DC’s least respected hero gets his time to shine in film

Damara Gillett, Staff Writer

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Does the new Aquaman movie live up to the big splash it’s been making in theaters?

After the performance of the DC cinematic movies preceding it, there wasn’t much hope that Aquaman would rise above that and turn out to be a great film. Also, considering that the movie had to contend with the public’s perception of Aquaman being nothing more than a joke since his first appearance in comics, the movie wasn’t expected to make a ripple at the box office before sinking back into the depths of public consciousness.

Against everyone’s expectations, Aquaman turned into an unexpected phenomenon. Is that hype deserved?

Yes — and no. The movie isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t have to be. Most of the CGI is well handled, although there are some places where there are hiccups. Is it too noticeable? That’ll depend, but it doesn’t really detract from the experience. The secondary villain of Black Manta could have been more developed, but his motivations are clear enough to understand the reasons behind his actions. The same can be said about Orm (played by Patrick Wilson), Aquaman’s half brother vying for the throne of Atlantis.

Despite the rather standard villains, the overall plot and main cast carried the movie. Even though they were brief, Aquaman’s origin scenes were endearing. Queen Atlanna’s introduction and how she met the man with whom she would eventually have Arthur — the titular character played by Jason Mamoa — provided a sweet romance between the two parents that brought Aquaman into the world, and a bittersweet scene when the two have to part after the Queen is forced to return to Atlantis.

Mamoa puts in a commendable performance, and both Amber Heard (who plays Aquaman’s love interest, Mera) and Willem Dafoe (who plays the Queen’s trusted advisor and Aquaman’s instructor, Vulko) do a respectable job in their roles. The rest of the supporting cast also put in their all, and the end result was an entertaining, visually pleasing narrative that was engaging from beginning to conclusion.

Aquaman isn’t unique or groundbreaking, but it escapes the stale and bland world of DC’s cinematic predecessors and gives one of their least respected heroes a chance to shine.

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