Lost At Sea
Tripwire’s editor-in-chief reviews Aquaman, out now in UK cinemas and out from 21 December in the US…
Director: James Wan
Stars: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren
DC and Warner Bros. have a huge amount riding on this film. In a year when two Marvel films have brought in over $2bn at the worldwide box office, they needed a film that will capture people’s imaginations and engage with audiences the way that Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War succeeded in doing.
Aquaman was possibly one of the best things in the car crash that was Justice League but can he carry his own film? We open with his father, lighthouse keeper human Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison), who meets Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) who appears out of the water fleeing Atlantis. They fall in love and have Arthur Curry (Momoa) but Atlanna is forced to leave their idyllic existence. So Arthur grows up without a mother, destined eventually to become king of Atlantis. It is a particularly silly scene.
Cut to present day and we see Aquaman fighting pirates on the high seas. Here we are introduced to Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who plays villain Manta. Manta is out for revenge because Aquaman kills his father and so we are treated to a scene that feels like it’s a pastiche of a bad eighties action movie.
The action switches back to Atlantis and we are introduced to Arthur’s brother Orm, played by Patrick Wilson. Arthur is the rightful heir to the throne of Atlantis but to secure this, he has to find and recover the Trident of Atlan, a giant golden fork with magical powers.
I haven’t mentioned Mera, played by Amber Heard, Arthur’s love interest. Her costume looks like it’s just escaped from a Quality Street tin, green and luminous.
So the battle is on for Arthur to recover the Trident, claim his throne and defeat his evil brother.Aquaman feels like a strange mash-up of 1980s action movie, Ray Harryhausen monster films and the previous DC Extended Universe efforts. It has a terrible script, a plot you could drive a fleet of lorries through and some excruciatingly bad performances. Willem Defoe looks embarrassed, Kidman is awful and Momoa, while he looks cool, has no real personality to speak of here. The garish concept design of Atlantis makes it look like the Gungan city from Star Wars Episode One. However as of this writing, it has made $94m at the box office before it has even opened in the US. So basically Aquaman is perfect cinema fodder for every undemanding filmgoer out there. Make no mistake, this is a monumentally awful film with very little to redeem it. But it will probably be a fairly decent sized hit. So look forward to more incoherent, badly-made DC superhero films starring other even more obscure DC superheroes. At least the Marvel films have a little bit of nuance. This has none.
Aquaman is out now in UK cinemas and in US cinemas from 21 December