A spoiler free review
As a mega-fan of superhero films I have to say that I’ve been really enjoying 2018. Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp have re-ignited the love I had as a kid for going to the movies. And I’m very happy to say that Aquaman keeps the epic superhero film momentum going!
I was lucky enough to catch an advance screening made possible by the Australians In Film association (http://www.australiansinfilm.org/). On a side note, if you ever want to get a great movie-going experience go to a film with a lot of Australians. Since a great deal of Aquaman was produced in Australia the Ozzie pride was very present, as well as it should have been.
As a film, Aquaman did a lot more than just introduce the audience to the main character’s backstory and bring the civilization of Atlantis to life. In addition to being visually stunning and giving fast paced action Aquaman did the two things every good superhero film should do. It made us, the viewers, want to know more about Aquaman’s world and, even more importantly, it made us look up at the screen and absolutely believe that we were watching Aquaman and not some actor simply ‘portraying’ him.
Jason Mamoa owns this role, as in absolutely owns it. Aquaman is supposed to move, talk, react, and fight in a certain way and Director James Wan made sure that all of that happened. True fans of Aquaman understand how much of a badass he is and the fight choreography perfectly displayed how well the character should fight both on land and in water. I’ll even go so far as to say that Aquaman had some of the best fight choreography I’ve ever seen on film.
And although Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta were all strong characters I have to admit I was the most surprised by Nicole Kidman in her role as Atlanna, Aquaman’s mother. I knew she was very talented as an actor but her fight scene was one of the most exciting parts of the entire film.
The Story is fairly straightforward and helps us to see how the entire civilization of Atlantis and the other undersea kingdoms are connected as well as how easily they can threaten the entire world if they chose to do so. Jason Mamoa’s character of Arthur Curry, AKA Aquaman, protects the seas as best he can until he is called into save the world from the undersea kingdoms and to unite them by somehow claiming his birthright and becoming their king. Along the way Aquaman faces off against numerous challenges and villains in his heroic attempt to save the day similar to Indiana Jones if he was somehow thrown into Lord of the Rings.
When all is said and done, Aquaman is a story with a strong message which wasn’t lost on the audience namely that the world is a stronger and more powerful place when people come together and use understanding and empathy to overcome the tribalism we all sometimes are so guilty of committing.
Director James Wan wanted the audience to feel like they got a lot more than what they were expecting. In a short video made for the Australians In Film association that played before the screening I attended James Wan admitted that he was excited about the film but also very anxious about it. You could see that he was nervous about how people, specifically the fans of Aquaman and the superhero genre would react to it.
As a one of the fans of the superhero genre he was speaking to I can easily tell him to stop feeling anxious.
Because in all of the important ways, and even in ways that were unexpected, Aquaman delivers!
A life long connoisseur of all things geek, nerdy, and sci-fi James continues to enjoy discussing hypothetical matchups between characters from two completely different genres. While not podcasting James is often found instructing MMA classes at Max Impact Martial Arts, his training facility in Los Angeles, or producing content for digital and linear platforms, as well as being a spokesperson for both anti-bullying and women’s self-defense.