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"And what could be greater than a king? A hero."

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  • Young Arthur finding out he can communicate with and command sea creatures while on a school visit at an aquarium. The bullies who picked on him and his other classmates can only watch in awe and terror.
  • Aquaman making a badass entrance inside a submarine that has been hijacked by Ruthless Modern Pirates, complete with Three-Point Landing and nonchalantly asking the pirates a "permission to come aboard" before kicking their asses.
  • Atlantis is simply gorgeous. It's beautifully luminescent, much like Pandora, only it's underwater.
  • Aquaman is strong enough to lift a submarine out of the water, with some help from his fast swimming powers.
  • Arthur/Aquaman challenging Orm in a duel for the throne. Arthur is well determined to provide much "ass-whooping".
    • During the duel, Orm dodges Arthur's quindent Neo-style.
  • Black Manta unleashing his suit's beams on Arthur, blasting a building's bell tower doing so.
    • Black Manta's suit is updated in design - while it still retains its manta-shaped helmet, it looks more ruthless and armored, as befits a sea pirate. And it has a Jet Pack.
  • Mera shows off unexpected parkour skills on a battle on the rooftops of a Mediterranean town, being nimble enough to dodge plasma blasts. It's unexpected given how Mera as an Atlantean would be more suited for water, but shows off how badass she is that she can handle herself as well on dry land.
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    • The whole fight/chase scene - with Manta fighting Aquaman down one set of rooftops while Mera escapes the Atlantean guards down another set of rooftops - is shot as a Oner and it’s pretty damn badass
  • Aquaman wearing his comics-accurate suit and wielding the Trident. It looks simply awesome.
    "Momoa steps through the waterfall and he's wearing the iconic orange and green. This scene is the death of all those jokes about the Superfriends-era Aquaman. This guy isn't useless. This guy is stone-cold badass who will break you if you give him a reason." — Alexi Vandenberg, reviewing the movie for The Supervillain Network
  • Atlanna telling Arthur just why he is the one who should truly rule Atlantis.
    Atlanna: A king fights only for his nation. You fight for everyone.

