Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Aquaman

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know how this works, I watch a movie and blog about it.  Easy as pie.  Today, we're checking out Aquaman.  This is in my notes at April 14, 2019.

I'm so glad to see DC/Warner Brothers is finally figuring things out.  After the doom and gloom that was Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad and Justice League, they're starting to learn to have fun with superheroes again.  And that is nowhere more evident than Aquaman

Aquaman is the most bug-nuts crazy film DC has put out to date.  The climax with armies of armed sharks taking on armed seahorses and mer-people and submarines then Aquaman shows up riding the kraken...what the hell, man?  As Kevin Smith remarked on one of his podcasts, they didn't know which Aquaman movie to make, so they made every Aquaman movie. 

And of course, leading the charge is Jason Momoa as Aquaman.  The dude just oozes charm.  It's been interesting watching the evolution of Aquaman over the years.  It was in the 1980s when they started mocking him as "the dude who talks to fish."  So he got all gritty in the 1990s, got a hook for a hand and got all broody.  My favourite recent interpretation has been on the lighthearted cartoon Batman: The Brave and the Bold, where he's turned into a swashbuckling high adventurer.  And Jason Momoa turns him into a bit of a dude-bro...a fun-loving party animal who enjoys beating up the bad guys. 

In a way, this is DC's answer to Thor, as it presents us with a richly detailed fantasy world.  We see our origins in the beginning, when the queen of Atlantis finds safety in the surface world, as she's running from an arranged marriage.  And here she meets a humble lighthouse keeper, and they have a son...Arthur, destined to be the next king of Atlantis.  But, the troops of Atlantis soon find the queen, and she's taken back to the ocean world.  And Arthur grows up. 

Arthur wants nothing to do with Atlantis, as he blames them for the death of his mother.  But then, fate intervenes.  Arthur's half-brother Orm is going mad with power.  He wants to unite the seven undersea kingdoms and declare war on the surface world.  Mera, princess of the undersea kingdom of Xebel, and Vulko, Orm's vizier and former mentor to Arthur, can't go along with this.  So, they hatch a plot:  go on a quest to find the fabled Trident of Atlan -- the first king of Atlantis.  With this trident, Arthur can defeat Orm in ritual combat for the throne and bring about a peaceful end. 

So the entire film is a quest through these remarkable undersea worlds as Arthur and Mera search for the trident.  And of course, Orm's forces are hot on their trail. 

And in those forces, we get the entire origin story of Aquaman's nemesis Black Manta.  Man o man, Black Manta's origin subplot is so richly detailed that could very easily have been saved for Aquaman 2.  I just love that so much love and care is given to this villain!

And I love the payoff they give to Aquaman's much-mocked "talk to fish" powers.  Near the end, as they find the trident, the final test is to fight the Kraken...called the Karathen here in the film.  Rather than fight, Arthur uses his "talk to fish" powers to reach out to her and reason with her!  The Karathen (voiced by Julie Andrews!) is taken aback, as no one has been able to converse with her since King Atlan himself.  So the Karathen backs off and allows Arthur to attempt to draw the sword from the stone. 

Aquaman is just so much fun, you guys.  But it's so packed to the gills with Aquaman-goodness, I really have no idea what they're going to do for a sequel.

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