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Aquaman Movie Review: Overstuffed but Enjoyable Underwater Enchantment

Aquaman is a gorgeous but over-long adventure.

Reviewed by on Dec 20, 2018
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw Aquaman. Can it make the DC character as popular as some Marvel heroes? Is the long film a little over-packed with effects and story? Check our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

In Aquaman, it’s 1985, at a lighthouse in Maine when keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) finds a beautiful woman washed up by a storm nearby. She is Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) Queen of Atlantis. The two fall in love and have a son they call Arthur (later Jason Momoa) who is able to communicate with marine lifeforms.

Atlanna loves son Arthur and his dadAtlanna loves son Arthur and his dadCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

A trusted advisor Vulko (Willem Dafoe) is summoned from Atlantis to train him to fight and live Atlantean style. He is ridiculed by his peers but grows up as Aquaman to aid land dwellers from time to time. When his half-brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) wants to wage war against the surface dwellers, it’s up to Arthur to claim the throne and bring the two worlds together.

Aquaman is ready for kingshipAquaman is ready for kingshipCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Aquaman Movie Trailer

Soggy Romance and Submarine Drama

When lighthouse keeper Tom rescues Queen Atlanna, she eats his goldfish. He hopes she won’t eat his dog but the two fall in love, have baby Arthur and hope he might unite the ocean and surface dwellers someday. Atlanna is tracked down and forced to return to Atlantis. When Arthur grows up (it’s one year after the action in The Justice League), he stops high tech pirates from grabbing a submarine but pirate leader Jesse Kane (Michael Beach) is accidentally pinned down after the fight. His son David (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) vows revenge when Aquaman leaves Jesse to die while he rescues the sailors on the sub.

David Kane vows revenge for his father's deathDavid Kane vows revenge for his father's deathCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Forming an Alliance

In Atlantis, King Orm, Arthur’s half-brother, tries to gain allies as he plans a war against the surface dwellers who have polluted the oceans and poisoned underwater creatures. Of course he also wants to be “Oceanmaster”, king of all underwater kingdoms. Suddenly a submarine is firing on Atlantis. David Kane controls the maneuver having made a deal with Orm to make it seem that surface dwellers are attacking. Princess Mera (Amber Heard) who is supposed to marry Orm, wants peace and goes to the surface to get Arthur/Aquaman to come and claim his rightful throne as firstborn son. She saves Arthur’s dad when Orm sends destructive, world-wide tidal waves to shore.

Orm is ready to wage warOrm is ready to wage warCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Aquaman is In

Aquaman agrees to come help stop the war at least and goes to Atlantis with Mera. He’s learned that his mom was executed upon returning home for being with a human and having a son. In a safe house in the old city which used to be above water, Arthur talks with old mentor Vulko who tells him to find the all-powerful trident of first king Atlan. He will then rule all the seas and can defeat Orm.

Vulko advises Aquaman and MeraVulko advises Aquaman and MeraCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Orm’s guard ambushes them. Mera and Vulko escape but Arthur is captured. Orm and Arthur do battle in a fiery underwater lava ring. Seeing that Arthur is unused to Atlantean battle and about to lose, Mera rescues him in her underwater ship, Orm chases them in his and thinks they have crashed and died at first but Mera wears a tracker he placed in her jewelry and he can follow them.

Mera rescues Aquaman/Arthur in her underwater shipMera rescues Aquaman/Arthur in her underwater shipCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Quest for the Trident

While Orm enlists other underwater kingdoms to join his war and defeats those who won’t, Arthur and Mera follow clues to King Atlan’s trident that lead them to the Sahara desert and to Sicily where David, using a re-worked Atlantean suit of armor and a new plasma weapon, calls himself Black Manta and ambushes Arthur and Mera.

Black Mantis tracks Aquaman downBlack Mantis tracks Aquaman downCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

After a chase and battle, he seems to fall to his death off a cliff into the ocean. Mera steals a small ship and she and an injured Arthur sail for The Trench Kingdom, where Atlanna was supposedly thrown to her death and where the trident is protected. After fighting off horrible creatures from the trench who attack them, they arrive at a land near the center of the earth.

Arthur/Aquaman and Mera search for the tridentArthur/Aquaman and Mera search for the tridentCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

King Arthur?

Can Arthur prove himself as the only true Atlantean king and take the trident? Can he best Orm in battle before he launches his final attack on the surface dwellers? Will Arthur ever be Atlantean king with Mera at his side as Queen?

Can Arthur be king with Mera as his queen?Can Arthur be king with Mera as his queen?Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Mid-Credits Scene

In a scene mid end-credits, we find out what truly happened to Black Manta and if alive, if he still swears to kill Arthur/Aquaman?

Wrapping Up

Aquaman has it all; a hunky hero, lots of pure, campy humor and colorful, creative CGI action plus amazingly beautiful and creative production design, costumes and many undersea creatures that are elegant and/or scary. Jason Momoa is good with Aquaman/Arthur’s goofy, awkward side as well as embodying that super-hero soggy swagger. It’s nice to see his lady love Mera kick butt on her own and rescue our hero several times rather than needing his help.

Gorgeous Mera learns that her father supports Orm's warGorgeous Mera learns that her father supports Orm's warCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

On the downside, there is way too much exposition as the entire history of Atlantis and its many kings is explained in detail. There are too many unnecessary battles as King Orm tries to gain allies and defeat those against him. The battle action looks great but, at almost two and a half hours, the film is overlong because of it.

Aquaman/Arthur and Orm fight in the circle of fireAquaman/Arthur and Orm fight in the circle of fireCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

The message that we are polluting our oceans with garbage and poisoning underwater creatures is a solid and worthy one. It’s kind of nice to see those who dwell there, even in fantasy, fight back.

With Aquaman and Wonder Woman in the film line-up, DC Comics has a better chance at getting the fans a little closer to enjoying DC Heroes as much as those from Marvel. Although a bit over-stuffed, the Aquaman film looks great and is still entertaining. We can award four stars.

Aquaman Movie Rating: 4

Aquaman Movie PosterAquaman Movie PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

See Aquaman in theaters Friday, December 21st.

Where Do You Stand? 

Are you a solid Marvel fan no matter how entertaining some DC films get? Are you a fan of Jason Momoa? Do you think he is perfect to “beef up” the usually considered wimpy Aquaman? Comment below or see the film and write your own review for fellow Kidzworld visitors on your profile page.