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Heartwarming / Aquaman (2018)

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"My father was a lighthouse keeper. My mother was a queen. But life has a way of bringing people together."

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  • Queen Atlanna was saved by Thomas Curry, and the two of them fell in love, sharing beautiful moments such as watching sunsets atop the lighthouse Thomas works in. Arthur was born of it.
    Arthur: She had fled an arranged marriage, left her whole world behind, but in my father's lighthouse, she had found something unexpected and my father... found the love of his life.
    • An easy-to-miss moment: you can see that Atlanna is mesmerized by snowflakes, playing with some atop the lighthouse before Thomas appears to wrap a blanket around her.
  • Thomas Curry's dog's reaction to the injured Atlanna throwing her trident at the TV is to run up to her and try to lick her better.
  • Building on her What the Hell, Hero? to Arthur from Justice League, Mera is truly The Heart to him. She's the strongest moral support he has when facing tremendous challenges upon his return to Atlantis.
    • Just check out the blissful way Arthur gazes at Mera in this shot. There's a very "you complete me" vibe.
    • She tells Arthur that his Half Breed status isn’t why he shouldn’t be king but that his coming from both land and sea is exactly why he should be.
    • Mera saving Thomas's life after he nearly dies from the tidal wave. Not only is this spontaneous kindness moving, but it averted the story from a Bittersweet Ending where Thomas died before Atlanna could return.
  • There are various scenes where Arthur and Thomas embrace or bond. While Arthur might have issues with his mother, he definitely has a good relationship with his father.
    • And in relation to that while Arthur believes Atlanna left him without any hesitation we are shown her hugging and giving her son one last kiss goodbye. It’s very clear that leaving her son was the hardest thing she had to do.
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    • Right before obtaining the Trident of Atlan, he finds his mother alive and well, having survived the Trench but unable to escape without being able to use the trident. In their reunion, it's clear Arthur understands that it wasn't his mother's fault, but Atlantis' traditions, that forced her away. Upon asking, he even tells her that Thomas continues to wait for her long after hearing about her supposed demise.
      Thomas Curry: Your mother always knew you were special.
  • There's a minor point early on while Orm and Nereus are speaking. Nereus makes it clear that he has no interest in helping Orm become Ocean Master on the grounds of attacking the surface when there has no direct attack, and they're in a position where their gathered armies can hear them. You expect them to come to blows. You expect a fight sequence. Then the sub comes in and fires on them. Now, Nereus is later indicated to have realized this was a False Flag Operation, possibly from the start. But there's no such indication that their armies knew anything of the sort. When they had a direct attack, everything got dropped and they fought off the attacker together.
  • In spite of her preconceived prejudices towards land-dwellers as stupid violent savages, Mera gradually becomes enthralled in wonder by the beauty and goodness of Sicily and its people, to the extent of befriending a little local girl by animating the waters of a fountain to dance in the shapes of dolphins. The glittering smiles from the child and Mera from seeing her happy laughter were adorable.
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    • There's something very sweet about the moment where Mera mistakenly believes that flowers are food and eats one. Arthur smiles and instead of telling her that flowers aren't food, eats one as well. It might be unconventional to us, but the two of them are clearly in their own little world where such things are normal.
  • Villainous example: David Kane's father praises him for what a great pirate he's become and gives him a knife that belonged to his grandfather. Then David begs Aquaman for help when his father is injured. Even Evil Has Loved Ones.
  • Vulko being an all around swell guy in general.
    • Vulko bonding with young Arthur, and Arthur clearly still seeing him as a friend years later despite Vulko lying to him about Atlanna's execution.
      • Never once does Arthur get mad about the lie. He merely accepts that it happened and moves on. No falling out, no bitter words.
    • Even Orm appreciated his counsel and loyalty enough to let him live after outing him as a traitor.
      • In addition to the above, when Orm is taken into prison, Volko says "but make sure he has a view" most cases, this would be a way of twisting in the knife of his defeat. Here, Volko is instructing the captors to make sure he is well-treated. Orm even acknowledges it with a smile.
  • Orm, despite hating Arthur because he believed Arthur was the reason Atlanna was executed, gave him a chance to walk away, saying he did not wish to kill his half brother if possible. Arthur, for his part, confessed he wanted to talk to Orm before all this happened so he could be a big brother and let him know he has a friend in him and admitted he would gladly leave and let Orm rule in peace were the stakes not that high.
  • Arthur confessing to Mera he did not feel worthy to be the king of Atlantis because he saw himself as a man who only knows how to solve things using brute strength. Mera then told him the entire reason she tried so hard to get him to return to Atlantis in the first place was because she saw the qualities of a great king that Arthur had yet to see in himself.
