Grounded #9: Aquaman…and the fan who never gave up

The year is 2010. A young 8th-grade boy gets out of school early due to Summer vacation starting, and he goes to his local comic book shop in Akron, Ohio. The last issue of Blackest Night was set to release and after actually keeping up with an event comic for the first time ever, young James was ready for the end. He handed the gentleman behind the counter a 5 dollar bill and picked up issue 8, not knowing what was inside. He leaned up against a long box of back issues and read the entire thing. And then it happened. The moment that made him break down crying in the middle of the store. The store owner came around the counter to see what had happened and as tears streamed on the two-page spread, where he was.

Arthur Curry had returned. Amidst the conflict unfolding with the Black Lanterns reanimating the corpses of fallen heroes and villains, Aquaman and several of DC’s greatest heroes had been revived by the power of the White Lantern power. And it was one of the happiest moments of my comic reading career. Because after being a young kid and seeing Aquaman on show’s like Superfriends, Smallville, and Justice League, I was so enthralled by Arthur Curry. A guy split between two different worlds who didn’t belong in either of them. Me, a biracial kid who felt he didn’t belong anywhere, found comfort in the stories of a man fighting so hard to unite his two worlds. Starting from the 2003 series around the same time I began my comic career in the pages of Teen Titans, I read everything I could in wikis and back issues about Aquaman, only to find out that he had died in the events of 52 where he was turned into a dark sea God…yea comics are weird folks. To then see him return and not only that but to then in the pages of Brightest Day, gaining a new Aqualad in the form of Jackson Hyde, who gave me an even more powerful vehicle to be closer to my hero. But I still love Garth too he’s awesome despite being voiced by Will Wheaton in Teen Titans

Growing up, I felt like an outcast by literally everyone. When I was living with my white mother, I was the black kid that everyone allowed to be around but would get picked out for being a nerd, when I was with my dad, I was the mixed baby who didn’t look like the rest of the family and sure didn’t act like it. I went to school and I was always seen as the weirdo. So I found safety in books like Teen Titans and X-men that I could be different and be accepted. I found Aquaman and it gave me my hero. Someone who understood my struggle. Understood that the world is so divided and no matter how much you fight for unity people will still fight against you. Then the one thing happened. The one thing that I always hear that even Zack Snyder had to bring up. “He talks to fish.” Que the greatest of eye rolls. So many times growing up that is all I heard. He talks to fish, he’s lame, he rides a seahorse, then there were the homosexual slurs directed towards him, it never stopped. The kids would always say “Batman is better.”…um about that…

Aquaman isn’t just some dude who talks to fish. Aquaman is the unifier of two worlds. Even when he isn’t King, he is the hero the planet needs him to be. Arthur Curry has saved so many lives both in the seas and on land. He’s made mistakes like any hero can, but then he rises up and fights back against those who endanger the weak. There’s this great moment in Dan Abnett’s 2017 Aquaman #25 where there’s there showing of racism even among the Atlanteans against these further mutated sea dwellers, Arthur who is supposed to be off the grid because the kingdom believes him to be dead, doesn’t hesitate and swims into the fray. That’s what makes him great. No matter what horrible situation he faces, he will always be there for both the land and the sea. He isn’t just a joke character. Some people have begun to see that finally.

When the New 52 began, Geoff Johns took it upon himself to make Arthur Curry the cool hero he already was but more prominent for the whole world to see. With storylines like Throne of Atlantis, Aquaman was shown to be this force of nature, this ultimate warrior and king who can protect his people on both land and sea. Now in 2018, DC has given him what he needs. His own movie.

 

The Halfbreed (Aquaman Movie Horribly Biased Review/Ramble)

I’m not gonna lie, I cried. As someone who has spent so many years defending this hero from all scrutiny thrown at him, seeing Arthur Curry rise and defeat not just his brother, but every dumb joke and every stupid insult, he put the ultimate shield up against it all literally and metaphorically. A man who doesn’t want anything to do with the home he never knew has to rise up and become a king when he’s needed most. the visuals, the writing, it’s everything I need in an Aquaman movie. There were a few reviewers who had the gal to say the movie has “too much water”…Really? Really? Like no really? The movie called Aquaman…has too much water? That’s a valid criticism when this movie goes above and beyond to give you the best experience possible? Hand in your badge critics, you’ve lost your touch.

Jason Mamoa, thank you. I’m not gonna lie when you were first cast…Jesus 5 years ago? I was terrified. I didn’t know if you could be my hero, but twice in both Justice League and Aquaman, you showed me. The ability to be a hero on land and able to even rival the league in strength, and then be the ultimate hero in your solo adventure. There was the moment when you go for Atlan’s trident, where you strike a chord in me that meant everything. When you are deemed unworthy because you are a halfbreed. That word…that word…something I’ve been called so many times over the years. It’s so hurtful yet it means we’re special. We are bridged between different worlds. And you prove yourself worthy to be that bridge. Thank you Mr. Mamoa. There’s probably a ghost of a chance you’ll ever read this but you mean so much to the kid who suffered so much for defending you when he began reading your stories. Thank you for being my hero. I hope I get to shake your hand one day and thank you in person.

Geeze how do I go from that emotional moment to finish the rest of this? Well, I can tell you this, Mamoa isn’t the only amazing actor in this movie. Amber Heard as beautiful and dangerous Mera was perfect casting, her strength and her wit are spot on with her comic counterpart and while she will one day be Arthur’s Queen, she is a force to be reckoned with. Dolph Lundgren as an impressive leader in King Nereus who admittedly is a difference in the comics due to him being Mera’s father rather than her betrothed, but still Lundren portrays this stoic leader who feels a war on the horizon and feels he has no choice but to do what he does and it’s surprisingly well done.

Then there’s Nite Owl- I mean Ocean Master. Patrick Wilson. I saw a joke once that he was a more spot on comic Aquaman than Mamoa but at the same time, Wilson radiates jealousy, and rage over the path that has befallen him, and much like newer interpretations of Orm, he is a victim of circumstance but also ruthless in his campaign which makes him so compelling. This cast of characters is so amazing and everything I needed for this movie to work. Willem Dafoe as the trusted advisor Vulko where similarly to Lundgren was surprisingly perfect for the role he played as the eternally loyal servant to the crown, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta…Oooh, I am so excited for what you’ll do in the future.

And that’s what’s crazy about this movie, it’s killing it overseas and I am so excited what it’ll do here. It’s this superhero movie no one but myself wanted, and yet so many people are loving. Hopefully similarly to Wonder Woman, we get the next chapter of King Arthur and Queen Mera with there being so many more stories you can tell. As a critic, this movie is a 9.5 out of 10. As a devoted fanboy of this character and this world, It’s a 10. Go see this movie. I beg you. It is a masterpiece by James Wan and this phenomenal cast and I hope and pray we get it again down the road. Thank you for bringing my hero to life in a film I never thought I’d see. It means everything to me. Now I’m gonna go listen to Rupert Gregson-Williams’s soundtrack for this movie on repeat for the next hundred years. Catch you folks next time.

 

 

Share to

James Portis

James Portis

Editor-In Chief
Co-Host of the comic book review live stream Panel To Panel, and founder of OCG. A longtime comic book, video game, and MTG nerd Favorite Superhero is Aquaman...Fight Me
James Portis

Latest posts by James Portis (see all)

Written by
Co-Host of the comic book review live stream Panel To Panel, and founder of OCG. A longtime comic book, video game, and MTG nerd Favorite Superhero is Aquaman...Fight Me

Have your say!

0 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>