Aquaman is doing wonders for DC Films at the Box Office. It started off with a certified fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, but critical acclaim fell as more reviews kept coming in. That is because the mistakes of the film were overshadowed by the grandeur and awesome visual effects that the film portrayed, along with the rise of a new hero. It is no spoiler that Aquaman becomes the one true King of Atlantis by the end of the film. So, we have an explanation as to why this new King of the Oceans may not be all good!
Sure there was a lot to like about Aquaman, the stunning visual effects, the bad-ass action sequence, the different colour pallets throughout, and the feeling of the rise of heroic ending. But all things considered, it is safe to say that Aquaman is a rather great dumb movie. The dialogue at some places (Black Manta V Aquaman) is extremely video-game-ish.
James Wan worked the film to please a larger audience base with a not so complicated plot rather than having a complex plot for a specific audience. But being all light and humorous mostly, the dark aspects of Aquaman as a character certainly get ignored.
Redditor Symiir has given his justification upon why Aquaman at the end of the film was not cheered with joy. It was all rather because of the fear of a Tyrant. Here’s his breakdown for why Arthur is a King that frightens everyone:
“Arthur makes a beeline to his brother to try to stop him from waging war on the surface world. Seems reasonable. Unfortunately, he does this by unleashing a giant cthulu-kaiju-monster… thing smack dab in the middle of a battlefield. The movie literally spends like 30 seconds showing how this sea monster erupts from the underwater lava field (don’t worry about it) and kills countless numbers of combatants. It’s not even like he dropped the sea monster just on Orm and his army. No, the poor crab people (who remind me of dwarves for some reason) get demolished just the same.”
So the matter that is being addressed here is the insane collateral damage that Arthur is willing to make to get things in order. This is the same thing that has been a matter of debate for years after Man of Steel came out. At the end of the film, we saw Metropolis in ruins, thousands of people having lost their lives while Superman tries to protect the entire world.
Because this was portrayed in a dark gritty Snyder-way, people went crazy about it, but as the Redditor points, the same thing happens under water, and needless lives are lost because of it. Again, a director has traded collateral damage with “visually stunning shots.” The breakdown continues:
“So here’s Aquaman, riding in on a sea monster that is practically a mythical beast to the Atlantians, and he’s basically killing everyone. And this is a good guy’s entrance? If I was anyone on that battlefield, I’d be shitting myself. At that moment, Aquaman isn’t anyone’s hero; he’s just a terror. And he’s riding every Atlantian’s childhood nightmare into battle.
And really, from here on out, Aquaman’s entire modus operandi revolves around fear. He’s playing on the nightmares of Atlantians to convince them that his way is the only path forward.”
This here starts the God-complex that was touched greatly by Batman V Superman. Lex Luthor’s philosophy of a God could easily be seen being applied here. If Arthur is all powerful, then he cannot be all good. With the Trident comes a massive responsibility, and the first act that Aquaman carries through with the Trident is letting immense harm to be caused to the marine life. And that he does with the help of the Trench. The redditor continues:
“Don’t believe me? Who does Aquaman bring as backup to this fight? The Trench. The boogeymen of the sea. These creatures are well established as corrupt, demonic, and everyone avoids them unless they’re using them as a punishment. And Aquaman rides into battle leading them to the Atlantians. The Atlantians rediscover exactly how terrible it is to fight the trench. They tear into the Atlantians in gruesome fashion. The few surviving Atlantians from this battle would probably have PTSD for the rest of their days.”
It is good that the Redditor has gone into these explicit details which most of us chose to ignore while watching the film. Sure the Trench is under the control of Aquaman, but he is using them to his advantage, which is ultimately costing a lot of lives. Not just the Trench, but the Trident game him the ability to command all life forms under water. That is too much power for anyone to have at their disposal. The breakdown continues:
“Yet through all this, some Atlantians are still trying to fight valiantly. Battling the trench with everything they’ve got. But Aquaman plays one final, cruel trick on them. He turns their mounts against them. Warping the minds of all sea creatures across the entire battlefield to turn on their masters. Turn on the people who, despite their poor choice of methods, are truly trying to save the sea from the surface people who have poisoned and killed them for generations. Fighting nightmarish creatures wasn’t enough. Aquaman needed to crush all hope that the Atlantians could have to make sure they would submit.”
The Redditor then points out why Orm was a relatable villain after all, and we all can agree to that. He stood for what he believed, and his experiences from his childhood drove his character motivations. Sure, using the Submarine to get King Nereus to back him, killing the king of the Fish People and waging a war against the Brine was everything that a villain would do, but still, he stood for his beliefs right till the end. The Redditor says:
“Finally, only one stood in his way. King Orm. Ocean master (good god, they really kept saying that with a straight face). He would not yield. Not in battle. Not while facing death after losing to Aquaman. At this point, the Atlantians were broken. Aquaman had won. But if Aquaman simply killed Orm, he could become a martyr. An icon that could be held up by Atlantians in secret to breed resistance and spark a rebellion. Lucky for Aquaman, fate gave him the perfect way to break Orm.
At just the right moment, Aquaman revealed his trump card. Their mother. Obviously mad from decades of isolation and sadness. She doesn’t care what’s happening, just that she has her sons again.
Orm knows he shouldn’t let her affect him; shouldn’t let such a simple gambit work. But he can’t deny the mother that he’s been aching for, for so long. And he can’t deny the threat. Aquaman brought Orm’s mother back. And thus, Aquaman could take her away again. Permanently. And so, Orm is left with no choice but to give in. Trapped by the love for his lost mother.”
After Aquaman defeats Orm successfully, he officially becomes the One True King of the Seven Seas. He can command the ocean and all of the Marine life at his will. With the Trident in his possession, he has already given everyone a glimpse of what he can really do, if opposed by anyone. So considering this, the Redditor suggests that the Atlantians had no other choice but to rather follow the new King imposed upon them by the ancient laws of Atlantis. They had to accept the new king, who hasn’t spent even a day in Atlantis just because of the havoc he could bring upon them:
“At the end of the battle on the sub, Aquaman raises his trident to the Atlantians. Reminding them of the power he wields. And he gives them an unspoken ultimatum. Submit, or perish.
People cheer for him because they have no choice. He holds them all hostage with that trident. They’ll always know what Aquaman can do to them. The sea monster still lives. The trench will still obey him. Their mounts and sea creatures could turn on them. The one person who could challenge Aquaman is now broken and terrified of losing his mother again. Atlantians are trapped. Trapped beneath the iron first of the merciless tyrant. Aquaman.”
While this does pose a good matter to be addressed in Aquaman 2, the Redditor could actually be partially right here. But he is certainly half wrong. Sure, Aquaman could wreak havoc upon the entire planet if he ends up going Rogue, but at least half the people of Atlantis would actually believe in their new King who is being backed by Queen Atlanna.
He is a half-breed who has no experience of ruling a Kingdom whatsoever. But under the reign of all previous Kings, the Atlantians have only seen wars. After they would have made the Brine Submit, they would have had to fight the land dwellers. But what Aquaman poses here is a beacon of hope and peace.
He is the son of Land and Sea. He is the one that offers the opportunity to unite the two worlds which have always been separated. So, what the Redditor proposes here is only half correct. Arthur has the opportunity to prove that he is not One True King because he owns the Trident, but it is because who he is as a person.
Aquaman 2 has to answer why Arthur Curry is worthy of having this Global Underwater responsibility. Given how Aquaman is doing worldwide, a sequel will be put under works sooner rather than later.