Star – Jason Momoa
My Rating **
Genre – Action/Comic Book
Run Time – 2 Hr 23 Minutes.
Certificate – PG13
Country – U.S.A
Awards – 33 Nominations
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So, is Aquaman the worse DC movie of all time? No because that is a very long list and so almost impossible to get that low, even though this one sinks pretty quickly, if you excuse the pun. It was always going to be pun heaven if this one stank the place up. The fact it got 33 award nominations and won none tells you all you need to know.
I don’t know why DC films have been battered into submission by Marvel over the years but they have, and so very few hits compared to the Marvel boys and girls. It started so well back in 2005 when those new sparkling digital effects allowed the often camp and cheesy superhero film genre to become credible and boundless, DC’s Batman Begins wowing the world. But since then, bar a recent hit with Wonder Woman, it’s been dire DC, swept away by the pure marvel of The Avengers, Thor, Spiderman and co, Aquaman another to drown in DC mediocrity.
Somewhat bizarrely it seems DC fans have been beaten into submission that their films are just not going to be great and turn out anyway, Aquaman the biggest DC hit ever, grossing an incredible $1.2 billion dollars from its $160 million budget. It’s not a terrible film but hard to believe word-of-mouth kept this above water. Thankfully it’s not as bad as Daredevil.
Jason Momoa … Arthur
Amber Heard … Mera
Willem Dafoe … Vulko
Patrick Wilson … King Orm
Nicole Kidman … Atlanna
Dolph Lundgren … King Nereus
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II … Manta
Temuera Morrison … Tom Curry
Ludi Lin … Captain Murk
Michael Beach … Jesse (Manta’s Father)
Randall Park … Dr. Stephen Shin
Graham McTavish … King Atlan
Leigh Whannell … Cargo Pilot
Tainui Kirkwood … Young Arthur (Three Years Old)
Tamor Kirkwood … Young Arthur (Three Years Old)
Its 1985 and a lighthouse keeper, Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison), discovers a beautiful woman, Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), washed up on his rocks. Turns out she is not from these parts, the queen of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis no less. They fall in love, as you do, and have a son named Arthur, who is half fish, half human with fish like powers, like communicating with sea creatures. Following an attack on the lighthouse by futuristic soldiers, she is made to return to Atlantis, from where she had fled to escape from an arranged marriage to a prince.
Atlanna has to leave Thomas and the kid behind with fellow and good Atlantian Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) given the mission of training Arthur as a future king above the waves, but a teenage Arthur rejecting the whole idea of going to Atlantis upon learning that Atlanna was executed for having a half-breed son.
33 years later and Arthur (Jason Mamoa) is all grown up, a de facto superhero named ‘Aquaman’ by the tabloids, a sort of underwater Superman.
He battles pirates attempting to hijack a Russian Akula-class submarine. Their leader dies during the fight while his son David (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) vows revenge against Aquaman.
Meanwhile back in Atlantis under the waves, King Orm of Atlantis (Patrick Wilson) who is Arthur’s half-brother, attempts to convince King Nereus of Xebel (Dolph Lundgren) to help him unite Atlantis and attack the humans above for polluting the oceans. Whoever does unite all four kingdoms, will receive the title of Ocean Master, commander of the most powerful force on the planet. Their war call is hastened when a Russian submarine attacks their meeting place, proof enough the above water realms want them gone.
To try and stop the war, the king’s beautiful daughter Mera (Amber Heard), who has been betrothed to Orm, hot fins it to the surface to ask Arthur for help, befriended by him when she saves his father from a tsunami. Aquaman decides it’s time to reclaim his throne.
It’s a bit of an iridescent explosion to say the least, like Guardians of the Galaxy meets the Great Barrier Reef on steroids, kinda like a parody of an animated film like Finding Nemo, fish, crabs and tridents everywhere. It’s kind of an inversion of Black Panther, all white folks in an underwater secret city with that special blue energy at the water breather’s convenience this time. It’s a bit like when George Lucas went mental with the new digital effects that tempted him to reboot Star Wars with the Phantom Menace, but no one dare tap him on the shoulder and say there is a little bit too much going down on the screen here pal and somewhat cluttered.
Jason Mamoa does his Thor impression and not very well and everyone else laying on the corn syrup thick. The dialect is pretty poor and some of the special effects stuff pretty silly, including somewhat obtuse shootouts on the surface. It feels like the producers have demanded the director to use more characters and weapons in the film to help the merchandising profits on the inevitable toys and games as we know the film will be terrible. They were right.
I would treat this purely as a kid’s film and I think adults should leave well alone. The wow factor from digital effects has long since gone and so these films have to have more depth. This does not. The plot is silly and the writing poor, the action perfunctory and the special effects surprisingly naff at times. It’s very much an opportunity missed and drowned on those off the shelf special effects.
Imdb.com 7.0/10.0 – (314,324votes)
Rottentomatos.com –65% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 55% critic’s approval