Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by James Wan
Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall, Geoff Johns, and James Wan
DC has had a hard go at trying to catch up to the juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With flops in Batman V. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League they had some lifeblood pumped back in their veins with Wonder Woman and now Aquaman serves the DC Universe well by essentially taking the dark characters and even darker film tones and trading it in for colorful and vibrant characters and scenery. It would be amiss to not note the Jason Momoa largely is to credit for this film’s success. Between his charisma and pure macho man aura, there is a lot going on in this film that will give just about something for everyone who watches it.
Here comes the spoilers.
There is a lot going on in this film and it gets you started right with the love story of Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and a lighthouse keeper named Thomas Curry. It is a forbidden love that results in Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) being born. His birth also results in his mother being executed by being cast into the trench as punishment for bearing a half breed son. William Dafoe plays Vulko who promises Atlanna to watch over and train her son. She believes that one day he would unite the peoples of both land and sea. We get pulled to present day where we see Arthur aka Aquaman save a submarine from pirates. During this rescue he defeats the father and son leaders of the pirate crew. He leaves them behind and the father dies as a result. The son is now driven for revenge and this sets up a Black Manta storyline. Back in Atlantis, Prince Orm (son of the former King and Queen Atlanna) is making moves to control all seven seas to lead an uprising against the surface world. His betrothed, Princess Mera (Amber Heard), is against this idea of war with the surface and goes to see Arthur to get him to come to Atlantis to claim his right as King. To do so they will need to find the Trident of Atlan, the first king of Atlantis, which has the power to unite all seven seas and control all creates in the oceans. The films invokes a feeling of Tomb Raider, James Bond, and Avatar (mostly due to the blues).
The film jumps locations a bit from the depths of the ocean to the desert of the Sahara to a seaside town in Italy. Fight sequences are well done and there is just the right balance of comic relief spread throughout to keep things light. Yet there is just a minor detail that would bring in the climactic scene and the brother versus brother theme in better. I would do a side by side montage showing the two brothers who they were raised. One being raised to be empathic and kind to both land and seas, while the other is raised to be callous and hateful of the surface world. This would better establish the villain of Prince Orm better and lend the climactic scene a better punch than what is delivered with this film. DC did well with the quick establishment of Black Manta, but failed in showing us Prince Orm’s convictions and what raised him to have them.
I hope this film does well for not only Jason Momoa’s career, but also for DC to keep building on good films. This film is very good, but easily could have been better with just a minute of history of Prince Orm inserted against Arthur’s upbringing to compare and contrast the two brothers so when they do go head to head it is greatly enhanced emotionally.
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