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Aquaman Cannoli Send a noteboard - 28/12/2018 12:03:09 PM

I really don't know what to say about this. Because except for "Suicide Squad," I really liked all the recent DC movies. But except for "Wonder Woman," they are all awful and Aquaman was a really stupid character in the much maligned "Justice League". Even though I liked him and the movie itself. But I was wrong to do so, and I just don't understand what a horrendous disservice these films do to decades of established picture book characterization and canon.

I enjoyed this one more than "Wonder Woman". Not least because it was less of a "fish out of water" type story than WW. I promise I'm done with that one, but I had to get it out of the way. Anyway, we get the backstory of Arthur Curry. His mother was Atlanna, the a queen of Atlantis, played by Nicole Kidman, who flees an arranged marriage (no, not to Tom Cruise), washes up on the rocks near a lighthouse and is rescued by badass lighthouse keeper, Tom Curry. Tom is so badass, that during a storm, he is seen tying his shutters open. He doesn't care about the storm breaking his windows, he's telling it 'do your worst'. And he's played by Temuera "Jango Fett" Morrison. Because there really are not too many actors in Hollywood of the right age and star level to play the role, who look like they could have plausibly got Nicole Kidman pregnant with Jason Momoa. Anyway, the Atlantean stormtroopers eventually come and drag Atlanna home, leaving Curry to raise Arthur alone. But Vulko, the Grand Vizier of Atlantis, played by Willem Dafoe, shows up to train young Arthur in combat and the use of his Atlantean powers, like swimming really fast. The other powers are physical attributes, like breathing water, being strong & tough and seeing in the dark, and also talking to fish, which most Atlanteans cannot do. In fact, no one since King Atlan, the legendary king of all of Atlantis, can actually do that, so I don't know how the Vizier taught him.

Anyway, besides the main antagonist from Atlantis (more in a bit), there is a second villain, a human pirate with diving gear who specializes in stealing submarines from powerful nations. He is called Manta, and he is decended from a World War Two frogman who faced bigotry in spite of his skills, so his family took to salvage work instead of becoming Navy SEALs. Manta spends the movie going all Aquatic Iron Man and building a suit to enable him to fight Aquaman (BTW, this is why comic book universes are stupid - you have one comic book about a detective who uses a couple of gadgets to give him a huge advantage over ordinary criminals, and another about a superhuman being, whose writers have trouble coming up with origins for superpowered villians, so they have people who use tech to match them. And so Batman looks like a chump next to the tech levels of Manta, even though they both coexist with Arthur). Meanwhile, Arthur is entreated by Mera, the underwater chick from "Justice League", played by Amber Heard, to come to Atlantis and claim the throne of his mother, who is dead, honest. When she was dragged home, she had to marry and had a kid played by Patrick Wilson, named Orm. Orm wants to unify the other kingdoms of Atlantis, because gaining the support of four of the seven kingdoms will grant him some sort of royal mandate and the title of Ocean Master, and the power to declare war on the surface world, to avenge their naval warfare and pollution. But, if Aquaman takes the throne instead, because he's the older son of the dead (really) Queen Atlanna, obviously, he can prevent that. When it becomes clear that fighting Orm won't do the trick, because it's totally believable that Patrick Wilson can take Jason Momoa in a fight, Arthur & Mera go on a Indiana Jones style quest to seek out underwater Excalibur. Which is a trident. BTW, ARthur, who is sufficiently educated that he can identify statues of Roman statesmen and knows all their histories, claims he already has a trident, and indicates the five-pronged weapon he inherited from his mother. Or recovered from Atlantis in "Justice League" shut up.

Visually, it's easily the most impressive of the DC movies, with all the underwater stuff, and armies of undersea people riding or being fish. Atlanna's people look human. Mera is the daughter of the king of another realm (played by Dolph Lundgren), who also look human. Two realms have died out, another, called Brine, has devolved in crab people, whose rule is voiced by John Rhys-Davis, the Fishermen are like the Creature from the Black Lagoon crossed with mermaids, and their king is Djimon Hounsou and the Trench kingdom are pretty much just vicious monsters with huge numbers and whose appearance would make the people of Innsmouth recoil in horror. These kingdoms are enumerated in two different conversations that still made it hard to keep track of them, but we eventually get to see them all in different conflicts, so it's not too confusing.

On paper, this movie should not work. There is a lot of infodumping, the Atlantis related stuff will probably have the comic movie nerds sneering at its silliness, and it seems like a very busy plot going on, but the pace doesn't drag and nothing feels underserved. Things that have you ready to face palm don't quite get there. For example, given Manta's backstory, it seems like they were going to make him a sympathetic villain, or at least a jerk with a point, like Killmonger in "Black Panther", but not really. He's just a bad guy trying to kill Arthur for bad reasons he thinks are good, but he also helps with Arthur's character development, so you can't even complain that he's unnecessary or shoehorned in.

I enjoyed this movie more on its own than as a sequel to Justice League or part of an EU (you would think the imminent invasion of the land by sea people with plasma weapons would be of mild concern to Superman, Batman, Flash, Cyborg and Wonder Woman; or that Wonder Woman, as a princess of Themiscyra, would have some pull with Atlantis, considering their ancient alliance depicted in Justice League).

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Aquaman - 28/12/2018 12:03:09 PM 160 Views
I saw it tonight. - 29/12/2018 04:07:54 AM 71 Views
Well... He's Batman. It's nothing new with him. - 06/01/2019 09:09:13 AM 46 Views
Very enjoyable superhero movie - one of the more entertaining ones I've seen lately. - 05/01/2019 11:08:40 PM 50 Views
DC movies have always seemed to be "meh"..... - 07/01/2019 01:27:04 AM 46 Views

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