Aquaman Review (2018)
SHOULD YOU WATCH IT? ABSOLUTELY
IMAX?: YES - 3D?: YES - MID-CREDITS?: YES - POST-CREDITS?: NO
DON’T LET A BY-THE-NUMBERS PLOT AND CHEESY DIALOGUE DISSUADE YOU FROM THIS CGI EXTRAVAGANZA. WHAT IS LOST IN SUBTLETY IS MADE UP FOR IN SHEER FUN AN IMMERSION.
Our story begins with what we largely gathered from watching the trailers, especially the second one. You can also compare the origin shown here with Arthur’s comic origins to see how they line up. A lighthouse keeper spots an injured woman on the rocks beneath him. The woman turns out to be Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), who seems to be trying to escape her past. After learning of each other’s ways the two fall in love and the Queen gives birth to Arthur (Jason Momoa), a half-human, half-Atlantean child. It’s her first child and thus he’s the rightful heir to the throne of her home, Atlantis. His parents raise him for a few years before things go sideways and Atlanna’s past comes back to haunt her. Choosing to safeguard both her child and his father, she decides to leave them and face what will come when she reaches the sunken city of Atlantis.
Arthur is then raised by his father into adulthood. During this time, an ally from Atlantis named Vulko (Willem Dafoe) trains Arthur in the ways of battle as well as how to use his Atlantean senses. The movie, when in the present day, takes place after the events of Justice League. Arthur has continued his heroics and tales of the fabled “Aquaman” have reached far and wide including the depths of the oceans where Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) seeks war with the surface world. He is the current King of that segment of Atlantis but his claim to the throne is tenuous, because of the very existence of Arthur. That isn’t stopping him from seeking to unite the kingdoms of the sea to wreak never before seen destruction upon the surface world for all the atrocities they’ve wrought against the oceans.
Mera (Amber Heard), who we met in Justice League, seeks Arthur’s help to stop the war. They set out on a quest to find the trident of Atlan which is the birthright of the true king of the seas. With it they can prove Arthur’s birthright and unite the kingdoms, thereby stopping the war. Along the way they’re chased by Orm’s thralls as well as David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a pirate set on revenge against Arthur after their tragic first meeting early on. It’s a story where you may find yourselves nodding when listening to villains.
Aquaman succeeds where most DC films typically fail: it was tons of fun. It’s easily in the top 2 World’s of DC (the renamed DCEU) films to date and while it’s not as polished as Wonder Woman, it’s certainly a visual masterpiece. Director James Wan (The Conjuring, Furious 7) is fantastic behind the camera. There’s a scene in the trailer when Arthur and Mera dive into the depths of the ocean with a swarm of creatures giving chase. That entire scene has Wan’s trademark horror chops all over it, and it was gorgeous. You’ll feel immersed in a brand new world in the majority of the underwater scenes. It’s going to be interesting to see what James Cameron’s Avatar sequel will do to top it, but if it can even match what Wan has done here, I’ll be impressed. The film’s many underwater creatures, costumes and set pieces are incredibly detailed and immersive. You may drown.
The movie is not without fault. Some of the writing and the, at times, extremely cheesy dialogue is cringe-worthy but its not enough to detract pleasure while watching. Do yourselves a favor and see it on the biggest screen you can. I didn’t see it in 3D but from what I’ve gleaned, it’ll be a sight to behold in IMAX 3D. See it!
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