In “Aquaman” we learn that the amphibious superhero is the product of a brief but passionate romance between a lighthouse keeper named Tom (Temuera Morrison) and Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), Queen of Atlantis, who came ashore during a period of rebellion and anger. However, she had to return to the sea, and this sad occasion led her to an observation about crying on earth compared to crying under water: “where I come from, the sea takes away your tears.”
This is the poetry of “Aquaman”, written with colorful enthusiasm by James Wan (“Insidious”,” the Conjuring”), but written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (“Red Riding Hood”) and Will Beall (“bandit Squad”), as if assuming that no one would hear the dialogue. Like the main character, the film is nice to watch, but does itself a disservice in the conversation.
About 30 years after his sea mother returns to his damp kingdom, Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is a galoot who drinks beer, with a superpower, the ability to breathe underwater, and a psychic connection to fishing that is not yet fully developed. He led rescue missions in the Atlantic at the lower level, leading to legends about “the aquaman”, but still no difficult news (there are no Lane laws on the matter). Says that his mother was executed after his return to Atlantis, Arthur has no interest in visiting the place, but he accepted occasional training visits while growing up with Vulko (Willem Dafoe), mama’s trusted advisor. Now we learn that Atlantis needs its “mongrel wrongdoer” (they are very critical there) to take control of his half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson), who HAD him with inhabitants of the surface, who pollute the oceans and wants to start a war with us.
Arthur is reluctant, but eventually recruited by Mera (Amber Heard), an Atlantean warrior princess with the power to control the water (and in one scene, the wine). However, before he can land in Atlantis and challenge Orm, he needs to find the legendary Trident of atlann, a map on which you can only find by first traveling to the Sahara and following the instructions in another place, which turns out to be Sicily, where Arthur and Mera have a very pleasant (and not particularly destructive, by the standards of the superhero movie) action and pursuit with soldiers sent by Orm. This team is led by David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), aka Black Manta, a pirate who blames Aquaman for his father’s passed away — which, to be fair, Aquaman absolutely caused — and has been given Atlantean weapons to help him finish Arthur.
James Wan’s films weren’t all great, but they always show an eye for striking visuals and clever camera work (aided by technology, if he wants to do something a camera can’t bodily do). He has a lot of work to do here; the many corners of the underwater world are full of fascinating animals, including seahorses and sharks equipped as war animals, not to mention the Atlantic war machines built to look like sea animals. (Why don’t we do that? Why don’t our tanks have the shape of a dog ?) There are a few skirmishes between the factions, when King Orm has to bring everyone on board with his plan to finish the inhabitants of the surface, and although the policy is not convincing – he is a king we do not like to action with sailors we do not know – the action are funny to watch.
As for the Aqua-bro itself, momoa’s performance as a smiling, doped beef platter studded with fists and stringy hair pushes me against the usual culture of superheroes, who tend to be more thoughtful and cautious, wearing shirts. It’s a likeable beef, and the character grows over the course of the film, which Momoa conveys well.
However, this scenario. The dialogue is functional at best, rarely spiritual; the film is not serious, but it is also never particularly funny. There is too much in the story (the subplot of Black Manta could go), although at least the scenes of young Arthur, trained by Vulko, are presented as flashbacks, rather than loading the film with them. But as clumsy and painful as most DC comic book movies have been, anything that’s light and not rude is an improvement. Will there be more ? How would Aquaman say “”YEEEAAHHHHH!”