On Friday, December 28th, we went to see Aquaman, the newest DC comics movie adaptation.
The character of Aquaman, a.k.a. Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) was introduced in the Justice League movie, where he had an important role. Here, we see his origin, as the son of lighthouse keeper Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) and fugitive Atlantean Princess Atlanna (Nicole Kidman). Arthur is left behind when Atlantis reclaims Atlanna, and grows up as a more-or-less regular guy, except for occasional lessons on how to be an Atlantean prince provided by the loyal Vulko (Willem Dafoe).
Vulko has confessed to Arthur that although Atlanna was married to the King of Atlantis and bore him a son, Orm (Patrick Wilson), she was eventually exiled to the Abyss and certain death for disloyalty. Therefore, when the movie opens, Arthur has not attempted to go to Atlantis, but contents himself with foiling the occasional act of piracy, as when he intervenes in Manta’s (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) seizure of a Russian submarine.
Thing change when Mera (Amber Heard) shows up at the lighthouse calling on him to claim the throne of Atlantis in order to halt a catastrophic war with the surface planned by Orm. Arthur reluctantly takes up the challenge, which sets the main plot of the adventure in motion.
There’s a fairly good “Indiana Jones” style action plot, wherein Arthur seeks the Trident of the “true king” while Orm progresses with his plan to unite the ocean kingdoms against the surface world. There are some refreshing points: Arthur, although intelligent, is not an intellectual and not particularly well educated. Orm, although a jerk, is not insane and has good reasons for taking action against the surface. Mera is one of the best female characters of the season, in every way Arthur’s equal in power, skill, and ability.
The major problem with the movie is that it is overlong, at 2 hours 43 minutes. Not that it’s dull, it’s just that there’s so much of it crammed in. Lots of it is awfully good, like the sequence in Sicily where Arthur and Mera are engaged in separate running battles with Manta and his men, which I found very inventive. The underwater sequences were beautiful. Perhaps that’s one reason I didn’t find the huge battle sequence very exciting, I was too busy looking at the details.
I expect comparisons with Black Panther will be inevitable, since the plot hinges on one-to-one duels for the kingship, but in this case it is Arthur who is the outsider and the challenger.This entry was originally posted at https://sinister-sigils.dreamwidth.org/334846.html. Please comment there using OpenID.