Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ “Aquaman” proves to be quite the visual adventure. With a stupendous oceanic landscape, amusing fight scenes and an exceptional ensemble cast, the film has exciting moments at every turn. The plot is similar to previous DC and Marvel Studio films, but those similarities bring out the best in the famed King of Atlantis.
“Aquaman” starts off as an origin story of Arthur Curry, played by Jason Momoa, told through flashbacks of how he comes to learn of his half-Atlantean heritage and superhuman abilities.
As the story progresses, a reluctant Arthur must confront his half-brother Orm, played by Patrick Wilson, who harbors hatred against humans for polluting the sea and Black Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateem II, who resents Arthur for inadvertently killing his father. Alongside warrior princess Mera, played by Amber Heard, Arthur must return to his role as the superhero Aquaman, confront these threats and claim his birthright as the true king of Atlantis.
Throughout the film, Orm discriminates against Arthur for being half-human and half-Atlantean. Aquaman’s pride in being from two different worlds is necessary in the sense that he defies history and convinces many fellow Atlanteans that certain surface dwellers survive through love and companionship, not acts of terrorism.
The animosity established among Aquaman, Orm and Black Manta is similar to other films. Orm is similar to both Scar from “The Lion King” and Killmonger from “Black Panther,” as they all believe in superiority over an entire civilization and refuse to tolerate any weakness.
Black Manta is similar to Killmonger, as he views Aquaman as a murderer rather than a king and is driven by the thirst of vengeance to succeed. Both Orm and Black Manta proved to be menacing villains with interesting motives.
A great thing about the film is female characters challenged certain gender stereotypes. For example, Mera, a captivating princess, defies the stereotypical role of being a love interest by challenging the men around her, exhibiting martial arts proficiency against threats and saving Aquaman and herself from peril many times.
Queen Atlanna, played by Nicole Kidman, defies gender norms by choosing Arthur’s father over an arranged marriage, protecting herself from Atlantean soldiers that came to apprehend her and believing Arthur could unite both worlds, regardless of the views of her second son, Orm.
Much of the film’s comedy comes from Aquaman’s alcoholic, impulsive and masculine behavior. Given this outlook on life, he also fulfills the reluctant hero archetype as he shows to prefer happy hour over saving lives. However, he eventually lets this go so he could safeguard his people both on and off land.
Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Aquaman’s trainer Nuidis Vulko is a superb step away from his previous role as Green Goblin many years ago. In addition to all of the above, another great aspect of the film is the score by Rupert Gregson-Williams, the costumes, the bright oceanic scenery and the original music created for the film, such as the song “Everything I Need” by Skylar Grey.
“Aquaman” is a thrilling journey led by performances from Momoa and Heard. Through jokes, action and messages about overcoming bigotry, the film proves to be fun for comic book fans and regular audiences alike. If you are looking for adventure, be sure to watch this blockbuster.