Swimming with Aquaman
Superheroes are great examples of characterization for writers and readers. Because of their super powers, they easily captivate us whether we watch them on the silver screen or read about them.
I’m not a devote of DC or Marvel Comics, but I enjoy seeing their iconic characters brought to life in the movies, where their super powers, and the villains they battle, are made believable through the secrets of digital imagery.
Long gone are the bad special effects. I mean no disrespect to those who loved Superman IV (1987) or The Avengers (1998), both on Wikipedia’s worst movies of all times list, but at least by the year 2012, The Avengers remake ranked fifth in the top Superhero movies of all time by on line database IMDb.
With its realistic Atlantis and Superhero Aquaman, DC Comics achieves what many writers and readers want, suspending disbelief and providing a compelling story. Even though the reviews for the movie were mixed, I want to celebrate the evolution of a comic book character in its cartoon image, to the big screen as a human facsimile who does heroic things, with a human heart.
Yes, there are ‘bad guys,’ call them ‘stinky fish men’ that Aquaman has to thwart, analiate, destroy, pummel, before he can save the day. (Spoiler alert from here to the end). He must survive a trial of character and be found worthy to claim the trident, which he’ll need to win back Atlantis. Aquaman, known as Arthur, tells the trident guardian, “I am no leader. I came because I have no choice. I came to save my home, and the people that I love.” And in recognizing his vulnerability, he saves himself in a humanistic, not super power way.
For the romantics, there are two parallel story lines that please. The one that engages Aquaman is Meara, a warrior who’s groomed to become queen of Atlantis. Like many great romances, the two are indifferent towards each other at the beginning and as the story unfolds, we root for them to come together above all odds. (Love conquers all, even on the high seas.)
Yes, Aquaman is a cinematic feast for the eyes, with an exaggerated Superhero in the center of the seas, who we want to root for, just like any hero in any great story. Here’s my favorite dialog from the movie:
Arthur: “I’m not a king.”
Mera: “Atlantis has always had a king. Now it needs something more.”
Arthur: “What could be greater than a king?”
Atlanna: “A Hero.”
Avoiding seaworthy clichés, I would invite those who love the study of characterization to watch this hero’s journey, being born of two worlds, but destined to bridge them in peace. I hope the movie helps spark your imagination when you write or read about the hero in your next book.
Marisa Dillon is the author of two books in the “Ladies of Lore” series, with a third title releasing in 2019! Stay tuned through these social channels: