Step aside Batman and Superman, DC has finally found its true hero on the silver screen. The king of the seas makes a noteworthy entry into the superhero genre with a giant splash.
Big action set-pieces, even bigger visuals and staying true to the source material turn this DC film into a winner. While Aquaman joins Wonder Woman on the DC redemption front, the real hero here is James Wan.
It is a rarity for movie audience to applaud the director during end-credits (happened at the screening I went to). That in itself, speaks volumes about the film. Tapping into his past horror (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) and action ( Furious 7) successes, Wan concocts a wonderful action blockbuster to bring the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) back on its feet.
The attention to detail in the various kingdoms shown in the film stands out. The entire underwater experience is visually gratifying. After all, this is the first time we delve into an underwater world.
The subjects in every kingdom, their attires and even the type of creatures (Brine kingdom consists of a lot of crab-like beings) are depicted and explained leaving no stone unturned.
A real strong point of the film is the patience and trust in its content. There are no references to any of the DCEU or unnecessary jokes, instead, this movie serves as a genuine origin story. The nods to environmental damage are a nice touch.
The screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall allows the layers of Aquaman’s universe to breathe and come to life. Atlanna, Black Manta, Vulko and Ocean Master get just about enough screen-time to help understand their characters and motivations.
Meanwhile, Mera is a constant badass presence throughout the film and Amber Heard nails the part. Her rigorous stunt training helps her greatly in the action department, especially the Italy sequence.
Coming to the leading man, Jason Momoa looked the part since day one, even before he put on the suit. Watching him flaunt his tattooed body, have fun with his powers and look like having a total blast complements his magnetic persona brilliantly.
Apart from the wonderful Atlantis, the action sequences are a total stand-out. They are as intense and hard-hitting as they should be and the camera work elevates them by a few notches. Wan’s tryst with the horror genre might have definitely helped.
Further, going underwater implies there is no longer a reference ground level. Wan makes the most of it to thrill us with beautiful shots from unnatural angles, adding to the film’s watery texture.
Rupert Gregson-Williams follows up his memorable score for Wonder Woman with another winner here, be it the underwater effect or the required elevation in key moments.
Finally, coming to the comics stuff, we get to see Black Manta, Ocean Master and Mera true to their roots. One of the biggest highlights of the film is watching Momoa in the classic gold and green Aquaman suit.
He fits in perfectly without looking foolish, credit to the costumes department for that. Furthermore, his powers come to the fore only when required and they get the necessary spotlight without any overemphasis.
Thus, Aquaman is a winner all along and once again highlights the depths of DC lore, when they get it right. Justice League was a smaller step in that direction Further, Aquaman this is a blockbuster literally made for the big screen. Watching it in IMAX allows us to appreciate the depth and craft of the world created by Wan.
So, go and watch the movie right away in the largest screen possible for the best cinematic experience. After all, a meeting with the king of the seven seas demands such respect.
I am a son of the land, king of the sea. I am the protector of the deep, I am Aquaman.Aquaman
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