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Review: ‘Aquaman’s villainous appeal

The Aquaman character was initially a secondary role in comic books created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger in 1941. He had his first solo series in DC (Detective Comics) in the early 50’s and 60’s and was a founding member of the Justice League, which first appeared in 1960. The first time the character appeared in recent film was Zack Snyder’s Batman vs Superman (2016), and later Snyder’s Justice League (2017 ), both of which received mixed reviews.

Set after the events of Justice League, the new Aquaman movie is a spectacular visual masterpiece with an emotional story at the center of a action packed adventure film. In the opening of the film, Aquaman’s father Tom Curry, played by Temuera Morrison, is a lighthouse keeper who encounters the Queen of Atlantis Atlanna, played by Nicole Kidman. They fall in love and have a child they name Arthur after a major hurricane, but then Atlanna must leave Tom and Arthur to return to Atlantis. Arthur finds he has powers inherited from his mother, mainly his ability to communicate with marine animals. In the years to follow, Arthur Curry — a.k.a. Aquaman — learns that he is heir to the throne of Atlantis and must battle his half brother King Orm, played by Patrick Wilson, to take his throne.

As Aquaman, Jason Momoa gives a pretty good performance and seems to be very comfortable with playing his character. Wilson is also pretty decent as the villain, not over-the-top and mostly convincing. Aquaman’s second nemesis though, Black Manta (a sea scavenger that blames Aquaman for his father’s death and holds a personal vendetta against him), is played far more brilliantly by Yahya Abdul-Manteen.

While viewing Aquaman, I was in awe of the plot, fight sequences, and visuals. Director James Wan (The Conjurings Series) did a fantastic job helming the film and proves that he can do more than just horror. The only thing “off” about the film was that Black Manta didn’t get enough screen time. Manteen’s acting was so phenomenal he almost stole the film from the primary villain Orm in the few scenes he did have. I hope that when the inevitable sequel happens, Black Manta will be given more screen time and a more developed character arc. I highly recommend Aquaman and look forward to seeing the story continue in future movies.

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