DC Films has just released one of the most anticipated films in their entire superhero line up, and fans will finally get to see if it was worth the wait. I can tell you with the utmost certainty that it is. I was fortunate enough to see Aquaman two weeks before its official release, and I instantly fell in love with the film. There are so many reasons to give this movie a chance, especially if you haven’t liked any of the previous DC films –nor if you’re still bitter about the outcome of Justice League. In the mean time, here are my six reasons for you to check out Aquaman in theaters opening weekend:
6. The Plot
I’ve heard a lot of criticism regarding the plot of this movie. Some have gone as far to say that this film is copying the plot of Black Panther or The Lion King. My advice: ignore all of that, because there is so much more to this film than it’s plot. As we all know, the titular character of the film is having difficulty finding where he fits in because he’s half surface dweller and half Atlantean. This makes Arthur the ultimate biracial superhero because he comes from two very different worlds. And that is why Jason Momoa was the perfect casting choice for the character.
Director James Wan made sure that his film celebrates all of that. And in this day and age where people are vilified for daring to be different, Aquaman chooses to embrace that side of its hero. What makes Arthur different isn’t a weakness. It is what makes him worthy. And that’s a beautiful message for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t fit in.
5. The Villains
You’ve heard them say your hero is only as strong as your villain. That is entirely true when it comes to this film. One of the biggest weaknesses in a lot of these superhero films is their tendency toward weak villains with meaningless motivations. That is not the case with Aquaman. King Orm AKA Ocean Master is definitely one of the franchise’s most sympathetic villains.
As Arthur’s brother, King Orm’s arc is a little heartbreaking. But it is also a metaphor for the entire nature vs. nurture debate. On land, Arthur was raised by his father who is a good man. Arthur certainly has his flaws but at his core, he’s a good person and he does what he can to help others.
Under the sea, King Orm was raised by his own father, who was a tyrant king. Both men were robbed of being raised by their mother, and that causes significant psychological damage to them.
It’s interesting to watch how different the two men are while also being quite similar in a lot of ways.
The film also introduces Aquaman’s classic archenemy, Black Manta. He’s certainly not the “big bad” of this installment, but his presence holds promise for what’s to come in future sequels.
4. Badass stunts and incredible CGI
This film boasted some of the best stunt choreography that I have ever seen in a superhero film. Most of it does take place “under water” and that alone must have been a challenge for choreographers. However, it’s not just the fight scenes that stand out. The entire third act of this film was a giant spectacle that will leave you breathless.
Where most superhero films tend to fall apart, Aquaman gives fans the payoff they deserve in the film’s last act.
The stunt team aren’t the only ones that deserve praise either.
Aquaman is a beautiful film. Period.
The VFX team that brought the world of Atlantis to life created something we’ve never seen before. The underwater sequences are some of the most majestic scenes in the entire film. If you were worried about how this new world would look on screen, don’t be. I can tell you that it’s probably better than anything you’ve imagined.
3. Strong Female Characters
This film has one of the fiercest female characters in all of DC comics and one of the most prolific female actresses playing Aquaman’s mother.
Amber Heard’s portrayal of Mera is easily one of my favorite takeaways from the film. She’s not a newcomer by any means, and we did get a tease of Mera in Justice League. But even though I know I’ve seen Heard in a handful of films and a couple of TV shows, I can’t really remember any of those performances. I can honestly say that her performance of Mera is something I will always remember. I’ll be very surprised if this isn’t a turning point for Heard’s career. She gave her everything to this role and it showed. She deserves the recognition for bringing the iconic future Queen of Atlantis to life.
And then there is Nicole Kidman’s Queen Atlanna. I’ve always loved Kidman, so when I found out she was joining the DC Universe, my excitement was already through the roof. Watching her be a badass mother to the future King of Atlantis was a real treat. I knew she’d give a noteworthy performance. I just didn’t expect that they’d make her such a warrior. I’m glad that they though because it falls in line with DC’s portrayal of superhero moms.
Man of Steel had Martha Kent and Lara El. Wonder Woman had Hippolyta. Now Aquaman has Atlanna.
Don’t ever tell me DC films don’t have strong female characters. Even their superheroes have the fiercest moms you’ve ever seen on screen.
2. Jason Momoa
I bet you thought that Jason would be my number one reason to go see this film. And he easily could have been if not for the one thing that should make everyone want to go see this movie. But more on that later.
Momoa’s portrayal of Arthur Curry AKA Aquaman is one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen in a superhero film. He’s serious when he needs to be and funny when he can be. His jokes land well because they don’t diminish the severity of his situation.
Momoa brings a lot of heart to a character that has been the butt of every superhero joke for decades. We root for Arthur because we empathize with him.
He’s a reluctant hero but his goodhearted nature doesn’t let him sit on the sidelines for long.
Casting an actor like Jason Momoa was probably one of the smartest casting decisions Zack Snyder ever made. Let’s give credit where it is due and finally just admit Snyder nailed it when it came time to cast these icons. Momoa, like the heroes that came before him, redefined the character of Aquaman. And that’s a very good thing.
The reason I chose this for my number one reason to go watch this film opening weekend is because representation matters. Jason Momoa’s biracial background is important. So is the fact that the director of this film is Asian. And we also have strong female representation in not one but two very fierce characters in major roles.
This film’s diversity, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, is such an incredible accomplishment. It pushes the envelope on filmmaking and opens doors for more people to come through.
These blockbusters may not get the critical acclaim many of them deserve, but they are changing the way films are made. And that’s a good enough reason to go support this film on opening weekend.
To be honest, even if that’s not a good enough reason for you to go see this movie when it comes out, then go see it because it’s actually a really good film that is worth your time and money!
Aquaman swims into theaters on December 21, 2018.