Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Djimon Hounsou
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Superhero fantasy action adventure based on the DC Comics character of the same name directed by James Wan. Aquaman follows half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), aka Aquaman, the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, who must step forward to lead his people and to be a hero to the world just as his brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), seeks to unite the seven kingdoms against the surface world.
Arthur: Jules Verne once wrote, “Put two ships in the open sea without wind or tide, it will come together.” That’s how my parents met. Like two ships destined for each other.
Tom Curry: So, who are you?
Atlanna: Atlanna, Queen of Atlantis.
Tom Curry: Wow. I’m Tom, Keeper of Lighthouse.
Arthur: [referring to Atlanna] She had fled an arranged marriage, left her whole world behind. But in my father’s lighthouse, she found something unexpected. And my father found the love of his life.
Atlanna: [referring to Arthur] He’s living proof our people can co-exist. He could unite our worlds one day.
Atlanna: [to young Arthur] And the Trident could only be wielded by the strongest Atlantean. And it gave the king master of the Seven Seas. It made him so powerful that the ocean became so jealous and sent a terrible earthquake to destroy Atlantis. Down it fell to the bottom of the ocean. But legend has it that one day a new king will come who will use the power of the Trident to put Atlantis back together again.
Arthur: [referring to Atlanna and Tom] Their two worlds were never meant to meet, and I was a product of a love that never should have been.
Atlanna: [as she’s about to leave] They will always find me. Next time they will send an army. I have to go back. It’s the only way to save him. To save you.
Atlanna: [kisses young Arthur, and touches the tears on her face] Where I come from, the sea carries our tears away.
Tom Curry: Not here. You feel them.
Atlanna: I will return to you when it’s safe. One day, right here, at sunrise, we’ll be together again.
Atlanna: [to young Arthur] You stay strong, my little prince. I’ll always be with you.
Atlanna: [to Tom] Don’t let him forget me.
Mike: Check it out. Arthur is talking to the fish.
Matt: You’re such a freak, Arthur.
Young Arthur: [he’s pused against the aquarium glass] Stop! Stop!
Young Arthur: Stop it! Let me go!
[the shark in the aquarium taps hard on the glass with its nose freaking everyone out]
Arthur: [as he breaks into a submarine] Permission to come aboard.
Arthur: Am I supposed to know who you are?
Manta: I scavenge the high seas. You’re the Aquaman. We were bound to meet at some point.
Arthur: Let’s not make it a habit.
Manta: [as his father, Jesse, is trapped under a missile] Wait! Help me, he’s trapped! You can’t leave him like this! Please!
Arthur: You killed innocent people! You ask the sea for mercy.
Jesse: [as Manta’s trying to help Jesse] Get out of here!
Manta: I’ll never leave you.
Jesse: You need to live so that you can kill that son of a b**ch!
Tom Curry: I knew you couldn’t stand on the sidelines forever. Your mother always knew you were special.
Arthur: Don’t even start.
Tom Curry: She believed you’d be the one to unite our two worlds.
Arthur: Please, stop.
Tom Curry: Whatever Atlantis’s problem are, you’re bigger than them.
Arthur: Atlantis murdered my mother.
Tom Curry: You don’t know that for sure.
Arthur: Yes, I do. They killed her, for loving you and having me, and you know it.
Tom Curry: Son, one day you’re going to have to stop blaming yourself.
Biker #1: Hey, buddy, are you that fish boy from the TV?
Tom Curry: Oh, great.
Arthur: It’s fish man. What do you want?
Biker #1: I’ll tell you what I want.
Biker #1: [takes out his phone] Could we get a picture with you?
Biker #2: You’re like our local hero, man.
Biker #1: It would mean a lot. A quick…
Biker #1: Alright. Let’s do this
Arthur: [as the biker goes to put his arm around him] Don’t touch me.
Biker #1: Right, that’s exactly where I’d want to go down here. Here we go. Everybody, smile.
[proceeds to take selfies with Arthur and his gang]
King Nereus: Violence has always plagued the surface. They will destroy themselves.
King Orm: Not before destroying us first. We have been hiding long enough. The time has come for Atlantis to rise again.
Mera: Your half brother, King Orm, is about to declare war upon the surface world. Billions will die. Your people and mine. We must stop him.
