You're probably wondering why I'm reviewing a film that has didly squat with space and the universe, well, Aquaman is part of the Justice League, the very same group that took on Steppenwolf the previous year. Aquaman is part of the franchise.
After the previous two Justice League films (inc. Batman Vs. Superman : Dawn of Justice) not doing so well at the box office, Warner Bros. decided to create a film on one of their lessor known characters, Arthur Curry a.k.a. The Aquaman. Marvel had already proven that lessor known heroes can generate a good return starting with Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man. Could the wonder work for Warner Bros.
Out went Zach Snyder who had directed the previous two Justice League movies, in came James Wan, a director who had previously been known for horror films such as Saw and The Conjuring. To hand James Wan the task of directing the Aquaman could be deemed a risk but it worked as he directed a good film. It might not be perfect but there were no Martha moments. Martha moment being the scene in the Dawn of Justice where the fight between the two heroes stops when Clark Kent as Superman mentions his mothers name and Bruce Wayne backs off.
If you know your Aquaman stuff, Jason Mamoa is the third (I believe) actor to step into the characters shoes. The first was Justin Hartley whose pilot for the show didn't take off. Justin was subsequently tapped up for taking on Oliver Queen in the Smallville series. During Smallville, Arthur Curry was introduced, played by Alan Ritchson.
Whilst the two previous actors to play the role have been blondes, the producers of the franchise decided to go with a re-imagined version of the character, out has gone the short blonde hair, in come the bearded long dark hair version. Althought it might have upset a few people, it hasn't really affected the story.
The story is mostly faithful to the comics, the only way it diverges is that Black Mantra doesn't kill Aquaman's father, he only tries to. Black Mantra's father does die. Black Mantra is not the real villain of the story, that belongs to Ocean Master, a.k.a. King Orm, Aquaman's half brother. Aquaman is persuaded by Princess Mera to challenge for the throne because King Orn wants to launch an all out attack on the world above for the ocean pollution which with what is in the news at the moment seems appropriate.
If you think Mera's red hair is a bit bright then that's the only thing to worry about. The underwater scenes of the characters all work, they've done without bubbles when the characters talk. A character trying to gain the seat of power from another isn't original but its worked and is ok.
The special effects might give a bit of a deja-vu as they don't look too disimilar from Avatar or from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Worlds but it worked.
James Wan is reputedly being tapped up to do the sequel but that won't happen for a couple of years yet. In the meantime, we have Shazam, Cyborg and the The Flash movies to look forward to first. the futures looking a bit brighter now for the D.C. Comic moviverse.
The only thing that I didn't like was that Arthur seemed a bit too indestructible, too much like Superman. People were being bashed around but were then able to carry on with a few scratches when mere mortals would be hospitalised. I know its an adaptation of a comic but a bit of weakness wouldn't go amiss. The only chink in his armour was his family. The flashbacks to the young Arthur when they happened but there were only a couple, more could have been useful.
Mid-way through the credits is a scene so don't walk out as soon as the credits arrived. Unlike in The Avengers films, there's no guest appearances by other characters. Warner Bros. decided to make their films separate from each other after the poor Justice League films. There had been reports that Henry Cavill was to guest appear in Shazam but due to scheduling, he wasn't able to appear so that might have been the last guest appearance for a while in another D.C. film.
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