Aquaman is over two hours of adventure spread across the oceans and land between them. As he is both the heir to the throne of Atlantis and a son of the land, the story follows his journey to accept his legacy and stop a war between both worlds. What occurs is pure and simple storytelling with gorgeous visuals; it may not be a challenging film but this is a blockbuster at its best. A relief for fans of DC Comics after the lacklustre Justice League failed to garner the positive support it wanted.
Jason Momoa reprises his role as Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman. Beginning with the meeting of his parents, it is revealed his father (Temuera Morrison) was a lighthouse keeper and his mother (Nicole Kidman) was the Queen of Atlantis. Years later Arthur’s half-brother Orm is about to declare war on the surface world and claim the throne, which would kill billions on both sides. The sibling rivalry adds layers to the characters, where Orm blames Arthur for being the cause of their mothers death and for the ‘crime’ of being half-human too. Arthur is aided by Mera (Amber Heard) who wants Arthur to ascend the throne and unite both worlds.
The film moves at a swash-buckling pace, yet never feels confusing even when characters like Black Manta are introduced. Black Manta is played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, a villain with strong personal ties to Aquaman which comic book fans will enjoy seeing play out on the big screen. In many ways this may be the most comic-accurate film to have been made recently. This is all the work of director James Wan, who brings a pedigree mix of royal drama, big screen spectacle and horror to Aquaman. The fight scenes are impressively choreographed and blocked so audiences can feel the impact with every hit.
Jason Momoa does what many believed was impossible, he makes Aquaman cool. He’s a laidback giant of a man effortlessly ushering in a more vibrant and enjoyable film. As he explores ocean we’re introduced to Atlantis, which is a beautiful neon city. In fact, most scenes in this film have a bright saturated glow to them, but it’s not over-the-top and James Wan knows when to let the darkness in when he delves into his horror roots.
Aquaman is a summer blockbuster in December, it will carry you away with its light-hearted tone and impressive stunts to an incredible grand finale. The pacing of the film does well to make sure the action never stops but never gets too tiresome. This is helped by having a plot which feels familiar, in an age of superhero films this origin story keeps things fresh and moving. Aquaman delivers as a spectacle and will have you demanding a sequel by the end.
Aquaman is out now.
Words by Sunny Ramgolam @SunnyRamgolam.
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