Director: James Wan
Rating: **** 4
“Life like the sea, have a different way of bringing people together,” narrates Aquaman as he gives us an insight into his origin story.
At the Amnesty Bay in Maine, Tom Curry the lighthouse keeper, rescues Atlanna, the princess of the underwater nation of Atlantis. They fall in love and have a son, Arthur, who is born with the power to communicate with the marine lifeforms.
“Aquaman” is a visually stunning, superhero film, whose story seems to have been adapted on the lines of the legendary King Arthur of medieval Britain, whose fundamental story element has been told a countless times over centuries.
Here, our Arthur – the Aquaman, is entrusted to Vulko, Atlanna’s most trusted and loyal advisor who trains him to become a skilled warrior. But unfortunately, despite being the true heir of the throne of Atlantis, he is rejected by the Atlanteans for being a half-breed.
So in order to claim his birth right, he has to dethrone his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), who seeks to unite the seven aquatic kingdoms in a war against the surface. Of course, Arthur’s path is not as simple as walking, or in this case swimming, towards the throne and claiming it. Also, here instead of the fabled sword, Aquaman has to retrieve a trident to prove his claim.
While the story may sound jaded, the storytelling style of the hero’s journey along with the settings create a truly epic adventure that is fascinating and enthralling. In almost two and a half hours of the screen time, there is no shortage of melodrama which includes, “mommy issues”, humour, impressive action sequences, gladiatorial fights, war of the thrones and an unexpected but welcome environmental comment that falls as a ring to the finger.
With a superbly chiselled physique and a devil-may-care attitude, Jason Momoa holds centre screen easily. He transcends the source material and perfectly embodies Arthur Curry, who is caught between two distinct identities, cultures and pressures of life. He particularly shines towards the final third of the film.
Alongside Momoa, Amber Heard plays a powerful warrior in Mera who is an equal match for Aquaman throughout the film. Nicole Kidman as his mother is impressive, but wasted in an insignificant role. The villains in the film; Patrick Wilson as Orm and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, are larger than life and they widen the scope of the narrative.
Mounted with brilliant visual effects and astounding score, each moment feels stunning, larger than life and simply beautiful. A little bit of editing of the action sequences could have made the film a bit more-taut.
Nevertheless, the fluidity on screen is simply impeccable and a joy to watch. It is easily one of the best from the Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.