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Aquaman Review

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Surf’s up! At the time of this article, Deadline reports that Aquaman has officially made a huge splash at the box office, cashing in at over $600 million worldwide. The latest addition to the DC Comics Extended Universe, affectionately dubbed the DCEU, has proven to be a stark departure from past box office fails, like Batman v. Superman. Starring former Game of Thrones actor, Jason Momoa, Aquaman presents a refreshing new take on a classicDC Comics character. Bolstered by Momoa’s undeniable charm, the film certainly has its fair share of bumps, including some outright zany bits, but is an enjoyable aquatic adventure overall.

Actress Amber Heard also starred as the quite formidable Princess Mera, while Aussie actress Nicole Kidman was featured as Queen Atlanna. New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison took the role of Arthur’s father, Tom, many of whom fans might remember for his role as Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. A former Phantom of the Opera alum, Patrick Wilson, stars as the villainous King Orm, while up-and-coming actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II swept in as Black Manta. The film also included some rather strange cameos, including a confusing voice-over role by none other than Julie Andrews, of Mary Poppins fame. We’ll take a closer look at some of the unusual aspects of the film, along with why the movie should be lauded for showcasing more diversity and Polynesian representation on screen. Read on for our official review of Aquaman, and also what might be lingering on the horizon for a possible sequel.

Photo: Nerdist

Comic Book Origins

Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the original Aquaman superhero first appeared in 1941. With bright blonde hair and his signature trident, Aquaman made his first debut with More Fun Comics #73, and continued to appear in other DC titles. In the animated series, Superfriends, Aquaman was portrayed as being an outright goofball, with the character's antics spawning memes and mockery. For decades, the character has been often laughed about, and Warner Bros. certainly made a smart move by creating a modern adaptation of the hero. Two years ago, actor Jason Momoa stepped in as Arthur Curry for the Batman v Superman film and hit the silver screen again for Justice League. Known for his work as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones and the titular protagonist of Conan the Barbarian, Momoa is no strange for taking on warrior roles.

Last time we saw Jason Momoa don the mantle as Aquaman, it was in director Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Momoa, who offered hilarious one-liners and kept things light with his comedic banter, was a highlight of the film. Fans have been eagerly anticipating seeing him back on the big screen. In Justice League, the actor shared a quick moment on screen with actress Amber Heard, who has starred as Princess Mera. If you haven’t seen Justice League, or conveniently forgot most of the film, you don’t need to fret. Aquaman is largely an origin story for Arthur Curry, and viewers won’t need to watch Justice League in order to follow the film’s story.

Photo: IGN

A Bumpy Ride

Much like the oceanic theme present in the movie, the film ebbs and flows overall, just like the tide. While it was entertaining, we decided to shed some light on the bumpy aspects of the movie, and then look closer at the film’s stronger sides. At one of the film's lowest points, Arthur and Mera emerge from the ocean in slow-motion grandeur, but sadly, Pitbull's cover of Toto's "Africa" blares in the background. Entitled "Ocean to Ocean", the song was released before the film's release, and Twitter had a field day. The negative reception to the song is completely valid, and we have to agree, it definitely detracted from the film. Other eyebrow-raising additions include King Orm riding a mysterious aquatic creature, a gladiator sequence, and a call back to the comics in the form of a drumming octopus.

Polynesian Representation

In collaboration with Warner Bros, DC Comics certainly made a smart move by casting actor Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry. Originally born in Honolulu, Hawai’i, the actor has a mixed-race background, including Native Hawaiian from his father’s side, and German on his mother’s side. In an article from the Washington Post, Momoa reflected on his own personal connection to the superhero. “In 2019 there’s not a lot of brown, [biracial] superheroes. When I grew up, it would have been freakin' rad if Batman was this color,” Momoa said. “I’ve been talking to people from Colombia, Argentina, Mexico to Malaysia and Singapore . . . like so many beautiful, diverse places . . . [they] are so excited. A lot of us are very connected to the water and have our own folklore and our own mythology based around the supernatural powers and gods out of water. So it really is cool to be the first to do that [with “Aquaman”] and set that tone.”

Since the film’s release, there has been a flood of positive support for the movie, especially with Jason Momoa’s performance as Arthur Curry. Leading up to the film’s release, the actor performed a haka at the Los Angeles red carpet premiere. Alongside castmate and long-time friend, Temeura Morrison, and his two children, Momoa took the floor by storm with the ceremonial war dance from New Zealand. In real life, Momoa is married to actress Lisa Bonet, and they have a daughter, Lola Iolani, and a son, Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha.

In celebration of the film’s release, Momoa and his children performed another emotional haka together in Hawai’i. “We as Polynesians are not separated by land but we are all connected by water and that is who we truly are.” Momoa wrote in the caption, publishing the clip on YouTube and social media outlets. The video has amassed thousands of views, and many fans have flooded the actor with praise.

Photo: DC

Aquaman 2

Looking forward, we’d like to take a moment and discuss some possibilities for Aquaman 2. While promoting Justice League, it’s clear that Jason Momoa has developed a close bond with his castmates, including Ezra Miller as The Flash and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. With more live-action DCEU films in the works, it seems only natural that Arthur Curry could eventually cross paths with fellow members of the Justice League. In the mid-credits scene, Aquaman revealed that Black Manta survived his last clash with Curry, and seems to be the blatant villain if there’s a follow-up in the works. However, seeing as how Orm was merely sent to jail with a slap on the wrist, actor Patrick Wilson could return for another quest to become Ocean Master once again. Also, with the discovery of Queen Atlanna’s return, fans are interested to see what new developments await offshore and under the sea. Many have embraced actress Amber Heard’s character as Mera, with some fans hoping to see a possible spinoff film for the princess one day. In an interview with MTV News, Jason Momoa said that he’d love to see Aquababy in future works. Wherever the tides seem to go, it seems like the future is bright for Momoa and a sequel for Aquaman on the horizon.

Stay tuned for more nerd news, including any possible developments about Aquaman 2 on the horizon. We look forward to hearing more from Yahya's solid work as Black Manta, and of course, seeing Amber Heard and Jason Momoa reprise their roles as Mera and Arthur.

Written by Jade Nicolette Esmeralda


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