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Esther McCarthy reviews Aquaman

Aquaman (12A) **

Like Asgard before Thor crashed to earth and brought on the fun, Aquaman struggles to bring the underwater world in which much of the film is set to life. Fortunately for director James Wan, who brings some personality to the table, he has been shrewd in his casting. 

While the film is wobbly in structure, the makers have put meat on the bones of the DC character, and given us a juicy leftfield villain in the form of Patrick Wilson. 

It opens with a backstory about Aquaman’s roots, born to the Queen of Atlantis (Kidman), who swims to earth and has a passionate affair with a human lighthouse keeper, leading to the birth of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur (Jason Momoa).

But she has pledged to an arranged royal marriage in her homeplace, and is forced home by a furious leader under threat of harm to her loved one and child. 

Willem Defoe is great as a royal counsellor who feels an obligation to the boy, and occasionally comes to earth to teach him how to harness his powers, and protect him from word of his mother’s demise. 

The counsellor has good reason -  Arthur’s half brother and full Atlantean Orm (Wilson) has plans to launch an attack on the earth which he believes has slighted his community, and continues to do so by the ongoing pollution of the waters in which they live. He has harnessed the powers of a dangerous sea pirate to help in his quest  -  and wipe out the ‘half-breed’ sibling who may take his throne. 

Alarmed by the threat of a major war, Princess Mera (Amber Heard) urges Aquaman to assume his claim to the throne and harness the powers of the lost Trident of Atlan to do so. 

Unfortunately the set up’s a bit silly, the film too CGI heavy and the storytelling is found wanting.