Arthur: And how do you propose we do that?
Mera: You are the first born son of Queen Atlanna. The throne is yours by birthright. The only way to stop this war and save both worlds is for you to take your rightful place as King.
Arthur: [laughs] You think if I just show up, Orm will give up the throne? I’m the b****rd son of a queen your people executed. Trust me, I’m no king.
Mera: I agree.
Arthur: That’s awesome.
Mera: But, Vulko seems to believe in you for some reason, and that’s why I’m here. Vulko has learned of the location of the lost trident of Atlantis.
Arthur: Fairy tales. It’s a myth.
Mera: It’s not a myth. With the sacred trident, people will listen to you. You can then claim your birthright and dethrone Orm.
Arthur: My birthright? It died with my mother. But I’ll promise you this, if Orm attacks, I’ll treat him the same way your people treated her, with no mercy.
Arthur: [after Mera saves Tom’s life] You know, I don’t even know your name.
Mera: It’s Princess Y’Mera Xebella Challa. You may call me Mera.
Mera: [referring to the tidal wave that leveled the coast] This was Orm’s doing. The worst is yet to come.
Mera: What is it?
Arthur: This is the exact spot that Vulko gave me my first swimming lesson.
Vulko: [flashback of Vulko teaching young Arthur] You have to forget all the teachings of the surface world. Go deeper to uncover your Atlantean instincts.
Young Arthur: But I already know how to swim.
Vulko: Not even close.
Arthur: So, we’re clear, I’ll help you stop this war, then I’m done.
Mera: Maybe that’s for the best.
Vulko: [flashback of Vulko teaching young Arthur to swim under water] The ocean is more than our life soul. It’s who we are.
Young Arthur: Wait. You can talk underwater? Hey, I can talk underwater too! This is awesome!
Vulko: No. We can do more than just talk.
Vulko: Being an Atlantean means being more than just being able to breathe in water. Your body is equipped to survive the extreme cold, and pressure, and your eyes adjust to see in the dark.
Vulko: If we’re going to prevent this war, you must dethrone him now.
Arthur: How many times do I have to tell you, I don’t want to be king.
Mera: You don’t understand, once he is named Ocean Master, it’ll be too late. The power at his disposal will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Arthur: I’m from the surface. No one’s going to take me seriously. Heck, I’d don’t even know where to begin.
Vulko: By winning the hearts and minds of the people. By proving to them that you’re worthy, and retrieving this.
Arthur: [opens out a map showing a trident] I already got one of those.
Vulko: Not like this one you don’t. This is the lost Trident of Atlantis.
Arthur: Oh, I know the story.
Vulko: It’s more than a story. It’s real.
Vulko: [referring to the lost Trident of Atlantis] It was forged by the greatest weapon masters in history. Crafted from Poseidon’s steel for King Atlan, the first ruler of Atlantis. Legend says, the Trident was build with the power to command the sea.
Arthur: So what happened to it?
Vulko: To know that, is to go back to the time before the Great Fall, when King Atlan ruled over all that was, the Kingdoms of Atlantis were one. It was a time of great prosperity and technological advancement. We had unlocked the secret to unlimited energy at a time when the rest of the world still thought the earth was flat. But we became too ambitious, too hungry for power. The ocean swallowed us and Atlantis sank. But the very power that collapsed our civilisation also paved the way to our future. It gave us ability to breathe underwater. And so, we evolved. Others regressed, became savage. And the king lived out the remainder of his days in self imposed exile. Neither he, nor the Trident were ever seen again. One of our archeological teams uncovered this a few months ago. It’s an ancient recording dating back to the first dynasty. I believe it contains Atlan’s final message to his people and the whereabouts of the sacred Trident.
Arthur: So what does it say?
Mera: We don’t know. The technology’s too old.
Vulko: The cylinder bears the marking of the Deserter Kingdom. You must take it there and retrieve the message. The clue to Atlan’s final resting place is inside this.
King Orm: Are you invoking the combat of the Kings?
Arthur: Call it whatever you want. I call it an a**-whooping.
King Orm: Well then perhaps that’s how we’ll proceed.
Vulko: How could you be so foolish as to let Orm bait you into a fight?
Arthur: It seems to me that’ll solve all our problems. I beat him in battle, the war’s over. I’m getting home.
