Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.
An ‘Aquaman’ film has been swimming around in development for a number of years now, but it’s only recently as DC take steps to get their extended universe back on track that a standalone film has finally came to fruition. It’s not the character’s first appearance after supporting roles in ‘Justice League’ and ‘Dawn of Justice’, but this is the first feature film centred on the character and I found it to be an enjoyable proper introduction to the character and the underwater world of Atlantis. The film is directed by James Wan and he has a good handle on the material, whilst Jason Momoa was always a superb bit of casting and he excels in the leading role.
The plot of the film surrounds Aquaman being drawn into a conflict within the underwater world of Atlantis, as his half brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) is attempting to start a war with the ‘surface world’. The previous films in the DC universe have often got bogged down in too much darkness, attempting to find the tone of the Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ series without understanding what made them work, so it’s refreshing to see ‘Aquaman’ take on an altogether more adventurous, energetic tone. It feels like its taken cues from ‘Black Panther’ in its world building, ramping up the weirdness of Atlantis (Dolph Lundgren riding a seahorse!) whilst also developing it as a visually distinct, interesting world with its own customs and traditions. Much of the film’s narrative feels inspired by various other pieces of pop culture, whether intentional or not, with nods to things as distinct as ‘Pinocchio’ and even ‘Tomb Raider’. I thought the action scenes were exciting and well directed and I liked the different locations the film uses, including places like Sicily as well as the CGI laden world of Atlantis.
The film isn’t without its flaws, namely some clunky dialogue that even seasoned pros such as Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman struggle to sell, and the runtime is too long, with at least one or two of Aquaman and Mera’s (Amber Heard) escapades prime candidates for things that could have been cut. That being said, I was mostly entertained by ‘Aquaman’ and I thought this was an ambitious superhero movie that starts to show signs that there is life in the DC Extended Universe yet.
Directed By: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Ludi Lin, Temuera Morrison, Randall Park and Michael Beach