AQUAMAN Movie Review – Palace Nova Eastend, Adelaide.

Words Will Oakeshott.
Thank you to Palace Nova Eastend, Adelaide.

According to an interview with Metal Hammer Magazine, Aquaman star Jason Momoa revealed that he utilised music by Black Sabbath, Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ album and Tool’s Ticks And Leeches to inspire him to become the character Arthur Curry and superhero. Upon reflection, these sources of motivation became rather evident throughout the film; it’s hard-hitting, bullish, wandering and a little bizarre.

The film is unquestionably the “introduction” to Aquaman and director/movie story cowriter James Wan has maintained a comic book authenticity with this project which is both remarkable and a bit corny to the film’s atrophy – do not become dismissive though, there is a lot of fun in this 140-minute-plus extravaganza.

It is very much a multi-player story, certainly the focus is Arthur Curry, his beginnings and birth into a multiverse existence (so to speak) as the son of Atlanna, The Queen Of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman) and humble lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Tempera Morrison). Logically, it progresses to Arthur’s discovery of his powers and subsequent training by Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) then obligation to protect both worlds he grows to become a saviour for and in terms of Atlantis, the King.

However, this is just as much Arthur Curry’s Atlantean half-brother Orm Marius’ story (Patrick Wilson), as well as a very justified focus on Mera (Amber Heard) also; truthfully it does contribute to the strength of the overall narrative but does add some unnecessary filler aspects. It must be noted the comic exchanges between Aquaman and Mera make for some very unusually awkward hilarity, rather odd considering the brawn stature of Jason Momoa, although honestly it is strangely charming too.

Predictably there is the face-off between the two half-brothers, with Orm wanting to seek revenge on the human race for their pollution of the ocean and the “mongrel” Aquaman being a peacekeeper; the tale actually includes a hint of modern social and environmental awareness that should be applauded.

Visually the film is spectacular, blending special effects similar to the more recent Star Wars releases with the revolutionary graphics of Avatar; though this sadly was letdown by the cringe-worthy costumes at times, a minor setback overall. Referring back to the musical stimulation mentioned earlier, unfortunately the soundtrack to Aquaman borders on disgraceful. An early appearance of the stunning ballad Sæglópur by Sigur Ros was the only highlight musically and considering the description used by numerous publications of the character Aquaman: “Most metal superhero movie character” – this was disappointing.

In conclusion, Aquaman is not the film of 2018, in terms of “superhero cinema”, it isn’t even on the same level as Black Panther; but it is playful and fun. If the idea of a film formula combining Star Wars with Avatar with Thor : Ragnarok with Scott Pilgrim vs The World intrigues you, then Aquaman will wet your whistle.

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