Half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry (Momoa), having popped up in Batman V Superman and Justice League, gets his first movie and it’s as splashy, action-packed and utterly bonkers as you’d expect a story about a fishy fella who can save the world would be.
Lighthouse keeper Tom (Temuera Morrison) met Atlantis queen Atlanna (Kidman) when she washed up on his shore one day (erm, surely she shouldn’t be able to drown since she’s from the ocean?) and they fell in love and had cute little baby Arthur. Unfortunately, some nasty Atlanteans ruined their idyll by dragging Atlanna back under the sea, so Tom was left to raise their son alone. Now all grown up, tattooed and muscular, Arthur roams the waters saving ships and submarines from pirates and other baddies.
All that is to change, however, as just as we get to enjoy Arthur’s above sea-level antics – including one encounter that ends in baddie Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) swearing revenge, therefore promising he’ll turn up again later on – we dip down to Atlantis where King Orm (Patrick Wilson with frosted highlights) is plotting to take down humanity for some reason or other with or without the help of fellow rulers King Nereus (a woefully underused Dolph Lundgren), the Brine King (voiced by John Rhys-Davies) and King Ricou (voiced by Djimon Hounsou).
The watery political machinations are a bit dull – Nereus’s daughter Mera (Heard, complete with Little Mermaid wig) tries to explain it to Arthur and the audience without much success – but things perk up considerably when Arthur is captured by Orm and the pair have an underwater battle, with the fight’s percussion provided by an octopus playing the drums (yes, really).
Director James Wan – best known for the Saw and Insidious horror franchises – goes on to pack the story with action sequences, including a terrific fight on the island of Sicily, while throwing everything from a giant sea creature voiced by Julie Andrews to Atlanteans riding battle sharks at the screen. Sometimes it means the plot gets a little lost – a catastrophic tidal wave that hits land is forgotten about within seconds, while Aquaman’s quest to find a magical trident is a muddle – but it all looks so frantic and, well, aquatic, that it’s ridiculously enjoyable nonetheless.
Something of an origin story, this is also a great chance for Momoa to shine, which he does, looking like he’s having a terrific time quipping, splashing about and punching baddies throughout. While the effects are great and the story is delightfully dopey, the best reason to buy a ticket is Aquaman himself as he’s an amphibious hoot.
Is Aquaman suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate movie so is aimed at older children and adults.
There are numerous action sequences, fights and battles.
Sensitive viewers may be upset that one character is left to drown.
Very young viewers may be scared by the giant sea creature that appears towards the end of the movie.
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