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Film

  • First of all, Arthur is named after a certain legendary king and a category 5 hurricane.
  • The Oner of Atlanna fighting off the Atlantean commandos that invade her and Thomas’s home. Action Mom at its finest.
    • Special mention to when she smacks a couch like a baseball at the attackers, using her quindent as the bat, and then taking out the last one by throwing her quindent hard enough to impale him and leaving him Pinned to the Wall.
  • Arthur foiling the hijacking of a submarine. The scenes in the trailer are just the tip of the iceberg. He effortlessly takes down the hijackers and brushes off getting hit with a grenade launcher.
    • He even tears off a metal hatch and uses it as an improvised shield to deflect bullets before throwing it at them Captain America-style, and shrugs off a gunshot to the face
    • Arthur pulls off a Nonchalant Dodge on a mook who tries to sucker punch him In the Back , before lifting him piggyback style and knocking him out
    • He then takes out another mook who was hiding behind a door by slamming a door into him, without looking.
    • Arthur ends his Curb-Stomp Battle against David Kane by using a torpedo as a bludgeon followed by a Ceiling Smash.
      • After shrugging off Jesse Kane's first grenade round, Arthur rips off a metal pipe from the wall, and throws it as an improvised spear, impaling the criminal and pinning him to the wall behind him, before sparring him.
      • When Jesse fires another grenade at him after being spared, Arthur dodges it, and it results in Jesse being trapped underneath a torpedo. When David asks Arthur for help in saving him, Arthur just blows him off. While this might have bit him back later, it's awesome that Arthur knows that some people do not deserve mercy when they respond to mercy with grenades.
      • Props must be given to David and Jesse for lasting as long as they did.
      • And finally, when David refuses to leave Jesse behind despite the danger of drowning, Jesse activates the timer on a bomb he has with his, forcing David to leave. Papa Wolf at finest.
  • Mera in general is pretty awesome, being a water manipulator, martial artist, Ace Pilot rolled into one, and very smart to boot.
  • Atlantis before it sank, several centuries ago, was just as gorgeous as currently. And its destruction has some neat Scenery Gorn.
  • It may been a False Flag Operation, but it was still impressive with how effortlessly Orm dispatched the submarine that he had David Kane steal for him.
    • Likewise, when Orm is charging towards the sub, one of the torpedoes is fired directly at him, and Nereus displays some incredible marksmanship, by shooting the torpedo before it can hit him. And Orm shrugs off the torpedo exploding point blank in his face.
      • While lessened by the fact that Nereus wanted to attack the surface world as well as Orm, he nonetheless knew from the get go that it was False Flag Operation.
  • Mera kills two Atlantean commandos by manipulating red wine and impaling them with it.
  • David Kane proving to be intelligent enough to reverse engineer Atlantean technology and adapt it into an armor.
    • His father Jesse Kane's shows another type of smarts. While his son attacks Aquaman in close quarter combat and got owned, he just broke out an grenade launcher.
  • Arthur's flashbacks of his training with Vulko.
  • A good bit for Murk, one the Elite Mooks chasing Mera. In a fight, Mera slices off Murk's left hand. The guy manages to close the wound and, ignoring the pain, goes right on chasing Mera. He even smashes through various walls and roofs to go after her, ignoring the obvious agony of being without a hand. He even manages to shoot out the ground from underneath Mera via thermal scanners.
    • If the viewers were observing closely, they would notice that it was Murk who earlier in the movie captured Arthur when he was discovered in Atlantis. The way he did it also needs special mention. Neither the ordinary white suited mooks nor the red suited Elite Mooks were a match for Arthur neither in physicals for skills. Then Murk comes in, single-handedly gets the better of Arthur in a fistfight via superior skill, before knocking him out via two punches, courtesy of his suit's Enhanced Punch ability.
  • In a moment of Hidden Depths, Arthur uses his knowledge of Ancient Rome's history to figure out which King was indicated in Atlan's puzzle leading to his trident
    Arthur Not bad for an imbecile huh?
    Mera Not bad at all.
  • Black Manta's upgraded armor and tech allow him to go toe to toe with Arthur, easily becoming his equal in battle. While Arthur does win the fight, Manta manages to impart some severe damage upon him, coming close to killing him.
    • It should be noted Manta is the only character in the DCEU thus far to draw blood from Aquaman. Let's take a moment to really look at how he does it. First, Black Manta uses his new Atlantean blades to stab Aquaman by the shoulder and slash him in the side and up the back. Black Manta then later stabs Aquaman near the shoulder again with his grandfather's knife, which isn't Atlantean steel. Meaning that amidst a struggle, Black Manta was able to stab Aquaman in the same exact opening he had created earlier. That is a frightening level of awesome.
    • Just the fact that a man who was only a few days before completely outclassed by Aquaman can now give him a serious fight is sure to make an impression on anyone who never heard of him before this movie.
    Call me Black Manta.
    • Arthur defeats Black Manta by throwing two spherical concrete stumps and the chain barrier connecting them at him like freaking bolas. Those entangle around Manta's neck and helmet as he's about to shoot and the plasma beam backfires in his face.
  • Arthur body-slams a bell before it crushes a little girl.
  • The Reveal that Queen Atlanna survived the Trench creatures. We don't see how exactly she did it, but given that Arthur and Mera had a hard time against the creatures, the fact that Atlanna is alive and in one piece is an indicator (plus The Oner mentioned above) of from whom Arthur inherited his badassery. She also managed to fashion camouflage from her tattered attire and what seems to be Trench fins/body parts, so she could blend among them. She even managed to track/rescue both Arthur and Mera when they in turn got overwhelmed by the Trench.
  • In another sign of Hidden Depths, despite being completely ambushed by the Trench, Arthur quickly figures out a way to hold them off with flares, recognizing their Logical Weakness and leading Mera to some measure of safety.
    • Right when it seems like Mera is about to be attacked by a Tylosaurus, she's rescued by none other than the exiled queen herself.
  • Arthur getting the Karathen to back down by talking to it and convincing it to let him try to take the trident. The trident taking scene itself is suitably epic, ending with that sweet shot of Arthur emerging from the waterfall wielding the trident and wearing his classic comics suit; it’s the moment he well and truly becomes Aquaman.
    • The fact that Aquaman's most historically maligned power, the ability to speak with and command sea life, is what ultimately proves him worthy of the trident and the true King of Atlantis.
  • The gigantic underwater battle between Orm's coalition (Atlanteans, Xebellians and Fishermen) and the crustacean Brine, who are very determined not to become his pawns. Orm leads a charge of Atlanteans who ride sharks while himself is riding a Tylosaurus into battle. The Brine forces include giant crabs while Orm's coalition has giant submarines in all shapes and forms.
    • The Brine King gives his troops an awesome speech when leading the charge.
      Brine King: We will not bow to Atlantis, We're gonna give them a fight that they'll never forget!
      • The Brine King proves to be the most stalwart of the remaining rulers. His refusal to let Ocean Master take control sees him pitted against three armies at once and he loses a limb moments into the battle, yet he never wavers. This is made even more impressive by the fact he had just received a Curb-Stomp Battle from Orm and was only spared due to Neerus:
        Brine King: Take my armies, you soft-bellied slug, but 'you will never have my allegiance!'
    • The Karathen arrives into battle by breaking through the earth and lava underneath the battleground of Orm's invasion. Then comes The Reveal that Arthur is standing on top of its head, directing its actions. Then Arthur, who at this point pretty much only has Mera for backup, unleashes his true power by commanding every marine creature in the area to fight as his army, including The Trench, which visibly shocks the kings fighting for Orm. Even the Atlantean-ridden sharks suddenly switch sides and start attacking their riders.
      • Vulko's reaction to all of this is a mixture of astonishment and pride:
      Vulko: The King is risen.
    • The Atlanteans at one point fire a Wave Motion Gun at the Karathen, and in true Kaiju fashion, she shrugs it off.
    • Orm's Tylosaurus not being under Arthur's control can be seen as a CMOA via Fridge Logic. Either Orm's chosen mount is immune to such manipulations, or it's willpower and loyalty towards Orm is that strong.
  • Arthur defeating Orm by forcing him to fight out of the ocean and breaking his trident. Not only that, he defeated Orm by using the trident water manipulation technique Vulko taught him. This is badass on another level in that Orm, having never ventured onto land, possibly did not even know this could be done.
    • Oh and taking the fight to outside the water was Mera's idea.
    • Also noteworthy is that Arthur's entry, powers, and presence made such an impact that everyone down below stopped fighting and went topside to watch their duel. The conclusion, with everyone cheering Arthur as their new king, is the closest thing this movie has to an Awesome Moment of Crowning.
    • Aquaman didn't just get Vulko's move right, he mastered it, moving around while keeping up the momentum whereas Vulko only taught him how to manipulate water while standing in one place.
  • Arthur’s Bring It to Orm before they fight
    Arthur: Then by blood shed... do the Gods make known their will!
  • While may have not done it with altruistic intentions, Orm causing tidal wave which wash up, along with submarines and destroyers, 'several thousand tons of waste' humanity has dumped into the sea. Talk about Villain Has a Point.

