Aquaman is the latest comic book film from the DCEU (DC Cinematic Universe). It follows the story of Arthur Curry, the son of a lighthouse keeper and Atlanta, the Queen of Atlantis, as he fights to earn the title of King of Atlantis from his half brother Orm, The Ocean Master. Aquaman is a nice surprise. It is a globetrotting, high flying, sea adventure reminiscent of a mix of Indiana Jones, and a Ray Harryhausen film (Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans). This film is lots of fun, and a comic book film in the strongest sense.
What I really appreciate about Aquaman, especially in terms of visual designs, is just how much it resembles its source material. Black Manta and Ocean Master look like they’ve been ripped straight out of the comics, as does Aquaman in his classic orange costume. In some ways, Aquaman is what the first Thor (2011), should have been, showing us a newly created world and sticking to that world, rather than abandoning it to Earth settings. The enduring mythical Atlantis really feels like its comes to life.
Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) in the title role is fun, goofy, and surprisingly heroic. Aquaman goes through a character arc of self discovery and empowerment, and his Homer-like adventures through Europe and Africa, are very much out of the playbook of Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981). According to interviews, is what director James Wan and company were trying to accomplish. Amber Heard plays Mera, a Princess, who plays an active key role, and gets several moments to shine. Patrick Wilson is Orm, Aquaman’s power hungry half brother, walking the line between serious and hammy. Willem Dafoe, although somewhat reserved, attempts to continue to serve Orm as his vizier while secretly cultivating Aquaman’s rise. It’s clear the series is setting the stage for a future installment.
The story line moves at such a rapid, transformative pace, it can sometimes get a little muddled in its execution with the over reliance of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery). Additionally, the dialogue isn’t always the greatest with things you’ve heard a million times in other comic book films. But, this can be easily to overlooked when you’re watching the film.
Aquaman is probably the best DC film since Wonder Woman (2017). It’s nice to see a movie that isn’t afraid to be colorful, and truly embraces its original comic book style. Aquaman is one Holiday film to watch and enjoy, and I can recommend it quite handily.
Now playing in Lebanon at Entertainment Cinema: Christmas Day 3:35 and 6:45 PM, and then 12:05, 3:35 and 6:45 PM.