Born of a human father (Temeura Morrison) and an Atlantean queen (Nicole Kidman), Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) must travel across the globe in order to reclaim a mystical trident and defeat his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), with the help of Mera (Amber Heard) and his tutor, Vulko (Willem Dafoe).
In 'Aquaman', subtlety isn't just missing. It's buried a thousand leagues under the sea, protected by sharks with lasers attached to their heads and a giant octopus creature voiced by Julie Andrews. There's also an octopus who plays drums in there as well. All of what's just been described is featured in 'Aquaman'. Even the Julie Andrews bit.
That level of extravagance and craziness ultimately asks you to either get on board with or simply just ignore it as white noise and a mess of CGI. There really is no in-between when it comes to something like this, and maybe that's OK. The recurring complaint from most comic-book movies nowadays is that one blushes into the next, and that they're more or less indistinct from one another. 'Aquaman' really doesn't have the problem, though the beats of the story and the script itself are as formulaic as can be.
What sets 'Aquaman' apart from the rest of the pack isn't its game cast that includes strong character actors like Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson and a relatively muted turn by Dolph Lundgren of all people, it's the visuals. James Wan's command of colour and camera really does widen your eyes as you take it all in, bringing the oceans to life not unlike David Attenborough's 'Blue Planet' - except, of course, this particular body of water has giant sharks, sea-monsters, and a giant octopus creature voiced by Julie Andrews. Again, not joking on the last one.
Jason Momoa and Amber Heard's chemistry together is a damp squib, although the playful nature of the whole movie keeps the thing going from scene to scene without too much fuss. The ever-reliable Patrick Wilson does what he can with his monologue-heavy villain, and follows in the curious trend of super-villains of late to have them appear if not believable, certainly understandable in their goals. 'Black Panther' did it best with Michael B. Jordan, but here it's only touched upon in one scene and never quite sticks. Meanwhile, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's character Black Manta is all but of an after-thought in the story and has his moment in an extended sequence set in Sicily that opens with - again, not joking - Roy Orbison's 'She's A Mystery To Me' and Amber Heard's character mistakenly eating a rose.
At just under two and a half hours, 'Aquaman' definitely runs itself to exhaustion by the end and you get the feeling that just about every idea was rammed into that running time. While it does feel splashy and overstuffed, it's never not entertaining or enjoyable.