Meta

  • Aquaman is the second DCEU film after Wonder Woman to enjoy a globally positive reception from both critics and audiences, meaning that film universe definitely has potency and is here to stay despite its rocky beginnings.
  • The movie - proving to be a massive worldwide hit - breaks free of the long-held view of Aquaman as an unimportant or joke superhero in the DC pantheon (mostly for the people who don't read comics, actually). He's no longer just "the guy who talks to fishes", he's the freaking King of Atlantis! And the king of December 2018/January 2019's box office too, stomping both of his competitors, Bumblebee and Mary Poppins Returns, in spectacular fashion. Some box office feats:
    • James Wan is now the second director after James Cameron with two completely unrelated films on his belt that reached the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office (the first was Furious 7).
    • The film overtook Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at the worldwide box office, making it the highest grossing of the DCEU.
    • It surpassed The Dark Knight Rises as the highest grossing (unadjusted) DC Comics-based film.
    • It is now the third (or fourth, depending on how one considers Captain America: Civil War a solo or ensemble movie) grossing solo superhero movie worldwide.
    • The film scored a huge opening of $93.6 million in China (well over the originally estimated $60m), the biggest debut for a Warner Bros. release ever there. For comparison, the totals of Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman and Black Panther in the Middle Kingdom were $95 million, $90.5 million and $105 million respectively. After four days, it was already the highest grossing DC Comics-based film in the country. It was also not just financially successful, audiences there were loving it. It got a 9.5 rating on the biggest ticket buying app (Maoyan) and an 8.2 on their version of IMDB (Douban) which are significantly higher than ratings for others 2018 superhero movies that have made incredible money in China like Venom and Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Of all people, Julie Andrews has a role in the film: Karathen. A gigantic Sea Monster that is in practice The Juggernaut, and the biggest one to appear in the DCEU yet.
    • Producer Peter Safran specified he wanted a "legendary English actress" for the role. Andrews' agent was approached, and she accepted immediately. Awesome, Dear Boy?
    • Even better? She turned down a Remake Cameo in Mary Poppins Returns to do this.
  • The fact that James Wan was willing to acknowledge and embrace some of the sillier aspects of Aquaman's long history such as adding Topo and still make it work!
  • In the end, the power that makes Aquaman save the day isn't his super strength. It isn't his speed. It isn't even his skill with the trident. It's the ability to talk to fish, the most mocked aspect of his character.
  • The creators not only managed to bring Black Manta's iconic helmet to the movie and make it look as cool as in the comics, but they also gave it an origin, showing it being created on-screen.
  • Despite drawing heavily on the Throne of Atlantis storyline, the script's clearly written with comics fans in mind. To that end, no fewer than five potential threats could have been the big bad: Orm, Nereus, Manta, Vulko, or the Trench. While the Trench quickly show themselves not to be up to this status in the film, and Manta's storyline is largely separate, the writers did a damned good job of playing Orm, Nereus, and Vulko as possible villains — all so the comics fans wouldn't guess.
  • Aquaman's garish costume rendered badass in The Reveal.

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