Prepare for the king tide, DC Comics fans! The new Aquaman movie has finally come ashore in full glory. With a talented cast, breathtaking action sequences, and compelling themes, Furious 7 director James Wan provides an exciting narrative about the titular trident-wielding hero’s early beginnings.
Jason Momoa powerfully reprises his Justice League (2017) role as Aquaman. Like in Justice League, Momoa portrays this ocean king as a cool but intimidating tough guy. He injects an offbeat humour into not only light-hearted moments with Amber Heard (Mera), but also more volatile scenes with Patrick Wilson (Ocean Master). At the same time, Momoa further explores Aquaman’s tribulations as a superhero and his philosophical journey, making for a riveting commentary about the struggle of belonging in an uncertain world.
The film evokes ethereal perils through its enthralling blend of exotic locations and alien realms. These intricate settings balance against the cast’s richly realistic performance to set up a world of elevated tension. This excellent world-building creates a strong foundation for the film’s portrayal of the Aquaman mythology.
By far, the best set pieces in the story are the exuberant action sequences. Wan employs captivating close-ups and rotating camera angles for the film’s fight scenes, imbuing each battle with a fluid, immersive visual style. He also layers the action with meticulous sound editing and well-executed slow-motion shots.
However, the story falls short in portraying three-dimensional secondary characters. Willem Dafoe gives an adequate performance as Aquaman’s mentor, but his role only seems to offer expositional dialogue rather than substantial involvement in the narrative. Aside from Dafoe, Nicole Kidman gives a heartwarming but fierce portrayal as Aquaman’s mother, Queen Atlanna, yet her character’s storyline becomes too akin to Michelle Pfeiffer’s role from Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Also, the villain Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) does not have as much screen time or relevance as the film’s other characters. Despite his awesome battle suit and his brutal fight scenes with Aquaman, Manta is only a glorified cameo. With no additional background on Manta, moviegoers unfamiliar with the comics may be alienated from him. Moreover, his main role in the story seems to just be a secondary villain, spearheading a subplot that prepares for a potential sequel rather than relate more explicitly to the main plot.
But overall, James Wan delivers a superb superhero action film with a talented cast and thrilling bouts. With Jason Momoa’s daring performance as the legendary Atlantean king, Aquaman is a worthwhile movie that exceeds expectations with its equally worthwhile story.