A DAMP SQUIB
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
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