Superhero films have become a staple in cinemas within the last 10 years. So, what does Aquaman offer us that doesn’t already exist in other superhero films? And is it worth buying a ticket for?
Aquaman is a superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Jason Momoa’s character, Arthur is a child of both land and sea. In his adulthood, Arthur’s destiny calls him back to the ocean, to The Kingdom of Atlantis where his brother, Patrick Wilson’s character Orm reigns and desires war with the people above. With the help of Mera played by Amber Heard and his childhood mentor, Vulko played by Willem Dafoe, Arthur transitions from a reluctant ‘land dweller’ to king of the seas.
Although Aquaman is known to become the King of Atlantis from the comics, the film still manages to provide endless entertainment and surprises to both superhero fans and new viewers alike. I found Aquaman to be visually impressive and highly humorous, but not too the point that the film is overly cheesy. I found Jason Momoa’s portrayal of Arthur/Aquaman to be extremely charismatic, cheeky, serious in the moments that he needed to be and very relatable. I also found him quite refreshing. When you think of most superheroes, they are usually clean cut and let’s face it – Caucasian.
I was delighted to see that Queen Altanta and Thomas Curry (Arthur’s parents played by Nicole Kidman and Temuera Morrison) were an interracial couple and were bridging the gap not only between two different cultures, but between two different worlds. I think that displaying this in films, let alone superhero films is very important as we do not get to experience many interracial couples nor romances on-screen. This is something that is normal in day to day life (especially for me) yet is rarely seen in film, so I would love to see more of this and I applaud director James Wan for his choices.
I also want to highlight that in this day and age where marriage isn’t really sacred anymore as people can cheat or get a divorce, it was really endearing to see two characters stay in love and be loyal to one another despite being literally oceans apart. Even if Atlanta and Tom are both fictional characters, it isn’t hard to believe that there is such thing as loving someone so powerfully, so purely and so loyally like how they did each other.
Regarding villains, I love any villain whether it be animated or live action that has depth, good morals and reasoning behind their otherwise bad actions and decisions. I genuinely enjoy films where you can relate to the antagonist just as much as the protagonist. With Patrick Wilson’s character Orm, I fully understood his reasons for hating ‘land dwellers’ for their pollution, whaling and general disrespect for the ocean which despite being highlighted in a superhero film, is all factual and are current topics that should be addressed. But one should never stereotype and blame an entire race for the bad actions of a few. And despite Amber Heard’s character, Mera also detesting the people above, her mind is open, knowing better than to blame everyone.
I found that the storyline for Aquaman flowed quite naturally, despite feeling very long. Although Jason Momoa shines and has great chemistry with every actor he interacts with on-screen, I would have liked to have seen him have more moments alone. Visually, the film is stunning and the clever costuming of the Atlanteans is particularly impressive with their outfits made to look like scales. I also found the score quite catchy, and somehow along with the visuals, reminded me of the film Tron Legacy at certain parts. This can only be a good thing, as Tron Legacy is one of my favourite films. In fact, many scenes in Aquaman will remind you of other films you have seen. But I can assure you, despite all of this, Aquaman very much has its own identity.
A resounding message in Aquaman is to strive for peace and understanding despite our differences of who we are and where we come from. I loved that. But I also loved the wild, crazy and ridiculously fun ride that the film provides as well.
Would I recommend seeing Aquaman in cinemas? Absolutely. I have since had the pleasure of seeing this film several times since the media screening, but my favourite viewing was when I experienced it in IMAX because it felt like I too was in the deep in the ocean during several key scenes. If you have not seen this film already or want to see it again, I highly recommend seeing this film in IMAX. And I’m not just saying that. If not for the oceanic experience, do it to see giant shirtless Jason Momoa in all his glory. You can thank me later.
Aquaman is honestly one of the better superhero films out there and even though Aquaman is not my favourite (Wonder Woman still has my heart), I cannot deny that Aquaman is entertaining as hell. Just don’t go into this film without eating first, because when I went to see Aquaman the first time, I had a sensational desire to eat seafood afterwards and have felt the same after every viewing since. Or… maybe I just love seafood.