    • And she was right. Arthur defeated the Karathen not with force, but by talking to it. The trident gave him the ability to commune with every animal in the ocean, including the Trench and he united them against a regime that had oppressed them all. When Arthur defeats Orm, he refrains from killing him and instead lets Orm see their mother alive and well, with the implication being that Orm will eventually come around to Arthur's side.
  • Arthur's conversation with the Karathen. He convinced the guardian monster to let him try to get the trident by telling it that he was not interested in the power of the trident or the title of king. His reason for going on this quest was simply to protect the people he loved.
    • The fact that they were talking was itself a heartwarming moment given that the only one to do that prior to Arthur was the ancient king of Atlantis, Atlan, who assigned it this duty in the first place. The monster itself even seems touched by the fact that after thousands of years there is a being that can actually understand what it’s saying, seemingly being a bit lonely the whole time.
      • When Arthur throws back her comments about him she pauses and said in a startled voice "You understand me?". You can tell that she is utterly rattled that someone would actually see her as more than a monster.
    • Her claims that Atlan was the last person to actually talk to her brings a whole new layer to Atlantean mythology's claims that Atlan feared her. Either Atlan and she had been friends all along or near the end of his life they bonded for the first and last time. Regardless, Atlan died as her ally and she returned the favor by loyally protecting his corpse and his trident.
    • Fridge Heartwarming, but she mentions that no one was able to take the trident from Atlan. In other words, no matter who had fought her and maybe injured her, she held back and allowed them to reach the trident to see whether they were worthy or not, before eating them.
    • At the end of the film, she lets out a roar of triumph at Arthur's victory. Not just triumph, but joy too; after aeons of time she has someone she can talk with again.
  • Thomas waiting for years for Atlanna to return, keeping his promise to wait every morning by the docks outside the lighthouse until she came back. This is even more heartwarming as he continues long after learning of Atlanna being sacrificed to the Trench and effectively executed. It pays off at the end, she keeps *her* promise and appears at the docks at dawn, finally reuniting the now-freed Star-Crossed Lovers.
    • There was the scene near the beginning where Thomas was standing by the docks at sunrise but sadly begins walking away. Only for Arthur to arrive. Atlanna may not have been there to greet him but Arthur makes sure to. Father and son then happily embrace and share a Headbutt of Love.
  • The very fact that at the end, almost everybody gets to live and earns their happy endings. Thomas gets to reunite with Atlanna at long last. Arthur becomes the rightful king of Atlantis with Mera at his side and continues working on uniting both the world above and below the sea. Vulko avoids falling victim to Mentor Occupational Hazard and lives to see Arthur became the king. Even the Big Bad King Orm doesn't fall victim to Superhero Movie Villains Die and drops his hostility upon seeing his mother again, and Arthur said that he will talk things through with Orm later, implying that he might not be beyond redemption after all.
  • It's a familiar scene: hero is in a bar, just wanting to have a drink, when a bunch of massive bikers walk up and want to have a word. Big epic fight, right? Nope. The bikers want to take a picture with Arthur, gushing about how cool he is, and while he seems slightly annoyed at first within a few seconds Arthur and the bikers end up getting along great and spend the entire night drinking with Arthur's dad with Arthur grinning the entire time.
  • Upon seeing his mother is still alive, Orm is guilt stricken and horrified for the atrocities he had done when he thought his mother was dead. After hugging his mother, he allows himself to be arrested for his crimes.
    • Before he leaves, Arthur tells Orm that once he's ready, they will have that brotherly conversation Arthur spoke about before. Orm appreciates the offer, smiling at his brother one last time before he enters the water. This shows that he's willing to bury the hatchet with Arthur and genuinely bond with him as brothers.
  • One very simple thing that makes this film stand out is that for all the action setpieces, every single thing of relevance that happens in this film happens because someone talks to someone else, and the person that is talked to listens.

Meta

  • Jason Momoa said he hasn't seen the finished movie until the premiere. The reason? He wanted to discover it at the same time as his children.
  • Momoa had these words about the film's success:
    "BILLION DOLLAR UNDERDOG. From Baywatch to making what once was the most disrespected superhero into a billion dollar movie. No one gets to the top without the people that love them. My success is from my fans. All my aloha to everyone that had a hand in making this movie. Mahalo Zack and mahalo James for creating this beautiful world."
  • The fact that the cast and crew still show a great deal of respect for Zack Snyder. Momoa has publicly and repeatedly thanked him for being cast, whilst James Wan has been expressive about how encouraging Snyder was to his work. Wan reportedly even went so far as to show off his work on the film to Snyder against the studio's wishes for his blessing, as well as maintaining that the finished film follows Snyder's directorial work on Justice League and not the (infamously reshot/modified) theatrically released version.

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