review by Bobby Blakey
There is no question that the DC Comics Cinematic Universe has struggled to hit its stride. While they already have numerous films in their big screen universe including Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Justice League, most of them have yet to fully satisfy. With the success of Wonder Woman it showcased that they have something in them. Now Fast and Furious 7 and SAW franchise co-creator and director James Wan is bringing his unique vision for the next solo DC character film to give the king of Atlantis his own feature with Aquaman. Could this be another score for DC that they are desperately needing or will it sink before it can swim?
Aquaman follows Arthur Curry who learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and to be a hero to the world. The first outing for the King of Atlantis brings back Jason Mamoa as Aquaman and Amber Heard as Mera who both appeared in Justice League as well as Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Dolph Lundgren, and Willem Dafoe. I have loved Mamoa since he debuted in Stargate: Atlantis and yes that includes his underrated turn as Conan. When it was announced he was playing Aquaman I was instantly in. I know he isn’t the standard choice for the character, but for me his overall look matched the tone to what Aquaman should be. I loved his part in Justice League so was looking forward to seeing what he got to do with a full film.
The team up with director James Wan, who I am also a fan of since the original SAW, had me sold and I am happy to say I was not disappointed. Mamoa is all in in every way and plays this character perfectly in my opinion. He brings a more island warrior vibe to it as opposed to a superhero which makes me believe his connection with Atlantis all the more. While he is the usual unstoppable badass fans love he showcases plenty of
other emotions including fear and sadness that helps to humanize him all the more. Heard does a great job as Mera and they have great chemistry together. As much as I love Mamoa and his take on Aquaman it was Abdul-Mateen’s Black Manta that stole the show for me. I was worried he was going to be an in and out character, but thankfully he was a full part of the film and got plenty of time to shine.
The looks to all the characters was spot on including the classic Aquaman look they show in the trailers. I wish they hadn’t revealed it prior to the film as it is a great moment in the film when it finally happens, but I understand why they did. For a film like this to work you have to make Atlantis believable and they do that and more. Above water feels like and action adventure film, but when they go into the depths of the ocean it is epic. There is a feel of films like Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy and even Valarien in its scope. The visuals are vibrant and beautiful while being just down right cool overall.
There are some klunky moments here and there and will likely be one that doesn’t work for some old school Aquaman fans. In relation to the classic Aquaman I had two major things I wanted to see the character do and I got it in ways that paid homage to the old animated version as well as the varying variations of the comic character over the years. This is easily my favorite DC film to date and right there at the top of Superhero films in my list, but my fandom for Aquaman and Mamoa might make me biased.
In addition to the film this release offers up a sea of bonus content including featurettes on bringing this underwater epic to life and a sneak peek at Shazam! Join the underwater war for the throne when Aquaman available now on Digital and then on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on March 26th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.