Vulko: You’re a formidable fighter on land, but here you’re out of your element literally. Orm has spent his entire life underwater, training to be a warrior, training to be the best.
Arthur: You taught me how to fight.
Vulko: Let’s see if you remember anything.
Young Arthur: [referring to Atlanna] Why did she never come to see me, huh?
Vulko: I told you, when you’re ready.
Young Arthur: Stop lying to me! I’ve done everything you’ve asked, and every time I pass a test, you make up another one! When am I going to be good enough? Did she not love me?
Vulko: Your mother loved you more than anything in the world, but she had to return to Atlantis to keep you safe. Her marriage to King Orvax was arranged a long time ago so she had to marry him and bear him a son, Prince Orm. But Orvax eventually found out about you, he became overwhelmed with jealousy and sacrificed her to the creatures of the Trench.
Young Arthur: Are you saying they executed her because she had me?
King Orm: Down here we have a legend called the Karathen. An ancient sea monster so powerful that even King Atlan himself feared it. So he imprisoned it, in the depths of the ocean. And it that abyss, the creature bides its time waiting to rise again. Atlantis has been lying in wait. And now the beast has awakened.
Arthur: You know, there was a time when I wanted to meet you more than anything, get to know my little brother, let him know that he wasn’t alone. Then we ran in together. If only I’d known what a d**k you would turn out to be.
King Orm: You were the reason our mother was executed, and I’ve hated you for it ever since. But I do not want to kill you, Arthur. I’m going to give you one chance. Go home. Do not ever come back to Atlantis. You are not going to win this. A war is coming to the surface, whether you like or not. And I am bringing the wrath of the Seven Seas with me.
Arthur: You know I can’t let that happen.
King Orm: I know.
King Orm: [to Arthur] You have my mother’s Trident. Powerful, but flawed like her. I wield my father’s, and it has never known defeat!
[they begin fighting]
King Orm: [as Orm defeats Arthur] I am the one true king!
Arthur: Heads up, we got a bogey on our six!
Mera: What does that even mean?
Arthur: Bad guys behind us.
Mera: Why didn’t you just say that?
Arthur: Bad guys behind us!
Mera: What are you doing?
Arthur: Something that worked for Pinnochio.
Arthur: Never mind. Get in. Get in. Come on!
Mera: [they enter inside a whale’s mouth] Great. So we’re getting eaten.
Arthur: [as they are the cargo plane] Are you okay?
Mera: I’ve never been so high up. We’re so far from home.
Arthur: At least you have a home.
Mera: Not anymore. I can never go back. I betrayed everything when I saved you from the Coliseum.
Mera: If I go back now, I would be sacrificed for the Trench. Even my own father wouldn’t take me back.
Well, you know, look on the bright side. Now you don’t have to marry someone that you’re not in love with.
Mera: Obligation isn’t love. It’s my family and my nation, and I’ve turned my back on both. Sometimes we have to do what’s right, even if your heart aches against it.
Mera: We’re here.
Arthur: Hey, is there anything nearby?
Cargo Pilot: Nothing but deserts for hundreds of, mate.
Arthur: Nothing but deserts.
Mera: He’s wrong!
Arthur: [as Mera jumps out of the plane] Mera, no!
Cargo Pilot: She just jumped without a parachute!
Arthur: Redheads, you got to love them.
Arthur: [jumps after her, as they land in the desert] You’re crazier than I thought.
Manta: Hm. I think I’m going to need a bigger helmet.
Mera: [walking in the desert] One of the tribes of Atlantis broke off and settled here when the region was still an inland sea. When the water dried up, they perished along with it.
Arthur: Perished? Yeah, that’s great.
Mera: We’re getting close now.
Arthur: Yeah, close to what? Dying of thirst?
Mera: I’m close to giving you a punch in the face.
Arthur: Look, Fight Club, I know you’re here to help me work up here. Why don’t you look around, we are lost. You see that over there? Hey, what is that? Nada. This place’s a wasteland.
Mera: You’re the one who call this wasteland a home.
Arthur: This isn’t my home!
Mera: [referring to Arthur] If you are the next true king we’re doomed.
Arthur: [to Mera] That was awesome!
Arthur: Check this place out. This is bad-a**!
Mera: This is the hall of armoury where the legend say Atlann’s Trident was forged.
