The DC oceanic superhero has been around since 1941, and, like many other vintage comic book characters, has enjoyed several makeovers. But none is more striking than his filmic embodiment by Jason Momoa, who, after his cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and supporting part in Justice League (2017), here makes you forget that Aquaman was ever a clean-cut towhead. The burly tattooed star brings a pleasing mix of congeniality and ferocity to the lead role in this occasionally sluggish origin story, which owes much to DC’s The New 52 reboot in 2011 by writer Geoff Johns. Still, director James Wan borrows liberally from elsewhere in the canon: Amber Heard is a dead ringer for the 1964 comics version of Princess Mera, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has the pirate Black Manta down to a T (although a little of this villain’s backstory would have been helpful). Veteran cinematographer Don Burgess’s widescreen images beguile, and Bill Brzeski’s production design impresses mightily, but next time, someone please give Momoa and company some memorable dialogue. With Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison, Patrick Wilson, and Willem Dafoe.
Aquaman: An IMAX 3D Experience
PG-13 • 2 hours 23 min • 2018