Bringing Aquaman to the bring screen was always going to be a difficult task, not helped by the fact that over the past seven decades the character has been treated as a joke character to many. So when Game of Thrones actor, Jason Momoa was first announced to be taking on the role of Arthur Curry, it was obvious this take on the character was going to be an entirely different kettle of fish. But does the film make a big splash? Will it have you hooked? Will I stop making aquatic puns? Read on to find out!
As previously stated, an Aquaman film was always going to be a hard sell, but thankfully James Wan’s adaption manages to pull it off whilst keeping the essence of the story mostly intact. The story itself takes place a year after the events of Justice League with Aquaman now enjoying life as a hero of legend. However it’s not long before he finds himself thrust into a battle for the Throne of Atlantis before his Half-brother Orm can unite the seven nations and declare war on the surface world.
Momoa himself does a great job as Arthur, never finding himself out of his depths even in scenes with some of his bigger name co-stars. The actor manages to keep the same cocky swagger that the character had in Justice League whilst also showing growth as he comes to accept that he can’t outrun his past forever.
Assisting him on his quest is Amber Heard’s Mera who is definitely a character who we need to see again in the DCEU and Willem Dafoe’s Vulko, who acts as a mentor for the titular hero during his early days. Both of these actors give strong performances that definitely earn them a chance to appear again in the franchise.
On this opposite side of the war is Patrick Wilson as Orm, who sees Arthur’s illegitimate birth as the reason for their Mother’s harsh treatment as well as his stronger claim to the throne he so desperately requires. In this capacity, Wilson excels, often times feeling as though he is playing it too serious for a film about a man who talks to fish. He is flanked by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s villainous Black Manta, who despite being severely underutilized still cements his place as one of DC’s better, and most comic accurate, villains of recent years.
The story itself is the type of globetrotting epic you would expect to find in an Indiana Jones film, with Arthur and Mera travelling the globe in an attempt to reclaim the missing trident of Atlan. This eventually lead to an impressive fight scene between Arthur, Mera and Black Manta through the streets, and over the rooftops, of Sicily. This scene is one of the definite highlights of the film. My only gripe is that they may have crammed so much into this film that they may have missed out on giving them a fully fledged chance in any potential sequels – but it may simply be a case of wait and see.
One of the aspects in which this film truly excels is the underwater scenes, most notably in regards to some of the different kingdoms with Atlantis itself being both visually stunning and wholly imaginative. In fact it’s those scenes alone which would definitely justify the cost of an IMAX ticket.
Overall, Aquaman Is one of the most entertaining DC films of the past five years and definitely the most fun that I’ve had with a DC film since 2008’s The Dark Knight.