Home » Aquaman review – Breathtakingly Beautiful and Riveting Triumph

Aquaman review – Breathtakingly Beautiful and Riveting Triumph

by Ben Rolph

After Justice League many have been cautious and perhaps a little scared about the future of DC, but director James Wan takes all that and sinks it to the bottom of the ocean, in this soaring film ripe with beautiful visuals, ripping sounds and top notch action.

With an adventurous feel to it, Aquaman pays homage to films like Indiana Jones and takes it to a whole new level. The film combines genre with vivid elements of horror mixing with sci-fi, action and adventure films in such a successful way it strikes a utterly impressive stable tone throughout. James Wan, whose style of directing is, utterly sweeping and precise utilising the marvelous production design conveyed in all it’s wonder with the vibrant world created.


We follow Arthur (Jason Momoa) who finds himself battling with his inner Atlantian self, as his brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) plans to declare war to the surface world. It all begins when Arthur’s dad Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) rescues Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) who fall in love and have a child born of land and sea, only to be attacked by Atlantians wanting their deserter back. A feud begins as Arthur searches for the lost trident of Atlantis with Mera (Amber Heard) with Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) following close behind.

One thing Wonder Woman got right, but most of the other Snyder DC films got wrong was the focus on visuals over story and character, which is a main focus of Wan’s Aquaman yet at the same time showing how to combine striking visuals and great development in plot that past films have failed at. The cinematography is beautiful, with the use of wide shots to help ground the sense of being there with the characters
as if we are spectating from afar. It is a visual masterpiece, with Atlantis being ripe and full of colour and life.


The film’s soundtrack and score is brilliant, with it contributing to many chilling moments of pure excitement in the arms of the spectacle heard and seen on screen. The world building in the seamless transition in physical set design and the rather incredible use of CGI, create a vibrant colourful world to get lost in. Additionally, the way the underwater scenes are shot are entirely believable and executed in a very precise
way that really works and never bothers.

The characters in this film feel real and aren’t paper thin, taking time to delve into backstory. Additionally, the effective use of narration works as a structure device to create links as the spectator from start to finish – but especially towards the end of the film which will really hit you in the chills. Amber Heard shines alongside Momoa in her own utterly compelling way – seemingly innocent, but under the skin she is a ruthless warrior. Black manta is a true star with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s utterly convincing performance as the famed DC character. Backed by very strong supporting performances from Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson and Willem Dafoe.


The action is ravishing and executed with such a distinct style, in this Wan is able to truly capture the action in a way that rips into you as the spectator, as if you were taking the hits. There is a few sequences in Venice that is notably incredible in the use the set piece, but all the underwater fights are equally as great combining the fighting style with the movement of the water that never fails to lose you.

The film is packed with humour, that never lands a miss – constantly hilarious, but not just in dialogue, the use of visual humour is rather comforting to see. Wan strongly captures the tone of Aquaman perfectly. There is no ounce of fat in the film, with each scene placed and cut in a way to set up and continue onto the next and the film doesn’t suffer from the typical third act CGI-fest fight, now that is something.


The film has very little flaws, perhaps one or two cliche lines – but they are easily overlook-able, otherwise the script is very solid throughout.

I must mention, I had major shivers of pure joy and excitement in some massive scenes – it shows the real connection Aquaman has confidently made to the audience to get such a response.

Aquaman is a new terrific entry in the belt of DC, a visual masterpiece that is utterly riveting throughout.

5/5 Stars

Ben Rolph



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