Aquaman, directed by horror veteran, James Wan was probably one of the most anticipated movies not just for me, but for a lot of superhero film lovers in general. But walking out of this, I was a tad bit disappointed because of the fact that Aquaman had way more potential but some of it’s shortcomings lend to the fact that it couldn’t be the film it wanted to be.
Let’s talk about the film’s strengths first, the film bowled me over with the wonderful realisation of the world of Aquaman. The love with which Atlantis along with kingdoms like Trench and Brine have been created can be seen on screen and never for a moment does it feel that the world of Aquaman is fictional. The creature design from the film is another aspect which is worth mentioning because each creature, especially the fictional ones, have been created with so much finesse. One can see how Wan’s background as a horror film director had lent itself to the creature design and one specific scene in the film feels straight out of a horror film (which I won’t spoil here).
Secondly, Momoa as Arthur is just perfect casting. He does a lot of heavy lifting in the film and he completely sells the character with his ‘Aqua-Bro’ persona. Watching him on screen, playing Aquaman is a treat.
Mera, played by Amber Heard, does a lot of butt-kicking throughout the film although she is relegated to sidekick status and by the end of the film it feels like she exists to serve the mandatory love – interest angle.
However, the overarching theme of forbidden love between two worlds explored in the film between Thomas Curry and Atlanna is one of the stronger points. Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master was the stereotypical baddie who existed just for having a climactic battle with the hero and the inclusion of Black Manta was a cool addition, but in the end it feels like it could have been skipped.
The film falls short when it comes to the story as it feels like one has seen the same cookie-cutter Hero’s Journey play over and over again. Some of the humour also falls flat as the film tries to make the audience laugh like a campy-superhero film but it fails a lot of the times.
However, Aquaman is a fun one-time visual treat, worthy of an IMAX viewing but does not really meet the standards it was expected to, by superhero film lovers in general and DC fans in particular.