The ups and downs of the DC Extended Universe recently had a down (Justice League), so the next film is possibly going to be an up, right? Of course, that’s where I am with Aquaman, but that wasn’t my original feeling prior to seeing this. The go-to DC character for jokes between your friends and even pop culture, James Wan revamps all things Aquaman in this film. However, my bar was set real low considering Amazon got to screen the film in select theaters a weekend early, plus I wasn’t really sold on Aquaman based on his Justice League appearance last year.
Arthur gets the story he deserves. It doesn’t get too connected to Justice League events other than Mera (Amber Heard) name dropping Steppenwolf, but that’s a good thing! The two go on this trident searching adventure that takes them to Africa and Europe. Jason Momoa was always the perfect casting for Aquaman, and hopefully for years to come. Orm (Patrick Wilson) and Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) take on the antagonist vibe with such ease. They are easily likable with their agendas and arcs, so having them appear in future films has to be done. Black Manta’s finished armor is ridiculously awesome; probably the most comic book savvy design DCEU has achieved so far. Luckily both characters stick around at the end for more stories in future films if they are any made.
Supporting cast in Aquaman is perhaps my favorite ensemble in any DCEU flick so far. Nicole Kidman, William Dafoe, and Temuera Morrison offer up memorable performances. Kidman as Atlanna has a wicked fun sequence at the start that goes down as one of my favorite action scenes of 2018. Julie Andrews even voices the gigantic Karathen (I jokingly think this is the true reason she isn’t in Mary Poppins Returns). Randall Park crosses cinematic universe streams by appearing as Stephen Shin. Park also appeared in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp earlier this year, which also starred Laurence Fishburne (DCEU Perry White).
Let’s jump into the music. Rupert Gregson-Williams shreds the soundtrack start to finish. That electronic 80s vibe the film introduces sticks throughout, even as the film dives into modern stay. It’s mesmerizing and I actually purchased the soundtrack right after leaving the theater. Things get real ambient when Atlantis is introduced for the first time; it reminded me of Oblivion / Blade Runner-esque sounds. Back to Orm and Black Manta, they have awesome themes when on screen. Intense action accompanied by Rupert’s music during the film’s opening action scene and Black Manta’s Italy destruction are top-notch. Let’s not forget the music when Arthur is fully suited up after grabbing Atlan’s trident.
Aquaman and Wonder Woman run this universe. They are essentially the pedestal this cinematic universe thrives on now. Not Batman. Not Superman. Not Flash. Arthur and Diana are the only two things firing on all cylinders. 5 years ago I didn’t think the DCEU would be best represented by them, especially Aquaman. Now all I want is an Aquaman trilogy with James Wan at the helm.