This movie, based off of the DC comic book Superhero Of the same name, Arthur Curry, also known as Aquaman, must step up and face is half brother Orm, and claim his rightful heir to the kingdom of Atlantis before Orm unites the seven kingdoms of Atlantis and attacks the surface world.
The following article contains spoilers from this point on.
This was an enjoyable movie as I didn’t have many expectations going into this film. It didn’t blow me away, but I was surprised how much it didn’t follow prior movies in this series like Man of Steel in terms of an origin story. It finally feels like DC is starting to get into a groove of at least creating their own good comic book movie universe. They don’t have to have this deep symbolism and complex morality that Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice had. It followed in Wonder Woman’s tracks of someone who just wants to do good and right. That is what a comic book movie universe starting out should be, at least when you start out when introducing new heroic characters to an audience that is unfamiliar with them. This is the sixth movie in this DCEU universe, and hopefully, this trend can continue until the audience for these movies rebuilds and then maybe try for the symbolism and more profound meaning later.
I did find the cast to have surprised me a bit. Not that the cast was good or bad, but the actors were in this movie, to begin with. Jason Momoa was always one of the better choices to play Aquaman I thought since they cast him. If you’re going to have an underwater hero, why not have an actor that has a tropical look to portray him. Amber Heard is Mera, Aquaman’s love interest and Daughter of King Nereus. She is supposed to be Orm’s future wife and queen, but she along with Vulko, Orr’s advisor in Atlantis are planning against him and trying to bring Aquaman to Atlantis as the rightful King. Her and Aquaman played off each other nicely. The contrast that they both had made the “fish out of water” story that they both had work. Whether it’s Aquaman trying to understand Atlantis, the underwater city world that shunned him for being a half human/half Atlantan, or Mera, wondering why Aquaman wants to stay in the surface and keeps rejecting the title of King and help the Atlantans. The ways they were both lost and then came to understand where each other was coming from was entertaining. It also made the sort of forced “love story” of them coming together at the end work.
The two bad guys or antagonists in the movie were Orm and Black Manta. Orm is Aquaman’s younger half brother and main antagonist looking to become King of the Seven underwater Kingdoms and become The Oceanmaster. Black Manta was the mercenary/pirate who wanted revenge after Aquaman let his father die during their raid on a nuclear submarine. Both of these felt like basic movie plots, but I liked them for this movie. Orm was OK, but Manta was great. He didn’t have much in terms of a sympathetic bad guy, but it made more sense not to give him sympathy, just to make him out for understandable revenge.
One of the movie impressive aspects of the film was the sound department. One of Aquaman’s more known powers is the telepathic ability to communicate with sea life. While I didn’t get the high pitched sonar sound that I’m similar with from the Superfriends cartoons, I liked the lower sonar waves sound. I loved the underwater echo that was made whenever the characters spoke underwater. It gave more of an emphasis on the differences in the underwater world. The music had made the movie feel more fantasy than it did like a superhero genre. It didn’t take away from the superhero movie tone. It’s similar to the way that Thor: Ragnorak soundtrack and may have made the film better.
While the fights that Orm and Aquaman had in the movie ran a bit too long, the rest of the battles and fight sequences were fun. My favorite was the fight Between Black Manta and Aquaman in Italy. The way that it switched between Aquaman/Manta and Mera/Elite guards and showcased the fight/chase they were in was really cool.
Of course, this movie isn’t without flaws. I can agree that the film is long, but at the same time, it had to be. I think that this movie could have been better as a two-part story of Aquaman becoming King of Atlantis. But given that this movie was in development since 2014 and had many script problems, maybe trying to do such a story might have been risky since the DC movie universe was in a bit of jeopardy of being canceled.
If this was a two-part movie, it could have fleshed out more of the seven kingdoms of Atlantis. This way instead of somehow rushing out characters and places that weren’t memorable. A two-part story would even go into more backstory of more of the significant roles and given some more solid motivation of Orm’s reasoning to take over the surface world other than for superiority. I was also confused for the first half hour of when the main story of this movie took place. I thought that this was before the events of Justice League until Mera mentions how he helped in defeating Steppenwolf, the villain from that movie. Title cards were put continuously up for this movie showing locations, they should be at least had something that said, “one year after the Invasion of Steppenwolf” or something like that. There were also too many jumps in time and story that almost lost me once or twice.
One of the more over obvious foreshadowing in the story was Altanna. Atlanna though to have died after Orm’s father, had her sacrificed to the Trench, a legion of amphibious monsters, for leaving and having a child on the surface world. The constant mentioning of her “death” was a fairly obvious clue that we would be seeing her again. Again if this was a two-part story, I think that this would have been a good twist, given that the time the movies would be spread out, would have caused me to forget about the mentions of Altanna being sacrificed.
I don’t have any idea where they are going to go with Aquaman in future movies. He beat Orn and became King of Atlantis. We did get a mid-credit scene of Black Manta being rescued by Dr. Stephen Shin, a scientist obsessed with finding Atlantis. Shin wanting to go to Atlantis and Manta seeking revenge again comes off as cliche. Plus I find it odd that no one in this world of superhero and villains believes him about Atlantis. I’m sure others out there would take him seriously. The only other thing that I know about Dr. Shin is him being involved with the “New 52” comic reboot series DC has. I’m sure given the success of this move, there is going to be a plan set or the sequel. I hope that it’s a good one.
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