A DAMP SQUIB

AQUA­MAN (12A)

Llanelli Star - - Film Reviews -

OEANS rise and stan­dards fall in Aqua­man, a bloated ori­gin story for the epony­mous DC Comics su­per­hero, which cap­sizes in a tsunami of splashy dig­i­tal effects and melo­dra­matic sto­ry­telling.

Ja­son Mo­moa flexes his mus­cles and pearly whites in the ti­tle role, im­bu­ing his re­luc­tant heir with flashes of rough charm and hu­mour when he isn’t con­vers­ing with co-stars us­ing his fists.

An on-screen ro­mance with Am­ber Heard’s princess is tepid while Pa­trick Wil­son is poorly served as the pan­tomime vil­lain, who in­tends to chas­tise mankind for pol­lut­ing un­der­sea king­doms with chem­i­cals and plas­tics.

Di­rec­tor James Wan pro­longs ac­tion set pieces with ex­ces­sive slow mo­tion and showy cam­er­a­work, which spins and som­er­saults around ac­tors as they per­form breath­lessly chore­ographed fights.

Maine lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Te­muera Mor­ri­son) dis­cov­ers At­lanna (Ni­cole Kid­man), Queen of At­lantis, in­jured on the shore and nurses her back to health.

They fall in love and she gives birth to a boy called

Arthur, who

★★★★★

can breathe in wa­ter and com­mu­ni­cates with aquatic life.

Alas, the queen is forced to aban­don her child and Arthur grows up be­liev­ing she died to give him life.

Many years later, Mera (Heard), daugh­ter of King Nereus (Dolph Lund­gren), vis­its Arthur (Mo­moa) and im­plores him to chal­lenge his power-hun­gry half-brother Orm (Pa­trick Wil­son), who has de­clared war on hu­man­ity.

If Arthur can lo­cate the fa­bled tri­dent of Nep­tune and hone his fight­ing skills un­der the aegis of men­tor Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe), he might avert dis­as­ter.

Aqua­man is a test of men­tal en­durance and phys­i­cal dis­com­fort with a run­ning time that need­lessly ap­proaches two and a half hours.

The lin­ear plot un­folds at a (front) crawl, shep­herd­ing Mo­moa’s hero-in-wait­ing on a globe-trot­ting odyssey us­ing clunky ex­pos­i­tory di­a­logue.

Kid­man and Dafoe, sport­ing a fetch­ing man bun, buoy throw­away sup­port­ing roles and refuse to drown in the re­lent­less on­slaught of spe­cial effects trick­ery.

We are not so for­tu­nate. Fleshed out: Ja­son Mo­moa as Arthur Curry/ Aqua­man

Am­ber Heard as Mera Hold­ing the baby: Ni­cole Kid­man as At­lanna

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