Review: ‘Aquaman’ hands Jason Momoa a fitfully goofy adventure we’ve seen before

Moving from “Justice League” to his own solo movie, Aquaman is a big fish in a small pond where things go (mostly) swimmingly – though with various strokes that everybody has seen before.

Jason Momoa is still the best thing to happen to the comic book superhero who talks to fish, lending muscular machismo to the title hero of “Aquaman” (★★½ out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters nationwide Dec. 21) in an adventurous visual spectacle that travels from the depths of Atlantis to picturesque Sicily. The latest film in the DC cinematic universe leaves behind the mixed results of its connected predecessors to go its own way, yet director James Wan (“The Conjuring,” “Furious 7”) leans so heavily into “Game of Thrones” factionalism, “Indiana Jones” globetrotting, reluctant hero syndrome and especially Arthurian legend that it too often checks boxes rather than blowing them up for something new.

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The son of Atlantean queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and lighthouse keeper Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison), Momoa’s tattooed action figure Arthur Curry gets an origin story plus has to save the world without his superfriends this time around. He’s of both the underwater and surface worlds, though he doesn’t feel a part of either, but when his half-brother, Atlantean King Orm (Patrick Wilson), begins a war against landlubbers for years of pollution, Aquaman can’t avoid family drama any longer.

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