Aquaman, did it measure up?

This week I went to go see the latest movie from the DC universe, Aquaman. As I sat down I was cautious and had my guard up. I had been looking forward to seeing this since seeing Mamoa’s Aquaman in Justice League (which I enjoyed) but I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to create a good enough film that focuses specifically on Aquaman. I was worried it would be another flop like Batman vs Superman.

But, to my delight, I thought it was brilliant!

Except for a couple of moments where I felt they brushed past interesting moments or simply brushed a couple of incidents under the rug which could’ve easily been expanded on, I thought its comedic timing was brilliant and its character development even better.

Mamoa’s Arthur/Aquaman was the same personality as in Justice League, and I know you might think that a silly thing to point out, but the writers could have easily turned this character into a completely different person from the previous film. And what I appreciate most, is that they didn’t make Arthur have such a sudden change of heart to be this Hero he is meant to be. He is adamant he doesn’t want to rule the Ocean and is firm with his decision throughout. It isn’t until finding the Trident that he finds the strength to be this leader, but this is from a continuous growth throughout the movie. He doesn’t want to rule the Ocean, he just wants to make sure his home - on land- is not destroyed. Mamoa created such a believable character and acted in the way Arthus would, he grew and you could see that.

I even felt empathy for characters I didn’t expect to feel anything for! Patrick Wilsons Orman/Ocean master was surprisingly relatable. Despite being the antagonist, and obviously I wanted him to lose, there were moments I really felt sorry for him. He was angry for so many years, he wanted what’s best for his people even if it meant destroying cities and murdering innocent people.

Ok… maybe that last one is not something I condone, but his emotions towards his love for his country and wanting revenge for his mother is something I thought made him a more deeper character. I loved it. But it wasn’t just Wilson’s character which I was surprised by, Willam Defoe plays Nuidis- the adviser to the King. I was taken aback by this character because I honestly couldn’t tell which side he was playing for. He trained Arthur when he was a child but when you see him next to Orman, he pulls off the ‘loyal servant’ role very well. Ten points to Defoe for keeping me on my toes!

Now, something I want to give praises to is it’s development and portrayal of their female leads. I wish I didn’t have to give praises dedicated to female leads because they should just automatically be there, but I want to just speak a bit more about it because it made me feel so inspired.

Amber Heard played Mera, who from the start was this amazing bad-ass woman who didn’t need a man to save her. Her love for her people is what pushes her to succeed. She didn’t need to fall in love with Aquaman to be an interesting character. Nicole Kidmans Atlanna was even more inspirational. Everything about her character had me hooked. I actually wasn’t aware that Kidman played a role in this movie, so I was very surprised to see her play a Queen who could KICK ASS! And can we take a moment to appreciate that she stuck by her morals when she got back to Atlantis by attempting to teach the children that Land and Sea could live in harmony, but she also went through the Trench and made it to the Earth’s Core not only alive, but BY HERSELF! She had lived in the Earth’s Core for 20 years BY HERSELF! And even through it all, she does not favouritise her sons when she is reunited with them. Even though Orman has been an evil little git for the entire movie, Atlanna greets him with a motherly hug and with huge amounts of love for him.

If this been any other movie they would have had this scenario play out differently, the mother wouldn’t have forgiven the son and so on and so forth.

The only thing about this film I have an issue with, is the purpose of Black Manta. I understand his role was to show Aquaman that ‘seeking revenge never fixes a problem’, to which I totally get why it was there. But if you removed Black Manta from this movie, I highly doubt there would be many differences, if any. Also, why wasn’t there a bigger deal made when Arthur and Mera realised Black Manta had Atlantian armour? Why hadn’t they made this a bigger deal? It was almost as if they swept it under the rug and didn’t care about the fact that someone from Atlantis was CLEARLY committing treason by giving this man from the Land equipment from the Ocean….???

Other than that, I very much loved Aquaman. The story followed through, I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next, I laughed, I sympathised, I found new female characters to be inspired from and I also got to see Jason Mamoa with his shirt off a lot.

I call that a win!