the endeavour to defeat his half brother and avoid the war with humans.
The strongest aspect of this film, like most super hero films, is the visuals. Even beyond the action. If things do not look amazing in these made up worlds then everything else is poo pooed. Such is not the case here. Director James Wan (Fast & Furious 7, The Conjuring 2) has brought to life a visually stunning world which adds to the fun and realism of the story. It allows your imagination to be engaged and to put yourself fully into the unfolding story.
Though there might be some doubts or debates about Jason Mamoa’s acting abilities, he is not asked to do much here. There is really little character development, range of emotion or even dialogue here. Just some looks and the occasional (though typical of the comic book genre) cheesy dialogue. Really he just has to be the big hulking presence that he often is asked to be. Not out of his wheelhouse at all. A case of perfect casting.
It is definitely not a film without its faults like awful dialogue and hammy acting, but not anything that is out of the ordinary for a comic book based film. Lets not expect miracles, people. Enjoy it for what it is. Mindless diversion.
What I wish the story had focused on more was the whole ecological message embeded within. The fact that the residents are irate with humans and the damage/pollution we have inflicted on the world’s oceans. A missed opportunity in my books. A message which could have made a mark on doubters.
-James Wan: World Builder
-Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman
-The Dark Depths of Black Manta
-Heroines of Atlantis
-Kingdoms of the Seven Seas
-Creating Undersea Creatures
-A Match Made in Atlantis
-Scene Study Breakdowns
-Exclusive Sneak Peek of Shazam