Aquaman makes a wave at the box office

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Aquaman makes a wave at the box office

Kristen Bolash, Entertainment Editor

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The Aquaman movie has been making a splash in the theaters domestically and internationally. It just hit $1 billion in sales and is only going to keep increasing in value. So what made the superhero everyone once mocked so great? Here is a spoiler free review.

Aquaman has been the fishboy center of jokes since he debuted in 1941. But despite popular belief, in the original Justice Society of America comics Aquaman was always portrayed as one of the strongest characters. It even showed through in the 2017 Justice League movie. Although the movie all together wasn’t a success, many reviews and critics claimed Aquaman was the highlight. He an Wonder Woman were arguably the strongest of the team in the film, alongside Superman who appears later in the film.

Jason Momoa has taken on a lesser known look of the character and persona average fans wouldn’t recognize. Aquaman, to most, has short blonde hair, a slim figure and silly smile. But in the 90s series Peter David gave Arthur Curry a harder look with tan skin, long blonde hair and a brooding attitude. Because of the popularity Jason Momoa has given the character, DC Comics has changed the art of Aquaman from the classic pale skin and short hair to the tan skin and long hair look again in the Rebirth comics. Momoa has often expressed his thankfulness to fans of all depths for accepting him as the character, knowing how different he looks for the role.

Though DC Comics Rebirth relaunch is taking on Momoa’s looks and attitude for Aquaman, it’s their New 52 relaunch from 2011 that inspired the movie. Throne of Atlantis is the exact comic arc and the movie portrays that comic panel by panel, except for the role of the Justice League. The story starts with Arthur finding out about his half-brother, Orm Marius, wanting global domination of Atlantis. He later on goes to Atlantis after a series of attacks on the surface world to face his brother for the throne. Mera is the classic partner of Aquaman, but in New 52 all previous history was erased for new readers to have a fresh start. Arthur meets Mera in the Throne of Atlantis series and has a partnership, personally and work related, after. The movie plot was no different that the comics. Comic fans can appreciate that but so can new fans. As a comic fan myself I can say while watching this movie I knew scenes I could go right to the comic and find the exact pages it was taken from.

The movie seamlessly introduces major characters such as Tom Curry and Queen Atlanna, Arthur’s parents. It goes through the entirety of their relationship and why Atlanna isn’t present in the first five minutes of the movie. Then it introduces Orm, Vulko, Black Manta, the kingdoms of the sea  and Mera fully and the reason why each character exists to Aquaman’s character. One of the downfalls of 2017’s Wonder Woman was the introduction of characters with no name or explanation, such as Antiope and other Amazon’s of the Themyscira. Wonder Woman. The other side of this is Justice League, which many say had too much exposition and not enough plot or action for each character. Aquaman serves as a happy balance between characterization, exposition and action. Each character has a moment to shine in the movie and everything new is explained in context. Black Manta is the other villain in the movie alongside Orm. He is an ongoing character in Aquaman comics and was the perfect main villain to introduce first.

Aquaman was also considered the most liked movie by female fans. Maybe it was because Jason Momoa was the star, but it might also be because of the strong role Mera plays. Amber Heard is constantly expressing how grateful she was that she had the chance to portray such a strong and individual female superhero. When addressed with the topic of the rise of Mera in the film and her popularity, Heart tweeted: “It’s almost as though they’re suggesting inclusion correlates to success?  Yes, surprisingly, as the number of female superheros rises, so does the fan base! Women make up nearly (if not) half the superhero fan base.” Mera is currently the leader of many polls of fans favorite character. Even with her film popularity, Mera’s 2017 comic mini-series, Queen of Atlantis, was one of DC Comic’s best sellers.

Sr. Megan O’Brien is also thankful for the characterization and power given to Mera — “It’s important for movies to show women heroes can do the same things men heroes can.”  Though critics are hard on DC’s movie’s, they are always sure to mention their presence of female characters is always there, from Wonder Woman, to Lois Lane and Mera. There is even production for the film of the all female superhero team Birds of Prey.

Villains with a motive is something all movie watchers appreciate. Black Manta and King Orm give you that! Without spoilers, this movie is clear as to what the motive of each character is. Orm’s motive isn’t even something we can argue again, it’s his actions. He is a flawed hero. Black Manta, though vengeful, is also a villain where we can see why he acts the way he does.

So what’s next for the Aquaman franchise and DC movies? It definitely sets the stage for a second movie or even a second Justice League movie. The sudden rise of the characters was unexpected and now fans should expect to see these characters again. This movie showed DC’s movies aren’t lesser than Marvel’s movies. There are many storylines DC can do with Aquaman, producer James Wan has even hinted at the smaller known plot with Mera’s sister, Hila, stealing her identity. Nonetheless, Aquaman surprised all viewers with its success and characterization. It sets the line higher for superhero movies with plot, comic accuracy and female leads.