Arthur: I don’t think they’re a legend anymore.
Mera: [referring to the Atlantean device they’re trying to activate] Nothing.
Arthur: Of course it’s not working. It’s been sitting here collecting dust since before the Sahara was a desert.
Mera: Since before the Sahara was a desert.
Arthur: Thank you for repeating what I just said.
Mera: It’s completely dried out. You do your best thinking when you’re not thinking at all. Right, now hold still.
Arthur: Hey, what are you doing?
Mera: [she places her hand in front of his face] We need water. You’re the closes source. Now hold still.
Arthur: [Mera uses her powers to extract water droplets from him] Show off. I could’ve just peed on it.
King Atlan: In this trident resides the power of Atlantis. In the wrong hands, it would bring destruction. In the hands of the true heir, it will unite all our kingdoms above and below. If you seek my power, you must prove your worth. Journey beyond the edge of the world to the hidden sea. Look inside the bottle for the chartered path. Only in the hands of the true king can he truly see.
Mera: We can’t let Orm find this.
Arthur: [as Mera takes the device and smashes it] Hey, wait!
Arthur: Shouldn’t we have written it down first?
Mera: I memorized it. Didn’t you?
Arthur: Oh. Oh, yeah, totally.
Mera: What did he just say?
Arthur: Something, something trident.
Mera: Well, I’ve just learnt something very interesting. Pinocchio. You risked our lives on something you read in a children’s book?
Arthur: Wait, it’s a book? How about that. I got it from a movie.
Arthur: I learned from a young age not to show weakness. Hey, it’s not a problem with my anger and my fist. I’m a blunt instrument and I’m damn good at it, but I’ve done nothing but get my a** kicked this whole trip. I’m no leader. I’m not a king. I do not work or play well with others, and I can’t let you die trying to turn me into something I’m not.
Mera: You think you’re unworthy to lead because you’re of different worlds. But that is exactly why you are worthy. You are the bridge between land and sea. I can see that now. The only question is, can you?
Atlanna: You’re afraid.
Atlanna: Good. You’re ready.
Mera: Atlantis has always had a king, now it needs something more.
Arthur: What could be greater than a king?
Atlanna: A hero. A king fights only for its nation, but you fight for everyone.
Karathen: [as Arthur has come to claim the Trident] You do not belong here. I have guarded the Trident against false kings since the beginning and for a thousand years. I have seen the greatest champions try and failed, but never have I sensed one as unworthy as you. You dare to come here with your tainted mongrel blood to claim Atlantis’s greatest treasure? So be it. Half breed.
Karathen: [as Arthur is trying to claim the Trident] You thought yourself worthy? You thought yourself a king? You dishonour this place with your presence.
Arthur: You’re right. I am a half breed mongrel. But I did not come here because I thought I was worthy. I know I’m not.
Karathen: You understand me.
Arthur: I do.
Karathen: No mortal has conversed with me since King Atlan. Who are you?
Arthur: I’m nobody. I came because I have no choice. I came to save my home, and the people that I love. I came because the Trident is our only hope. And if that’s not good enough, then screw you.
King Orm: Today we unite our kingdoms. Tomorrow we scorch the surface! Rise, Atlantis!
Fisherman Princess: The Trident. He commands the Trident.
King Nereus: Impossible!
King Orm: The Trident doesn’t change what you are. You’re a half breed b****rd. Atlantis will never accept you as its King.
Arthur: Well let my blood shed, until the gods make known their will!
King Orm: [as Arthur defeats him] Finish it.
Arthur: Yield the throne.
King Orm: Mercy is not our way.
Arthur: Maybe you haven’t noticed, brother, but I’m not one of you.
King Orm: Do it! Kill me!
Atlanna: No! That is enough killing!
King Orm: Mother.
Atlanna: [comes out from the water behind them] Orm, my son.
Arthur: [as the people of Atlantis are cheering him] So what do I do now?
Mera: Be their king.
Arthur: This is going to be fun.
Tom Curry: [embracing Atlanna after she returns and meets him at sunrise] You’re back. You’re back.
Arthur: My father was a lighthouse keeper. My mother was a queen. They were never meant to meet, but their love saved the world. They made me what I am. A son of the land, a king of the seas. I am the protector of the deep. I am Aquaman.