In Praise of Aquaman

I just saw Aquaman and I loved it!  I like comic book movies, some more than others.  But I found Aquaman better than most of the other comic book movies.  It had a positive message; it wasn’t gratuitously dark; and it had layered plot tensions.  There were mother-son, father-son, brother-brother, master-pupil, international intrigue, and eco-justice themes all woven into a hero tale.

But was it Aquaman?  It is no coincidence that when Aquaman achieves the destined trident of power, all shout, “Hail King Arthur!”  The Aquaman movie was the Morte D’Arthur stories all woven around Aquaman.  There was Sir Gareth, or Beaumans–the naive, uncouth youth who gradually grows into one of King Arthur’s greatest knights.  There is the King Mark-Lady Isolde-Tristan love triangle.  There is Excalibur, which becomes the trident which only the true king can remove from its ancient pedestal.  There is the Mordred-Arthur conflict, only reversed as the bastard child becomes the true king.  With this difference: Aquaman has a good ending; it is not the tragedy that the Morte D’arthur is.

Aquaman affirms the best qualities of humanity: humility, parental love, selfless devotion to a great cause; peacemaking.  After so many movies plotted around revenge and personal resentments, it is refreshing to watch a movie plotted around noble virtues.  And Aquaman is a good story.  It is a long movie, but the 2 hour, 20 minutes of Aquaman held my attention.

DC Inc. came through in a big way with Aquaman.  I hope that the inspirational tone set by Aquaman is echoed in future films coming out of Hollywood.  Although critically acclaimed, No Country for Old Men was sad in every way.  I regretted the time I spent watching it.  By contrast, I was glad for every second of the 142 minutes of Aquaman, and the pleasant feelings I was left with afterward.

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