A review of Aquaman, the movie produced by Warner Bros.
Dear fans of fantasy,
My initial reaction to Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa, was confusion. I loved the special effects and the underwater world but I couldn’t tell you what the movie was about. The main conflict of the story was between Aquaman (Arthur) and his half brother Orm, king of Atlantis, but why was there a conflict?
- Arthur didn’t want anything to do with his Atlantan heritage,
- he had no desire to rule,
- and he preferred a bar stool to a hero’s mantle (or in this case, a golden trident).
Mer did bring Arthur to Atlantis to stop Orm from waging war with the surface but Orm did not know this before he arrested his half brother.
Insight from the comics
I usually don’t research the comic books where DC has much background on its superheroes, but this time I did. In the comics, Orm is Arthur’s half brother from his father, they grew up together, and Orm was jealous and resentful over Arthur’s powers. Ok. I could understand sibling rivalry in that situation, but Warner Bros changed Orm’s parentage, losing the natural conflict as a result. That left us with an one-dimensional underdeveloped villain, because just as the best heroes are flawed individuals, the best villains have something about them that the audience can feel sympathy for.
And then there was that other villain
To add to the confusion, the movie-makers decided to introduce us to another conflict – the one between Aquaman and his archenemy, Black Mantis. It is easier to understand that conflict, as we witnessed the death of Black Mantis’ father and know that he blames Aquaman. But, two hours and twenty-three minutes is just not enough time to develop not one but two villains and the movie suffered as a result.
Spectacular visual effects won the day
I believe it was the underwater world and non-stop battle action that that enabled the movie to rise above past attempts to bring Aquaman to its current success. The special effects were great. Personally, I want a shark mount. They are pretty awesome!