Aquaman movie review, rating: Jason Momoa and Amber Heard star in the DCEU’s best film since Wonder Woman. James Wan just saved a series from drowning. Rating: 3.5\/5.

Director – James Wan
Cast – Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Willem Dafoe
Rating – 3.5/5

The opening few minutes of Aquaman are quite possibly its best, because that’s how long it takes director James Wan to set the tone for his film, and to differentiate his version from others.

Two souls meet, like two ships stranded at sea, destined to find each other. There is a warm afternoon glow in the sky, a light breeze in the air and the ocean is calm. A love story unfolds, a child is born and difficult decisions are made. A lifetime passes. All in the time it would take for you to lap an Olympic-sized pool. The soothing sounds of Sigur Ros hang in the air; a Jules Verne quote is invoked.

It’s safe to say that these opening few minutes, which bear more resemblance to Pixar’s Up than Zack Snyder’s heavy metal take on the character, are unlike anything we’ve seen in a DC film before.

There is barely any reference made to the Aquaman we’d seen in Justice League, save for Jason Momoa’s on-the-nose James Hetfield impression, and the faint guitar riff that accompanies his arrival on the scene. To call James Wan’s version a calculated distancing from the Snyderverse would be slightly cynical – and that is not what this film is about. Wan’s Aquaman is perhaps the most earnest superhero movie in many months, probably since DC’s own Wonder Woman.

It most certainly isn’t as polished as that movie – what Patty Jenkins achieved went beyond having made a good film – but neither is it as putrid as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It floats somewhere in the middle; like a life vest for a rapidly sinking DC Extended Universe.

Its themes of identity and belonging, of being caught between two worlds are remarkably similar to the ideas that Andy Serkis explored in his recent Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. Arthur Curry is born of Atlantean royalty, but also has in his veins the blood of a common human man. He is raised on the surface, a stone’s throw from the ocean – two homes that he has never truly belonged to, or felt accepted by. Crippled by abandonment issues – his mother left him when he was a child, with the promise that she’d return one day – and only just now discovering a purpose in his life (Aquaman is set about a year after the events of Justice League)Arthur is summoned to the deep by Mera, played by Amber Heard.

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