Aquaman Review: Worth Diving into this Underwater Adventure

December 23, 2018 at 6:32 PM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment

SPOILER WARNING: This movie review contains spoilers of the Aquaman live action film adaptation. Read at your own risk!


Okay, full disclosure: I used to read DC and Marvel comics as a child but I don’t exactly recall if I ever read any Aquaman comics. My exposure to Aquaman was a few glimpses of its cartoon version on TV, nothing more. So I went into the cinema this weekend to watch its live action adaptation as a movie goer more than a comics reader. Thus, I really didn’t know how much of the film’s story borrowed from the original material.

The movie Aquaman was first and foremost a visually stunning spectacle. Its underwater scenes alone made up for the fact that the movie was silly and corny at times in terms of plot and dialogue. The movie tells the story of Aquaman’s origins – how he was born from a human father and a mother who happened to be Atlanna, the queen of an underwater world called Atlantis.

Arthur Curry, as what Aquaman was called by humans, was just trying to mind his own business – helping people in trouble – when he got caught in an emerging war between Atlanteans and surface dwellers, i.e. humans. His Atlantean half-brother Orm wanted to declare war against humans for causing so much pollution in the ocean and militarizing the ocean. But in order to do so, Orm must convince at least four of the seven kingdoms under the sea to side with him and gather forces against the humans.

Mera, an Atlantean princess who first appeared in Justice League, prodded a reluctant Arthur to reclaim his birthright as the king of the seven seas. It’s worth noting the callback to Justice League in one of the scenes in the movie. This could only mean that the events that took place in Justice League happened before Arthur officially became Aquaman.

The movie’s plot was rather cliché – a typical trope I’ve seen in other movies and TV shows where a hero’s quest takes him to other parts of the world in search of clues. But like I’ve said, I don’t know how much of its plot was taken directly from the comics. Another problem I had with the movie was the dialogue. There was too much exposition in them that it sounded like the writers cramped every detail of the backstory they could in the dialogue.

Although I liked Arthur’s humor in Justice League, in Aquaman, most of the humor between Arthur and Mera fell flat. The two didn’t even have chemistry to make the romantic side of the story convincing. The sub-plot about Black Manta was unnecessary and looked more as a distraction from the main plot, which was the Atlantean war. Black Manta’s story was better off in a separate movie than this one.

While Jason Momoa’s performance as Aquaman was remarkable, Amber Heard as Mera was lacking in depth. And while I enjoyed the first half of the movie, the second half was much better. In the second half, we saw Arthur successfully take the much sought-after trident and finally became Aquaman. Aquaman’s costume in the movie looked way better than the original campy one from the comics. The sea creatures also got a modern upgrade. No longer we saw Aquaman riding on a pink seahorse. Instead, the sea creatures – from seahorses to sharks, turtles and giant crabs – were fierce and formidable.

Overall, the movie was enjoyable and still worth watching. I could only hope that the sequel (should there be one) would be better than this first installment.


Thought Bubbles

  • What exactly does Arthur do for a living when he’s on land and living among humans?
  • How did Orm know about Vulko’s “betrayal”? How long did he know that Vulko trained Arthur as a young boy?
  • Considering the Atlantis scenes in Justice League, did Orm and Vulko know about the mother box as well? Why were they not involved in the fight against Steppenwolf?
  • Given that there was melting lava in one of the underwater scenes in the movie, shouldn’t the water be hot and boiling then? How come Arthur and Mera didn’t seem to feel any heat from it?

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