Assuming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is the end of the franchise, the current DCCU goes out with a roar. The last superhero movie before the DC/Warner superhero reboot and the last one before an almost comic-related movie-free 2024, Aquaman is a worthy venture that elevates the hero to almost Superman status.
Director James Wan made sure the movie is visually stunning with an emphasis on really crazy monsters and machines but at its core, it is a movie about two very different brothers coming together.
The relationship between Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) and his half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson) is superb. In the first Aquaman, Orm was the villain who went a little crazy while ruling Atlantis and had to be stopped by Aquaman. Since then, Aquaman has come to understand, though not condone, Orm’s frustrations as ruler and vice-versa.
They join forces to stop a common enemy, Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) from destroying the planet. There is no middle ground with Manta; he is as evil and crazy as they come.
Aquaman provides the jokes and lightness while Orm is dead serious, but the brothers learn that only teamwork will save Earth. If this sounds familiar, it is the basis of the Thor and Loki relationship over at Marvel Studios and Aquaman actually jokes about it.
Actually, Wilson could be the perfect Aquaman. He captures the look, zeal and quiet personality of the comic book character far better than the laughing, joking, massive Momoa. Wilson even has blond hair! But he is also perfect as Orm, rounding out the character and explaining his motivations for trying to destroy the surface world in the first movie. And hey, he had some good points.
Amber Heard reprises her role as Aquaman’s wife, Mera, and has many scenes where she uses her power to control water to save her husband and infant son. Nicole Kidman has a few nice scenes as Aquaman’s mother, who was forced to abandon him as a baby because his father was a human.
There are parts of the film that feel familiar, a paint-by-numbers plot we’ve seen before, but it also has a charm that makes it worthwhile.
My biggest problem seeing the movie at the theater was the ridiculous number of previews and commercials before the start of the movie. Seriously, almost a full half-hour of commercials beginning at the advertised starting time of the film is ridiculous. The movie is already two hours long; it’s unreasonable to add another half hour.
This is not the way to get people to come to the theater.