Aquaman

The sixth installment in the DC Extended Universe comic book movie franchise first started in 2013 with Man of Steel, Aquaman is yet another superhero movie that is stuffed with an overabundance of CGI but slightly departs from the many others by embracing the fun and silliness of the genre. The movie begins in 1985 on the remote coast of Maine when the lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry rescues the mysterious Atlanna, played by Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, who is discovered to be the underwater princess of the mythical world of Atlantis. They have a child together named Arthur, but Atlanna is forced to leave her family to return to her father who is the king of Atlantis. As he grows up with his father and is occasionally trained by an advisor of Atlantis named Vulko, played by Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe, Arthur, played by Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa, learns he has great superpowers as a half-Atlantean who can swim fast underwater without having to breathe air. At this point, the movie follows the typical formula of a superhero origin story in which the protagonist plays with his newfound powers and eventually discovers he could use his very special skills for good by saving sailors and fishermen. Aquaman, which becomes Arthur’s superhero alter-ego, enjoys a relatively peaceful life on the surface world until his half-brother Orm, played by Golden Globe nominee Patrick Wilson, sees him as a threat to his legitimate claim to the throne of Atlantis. Orm has a stereotypically villainous plan to overtake rulership of all the seven underwater kingdoms by starting a war with the surface world and humans who are polluting the oceans. Over time, Aquaman is joined by the beautiful Atlantean Mera, played by Amber Heard, who is originally betrothed to Orm by one of the other rulers who happens to be her father, played by Dolph Lundgren. Over the course of the spectacular and quite frankly over-the-top underwater CGI sequences, Aquaman along with his new love interest Mera fight to save both the underwater and surface worlds from the destructive designs of his half-brother. In addition to the surrealistic visuals in which sea creatures come to life, the script, with its self-referential humor and quite silly jokes, lends the movie a certain quality of not taking itself too seriously and thereby promoting the inherent ridiculousness of the story. This aspect of purposely pointing out the ludicrous nature of what takes place on screen helps the movie overcome simply being just another bad attempt at exploiting the superhero genre to make a boatload of cash. Overall, I found it to be an entertaining film that, despite its generic stereotypes, makes for an enjoyable distraction from reality, led by a charismatic actor who truly looks the part of Aquaman.

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