‘Aquaman’ Is a Whirlpool of Success

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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

'Aquaman' balances a visually immersive and imaginative world of Atlantis while displaying witty moments and intense action.

Laura Renfroe, Staff Writer

DC’s new movie release Aquaman allows movie-goers to dive head-first into the stunning and engaging world of Atlantis as Aquaman fights against his power-hungry rival in search of a mythical trident to earn complete control over the seas.

Aquaman has been a tsunami in the box office, surfing at $1 billion worldwide, naming it the second-highest grossing DC superhero film of all time worldwide. The film flourishes with colorful, stunning effects and entertains with wit and dry humour. The movie pushes past superhero stereotypes, offering a complex and completely immersive cinematic world.

Viewers will find themselves captivated, thoroughly submerged in the action-soaked story.

“It’s pretty crazy. For as big a movie as Aquaman is, I could not have had more freedom. I had all the big tools and the budget to paint on a really big canvas,” director James Wan said in an interview with The New York Times.

The concept of Aquaman was introduced in the original DC Comics but never peaked to a best seller. Insistent on bringing superheroes Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman into one collaborative universe, Warner Bros. brought Aquaman to movie screens in Justice League.

“Really, I pulled most inspiration from the comic book,” Wan said. “The comic book has all those elements of high sea adventure, fantasy, shades of horror slash sea monsters, and this wondrous magical sci-fi fantasy. It has a little flavor of everything. So, going into it, I knew I really wanted to be respectful of all those sorts of different flavors that it has.”

The Aquaman film has brought the character a completely new and powerful story and has undoubtedly transformed the unpopular comic book “sea man” into a freewheeling, confident presence among DC heroes.

Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa, who plays Aquaman in the film, gives off the perfect cocky surfer vibes. All tan skin and breezy manners, Arthur Curry, deemed “Aquaman,” is the son of the Atlantean Queen and an isolated lighthouse keeper.

The couple is considered only ill-fated and looked down upon by the people of Atlantis, forcing Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) to return to her sea kingdom in order to keep Arthur, and her lover, safe.

“[Aquaman’s] human side is equally as magical as his Atlantean side, because that’s what gives him his empathy but also can steer him down the wrong path,” Momoa said in an interview with Screen Rant.

Arthur, unaware of what happened to his mother, grows up with abnormal abilities that connect him to the water. One day, fiery Atlantean princess Mera comes to the shore to inform him that he must help save the seven seas and claim his royal heritage throne, as well as find a trident only heard of in legends.

Mera and Arthur set out on a quest to find clues to help them find the mysterious trident, while villain King Orm of Atlantis plots to conquer the humans on the shore, loathing the pollution they created, forming deadly alliances with other sea kingdoms.

Half Atlantean Arthur naturally has human flaws, making him vulnerable despite his roguish demeanor.

“So, I mean, that stuff is fun – to be flawed. So… James [Wan], in turn, built a world that is so beautiful, and then let that same character go back to his roots, which then you can see a softer side, how he would act around his pops,” Momoa said.

“But he gets his butt kicked the whole movie,” Momoa joked. “Really, there were moments where I was like, ‘James…’ And he just gets beat up to the point where he wants to give up, and that’s still an amazing, vulnerable thing – where Mera’s stronger than him.”

Though the film has some flaws and might not live up to the emotional elements in other DC success Wonder Woman, it is a swashbuckling tale of fun adventure and thrives with visual creativity and humour. The action sequences and intricate CGI all turn out breathtakingly effortless on the big screen.

However, the movie goes deeper than just the effects and action. Not only does the film portray themes such as family and loyalty, but also it helps address global issues such as water pollution.

“You can’t make an Aquaman story and not have it deal with pollution in the ocean. [There are] hundreds of Aquaman comics as well that deal with him fighting whaling ships, saving fishermen, helping out with the environment,” Patrick Wilson, who plays Aquaman’s archenemy Orm Marius, said in an interview with Slash Film.

“I think it is something very socially conscious,” Wilson stated.

The movie is saturated with environmental and family themes, making the story all the more special.

“It’s the people around [Aquaman] that believe in him so much, which is just true in life, you know? To be a king, you need a kingdom and your family that believes in you,” Momoa said.

For those feeling the winter blues, the movie paints a whimsical summer-like atmosphere throughout the movie, while balancing humor and plenty of trident-whirling for action addicts.

The Atlantis world portrayed in the movie is fully mesmerizing. From the lush sea life to brightly lit colorful architecture, the kingdom is a multi-layered world that allows viewers to feel very much in the setting themselves.

“There really aren’t a lot of visual cues from existing films to pull from. That was exciting for me because I get to create a new world. In terms of the technicality of it: It was a pain,” said Wan.

“The actors would be suited up in their costumes and placed inside these really awkward, uncomfortable rigs. Then, visual effects would come in and add the flowing hair, the floating costumes and capes, and then paint in the entire world.” said Wan.

Though Aquaman has powerful and riveting scenes at times, as well as an incredible Atlantis world, it never fails to flaunt its humour. The movie shamelessly expresses comical energy throughout the whole film.

Aquaman has been a splashing success among DC movies and box offices and never fails to charm anyone who enters the world. From the sauntering, personable Jason Momoa to thrilling oceanic action sequences and dazzling effects, Aquaman is undoubtedly worth your time.

“With the game cast, a charismatic lead performance by Jason Momoa, the electrifying visuals and the infectiously fun tone, Aquaman is a cinematic wave you will want to catch,” remarked critic Harris Dang.