Friday 21 December 2018

Aquaman (Movie Review)

It is no secret that the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) had all but come to a sputtering halt following the release of last year's Justice League. This was despite that movie's attempt to course correct all the missteps and shortcomings of the movies that came before it (except Wonder Woman of course, which was universally beloved by fans and critics alike). But if Justice League was a step in the right direction, then Aquaman is the logical next step, or dare I say leap, in that new direction.

The movie takes place after the events of Justice League, but rather than try to tie its plot in with the events of that big but messy superhero team up, the filmmakers have opted to tell a self-contained story that works as a standalone tale, or soft reboot, depending on how you choose to look at it. It is both a superhero origin story and a coming-of-age tale, one that finds its titular hero (Jason Momoa) on a quest to reclaim his lost inheritance and prevent an all out war.

Born from a forbidden love between his human father (Temuera Morrison) and the queen of Atlantis herself (Nicole Kidman), Arthur Curry (aka. Aquaman) has grown up with very little connection to his people. The only exception to this is his mentor, Vulko (Willem Dafoe), who'd taught young Arthur about his heritage and how to use his powers. But this changes after he learns from the Atlantean princess, Mera (Amber Heard), that his half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilsons), was seeking to unite the underwater kingdoms in a war against the surface dwellers.

A reluctant Arthur is soon swept up by the waves of an adventure spanning the deserts of the Sahara and the seven seas, as he comes to accept that the only way to stop Orm is by overthrowing him as the rightful ruler of Atlantis. But before he can make a proper claim to the throne, he must first win its people's approval, and the only way to do this is by retrieving the Trident of Atlan, the very first king's weapon of choice.

Aquaman is the exact kind of movie that the DCEU needs right now. It is a fun-filled adventure that fully embraces the wackiness and otherworldliness of its source material, and this is brought to life by some truly spectacular visuals and action sequences. It also helps that none of its humor or lightheartedness felt shoehorned into the film, the way it did in Justice League and Suicide Squad. Overall, it marks another win for the DCEU, and a clear indicator that there is still some hope yet.

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