AQUAMAN

Cert 12A 143mins Stars 3

The sixth instalment of the DC Extended Universe swims into cinemas on a high tide of stunning CGI and waves of superhero comic book action.

Last seen in 2017’s Justice League fighting alongside Batman and Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is a half-human outcast heir to the throne of the sunken city of Atlantis.

Wet behind the ears when it comes to acting but competent at the action stuff Momoa seems happy enough just to be headlining his own film after the disappointment of his 2011 Conan the Barbarian remake.

Aquaman lifts it’s cod-mythology directly from Arthurian legend, and sends its reluctant hero on a quest to find a magical weapon only the true king can yield, in order to prevent his half-brother from uniting the underwater kingdoms and waging war on humanity’s landlubbers.

Willem Dafoe is unforgivably wasted in a tiddler of a role as a Merlin-type mentor, while Amber Heard’s princess has borrowed Scarlett Johansson’s fighting moves and exists to patiently explain the plot. 

Treading water as her father is Dolph Lundgren, and Nicole Kidman brings her customary elegant professionalism in a minor role which is one of several nods to the work of the foremost sci-fi writer, Jules Verne.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is also poorly served as a not-so-super villain called Black Manta, his ruthless high-seas mercenary is a great example of how the film spends an unnecessary amount of time looking ahead to the next adventure.

I’ve a chequered history with the films of director, James Wan. I loved Saw, hated The Conjuring, and was entertained by Fast and Furious 7.

He has the music swell majestically to sweep us out of our seats, but it can’t give buoyancy to the comedy which is most kindly described as broad, but is mostly flat.

Surviving on a drip feed of romance, the wishy washy characters are thankfully drowned in a tsunami of Avatar-quality visuals which sees giant armoured sea creatures battle in an epic finale.

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