Aquaman, the latest superhero movie from DC, boasts a terrific cast, great director and a couple of great action scenes. What it does not have, like most DC movies, is a good script.
The story begins when Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) finds Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) injured outside of his lighthouse. He brings her home, nurses her back to health, fall in love, have a baby and live happily ever after.
That is until some Atlantean muckety-mucks find her whereabouts, and drag her back to Atlantis for good.
Years later that baby, Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), is visited by Mera (Amber Heard), who tells him that Atlantis is under siege by his half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson) and he’s got to come back to the underwater city to claim his rightful throne as King.
Meanwhile, above land, a new villain named Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is plotting his revenge against Aquaman because he blames him for the death of his dear old dad.
Momoa is great as Curry/Aquaman and he’s one of the bright, shining lights of the film. He can even take a terrible line and make it palatable, which he does hear more times than he should. Heard as Mera is more than just a sidekick; she’s smart, a lethal fighter and, one could argue, the brains behind everything.
Morrison brings a friendly a sweet, fatherly vibe and Kidman is all motherly-love combined with some kick-ass fighting. Willem Dafoe as Aquaman’s Mr. Miyagi, Vulko, was fun to watch, especially in this genre. And you’ll really like watching Wilson as the heavy.
The film is great to look at and James Wan directs the heck out of every action scene, particularly the one set in Italy where Manta is chasing them through a tiny village.
The script though, by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, just doesn’t cut it. Early in the film, we’re introduced to Dafoe’s Vulko, teaching the young Curry (Otis Dhanji), the fighting ways of the Atlantean. There’s no explanation who he is, when they met and we’re just supposed to wonder at what point did Curry find out about his past?
Manta is a terrible character. Just terrible. His only motivation for wanting to destroy Aquaman it’s because he thinks killed his father? There’s no meat and unfortunately that character is the one who’s saddled with the worst lines of the script.
And, why, if all Atlanteans can swim super fast, do they need underwater spaceships to get to where they’re going?