Aquaman Parent Guide
This soggy superhero movie has a derivative plot, uninspired special effects, and laughable production design.
Parent Movie Review
In Aquaman, Jason Momoa stars as Arthur Curry, the lovechild of a lighthouse keeper (Temuera Morrison) and the runaway Queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman). Unfortunately, the King of Atlantis is jealous and sends soldiers to retrieve the Queen. To protect her family, she returns home where the king has her executed for disloyalty. As Arthur grows up, he is trained by Vulko (Willem Dafoe), who comes from Atlantis to ensure that one day Arthur will be able to take the throne and protect the underwater kingdom. Arthur’s half-brother Prince Orm (Patrick Wilson) has other plans, and it is up to Arthur and his friend Mera (Amber Heard) to stop him from waging war on the surface world.
This film is essentially DC’s take on Black Panther with a Little Mermaid filter, bloated to fill nearly two and a half hours. Audiences could hope that a film with a budget of 200 million dollars would at least have interesting special effects or costume design, but it doesn’t. The special effects aren’t bad per se, just uninspired and chaotic. The production design is downright laughable, although I’m sure that starting from this kind of source material left the production team with little to work with outside of fins and scales. One of the primary villains, known as Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) has a suit of armor so silly that I nearly snorted root beer through my nose. That’s not a good sign.
Despite its many flaws, Aquaman is fortunately not too problematic in terms of negative content. Apart from standard superhero violence and one scene of drunkenness, the movie manages to avoid excessive profanity and sexual content. That being said, a lack of objectionable content does not indicate the presence of good film-making. Children and younger teens will by turned off by the slow pacing and overstretched run time. Older teens will find the goofy aesthetic and shoehorned romance uninteresting. Adults will be bored nearly to death by painful dialogue and awkward exposition. Really, this isn’t a winner for anyone.
Since this is another big superhero release, moviegoers probably know what to expect from Aquaman but are unlikely to have expectations that are low enough for the painful reality of this film. I can assure you that there are far better options within this genre. From a plot that is essentially one tedious fetch-quest after another, to the painfully awkward dialogue, and the bizarre production design, this movie isn’t going to net any new fans to the superhero universe. Aquaman stinks worse than anything that could come from the dead fish on the screen.Directed by James Wan. Starring Jason Momoa, Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Running time: 143 minutes. Theatrical release December 21, 2018. Updated December 21, 2018
Watch the trailer for Aquaman
Rating & Content Info
Why is Aquaman rated PG-13? Aquaman is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Violence: A woman is shown with a bleeding wound in her side. People are frequently shot, stabbed, slashed, and impaled. There are frequent fistfights and fights with tridents. An individual’s hand is cut off, but no blood or gore is shown. Characters are harmed by power bolts. A creature is set on fire with a flare. Many frightening sea creatures are seen. A house is blown up while people are in it. A major explosion causes major damage and people are shown flying through the air. Another town is shown burning.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss and later are seen in bed together; no sexual activity is shown. Men and women wear skintight clothing. Jason Momoa is shirtless for most of the film.
Profanity: Approximately 20 uses of profanity, including several uses of language in the “Moderate” category. Frequent use of terms of deity and mild language.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Two main characters are shown drinking early in the morning. One is later shown severely intoxicated.
Page last updated December 21, 2018
Aquaman Parents' Guide
Arthur spends a lot of time uncertain about his identity. Have you ever felt like that? What helped you in dealing with these questions?
Prince Orm sees violence as a valid solution to a pressing issue. How else could he have resolved it? Are there circumstances in which violence is an acceptable or essential response?
Read books about Aquaman
Viewers fascinated by the CGI and design work required to create a convincing underwater world will enjoy Mike Avila’s The Art and Making of Aquaman.
One of the first classic underwater novels was Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This novel can be enjoyed by readers in junior high and on up. Fans of the classics can also head to their local libraries for a copy of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick for a gripping ocean adventure.
Franz Schatzing’s The Swarm: A Novel tells a gripping story of the oceans turning on mankind. This hefty disaster novel (over 900 pages) is suitable for older readers. A more teen-friendly novels is The Kraken Wakes. Written by John Wyndham this novel tells the tale of an alien invasion coming from the sea.
Related home video titles:
If you’re hungry for plots about royalty, worthiness, hidden kingdoms, and superpowers and insist on DC franchises, Wonder Woman is a much better choice.
Moana tells the story of a brave young woman who embarks on a dangerous quest to save her people from a dark curse spreading across the Pacific islands. This film is also suitable for all ages.
A classic ocean adventure tale is retold in Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.