Aquaman is our Editors wife nickname for him. It’s not because he has any amphibious abilities but more to do with his appalling incontinence problem after he’s been out for a big night’s drinking and finding himself waking up in a bed that’s more akin to a child’s paddling pool (You’re fired!’ – Ed). Aquaman is the latest in the DC extended universe to get his own movie and is perhaps far less well known that his Justice League buddies.
So playing like an origin story it’s his mum Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) who is found washed up on the shore by a lovelorn lighthouse keeper who brings her back to health and in time the pair fall in love and conceive a child they name Arthur Curry hardly surprising that he’s better known as Aquaman. It’s good to see Kidman in such a role as we’re far more used to see her in heavyweight roles such as the forthcoming Destroyer but she’s up to the job as seen in the first real action scene as she battles soldiers from the sea who’ve come to arrest her. It’s when director James Wan really shows that he’s up to the job of helming a superhero film with a blistering, breathtaking fight sequence all shot in one take with his camera whizzing around the set as Kidman kicks ass.
The story picks up some years later with Arthur a grown man helping out his father after his mother has returned to the sea to hide and prevent her son coming to harm from the sea soldiers looking for her. Arthur is Jason Momoa and it’s wonder he’s not been picked up by a modelling agency as he’s all wavy hair, muscles and dazzling good looks. However at heart he is a hybrid – half man, half fish and from his drinking habits, half cut too, as he necks beer after beer in a bar one night.
He’s having a well deserved break after rescuing the sailors on board a submarine attacked by David Kane who will become Black Manta. It also sets him up as his enemy returning later as what looks like Ant-Man’s clunky robot suited brother and yet in the grand Marvel tradition you have to wait to the end of the credits for where the inevitable sequel will be heading.
It’s only when Amber Heard as Mera turns up outside the bar one night that he is forced to return to the sea to help in her quest against his half brother Orm (Patrick Wilson). Presumably with her massive divorce payout from Johnny Depp Heard’s had a makeover with her hair dyed red and squeezed into a green figure hugging jumpsuit. It’s enough to make any bloke who’s been drinking heavily to have a go at being aquaman.
The story partly written by James Wan too centres around Aquaman’s brother Orm desperate to be seen as the king not just of Atlantis but of the several other underwater kingdoms that make up the oceanic world despite the fact the its Aquaman who is really the heir to that throne. But Arthur Aquaman is reluctant to take the title that’s rightly his. Apart from being Grand Ocean master of all the Seas, Orm is also intent on having his vengeance on the surface dwellers because of all the rubbish that has been dumped in the seas. It’s a relevant environmental message one which David Attenborough would be proud of. Ultimately its Aquaman having to come to terms with his destiny as the King of Atlantis and maintaining the peace between the underwater worlds.
It’s easy to see the appeal of Aquaman for director Wan. We’ve not seen anything like this in terms of creating an entirely new world underwater and yes it is a massive CGI-fest where it is a relief to be back on land. But what he and his team have created is impressive in detail from the actors hair waving in the water to the sea creatures that include a psychotic beast voiced by Mary Poppins herself Julie Andrews. But this is James Wan flexing his command of spectacle to great effect with some rousing sequences none more so than a rooftop chase in an Italy village and a underwater battle that owes much to The Two Towers which is no bad thing.
After proving himself by rejuvenating the horror genre with Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring he went on to handle spectacle with the massively successful Fast and Furious 7 pulling it back from the brink when its star died part way through production. He is an A-list director more than capable of handling such mammoth projects and for the studio there’s a lot riding on the film after the criticism leveled at Batman v Superman and Justice League. The film has an impressive supporting cast with Willem Dafoe and Dolph Lundgren on a bit of a career resurgence with Creed II yet here are both under used. Aquaman’s main issue is that at almost two and a half hours it is too long but there enough visual flair and action to keep audiences engaged….and for once even the fan boys shouldn’t be complaining.
Check out our pics from the Aquaman World Premiere here
Here’s the actual costumes up close as worn by Jason Momoa and Mera (Amber Heard)…….
Here’s the trailer……