Spoiler warning: Big time spoilers for Aquaman and some of the biggest moments of the movie. Come back after you've seen the film!
The number one word being associated with Aquaman right now is fun. The movie is hardly perfect, but it knows that and just tries to have a good time. You don't include a cover of "Africa" by Pitbull if you aren't going for a very distinct tone. However, the film also possesses some of the craziest, over-the-top action that I've seen from a superhero movie in a while.
The last 30 minutes of Aquaman kick serious ass. Everything before that is pretty bogged down by exposition and cliches, but it's peppered with some pretty fun and exciting action. Even though director James Wan is predominantly known for horror, he has a real specific gift with comic book action. It's grandiose, epic, and makes no apologies. It's as balls-to-the-wall as the DCEU gets, so without further ado, here are the seven best action moments in Aquaman, ranked in no particular order.
It seems appropriate to start things off with the first action scene of the movie. The runaway Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) has settled down with a surface-dwelling lighthouse keeper and started a family, but Atlantis won't let her off the hook. After finally tracking her down, Atlantean soldiers blast their way into the house and Atlanna fights them off with nothing but a trident. It sets the tone for the rest of the action and features slick, highly choreographed motions. Atlanna kicks real serious butt, and it's a solid way to start things off.
At this point in the film, we've already seen Aquaman (Jason Momoa) take out a whole submarine of pirates, but those guys were just regular humans. Down in Atlantis, Arthur finds himself against Atlantean soldiers, and this is our first time seeing Arthur square off against superpowered opponents. Aquaman is easily able to take out the white armored goons, but the fight really starts when the red armored ones take the scene. These guys have a few more tricks up their sleeves, and despite some impressive sword skills, Arthur can't match up to a super-charged punch.
Rather than settle its disputes in court, Atlantis prefers ancient gladiator death matches in The Ring of Fire. After Aquaman challenges his brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) for the throne, the two engage in a battle to the death for the throne. The underwater action is excellent as the battle swiftly moves from one location to the next. The brothers crash through rocks, lock tridents on top of statues, and have a close encounter with some lava. The fight really demonstrates the potential of the underwater setting and how it allows for imaginative and comic book-y fights.
Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) may not be the main villain, but one of the most fun and standout action sequences belongs to him. Equipped with Atlantean technology, a hit squad, and a thirst for revenge, Manta attacks Aquaman and Mera (Amber Heard) in Italy. The result is a two-pronged battle that stretches across an Italian city. Manta goes straight for Aquaman, keeping the hero off guard with his laser beams, while Mera runs across the rooftops battling Atlantean soldiers. It's a really high-energy fight sequence that features cool moments for Black Manta, Aquaman, and Mera to show off their individual powers in exciting ways. It comes right at the perfect moment, as the movie was starting to dull at that point.
And this is the point in the movie where things started to get really good. The battle against the cannibalistic monsters known as the Trench is one of the most memorable sequences in the movie. James Wan lets his horror roots shine in this fight. Not only are there some gruesome takedowns, but this scene features truly breathtaking imagery. The shot of Arthur and Mera diving deeper and deeper into the depths with the red light of a flare revealing that they are surrounded by thousands of Trench creatures is one of the best moments in the film. Period.
Everything about the war sequence perfectly captures the essence of Aquaman: Let's just go for it. This fight has everything from sharks firing laser beams to giant lava crabs to Aquaman RIDING A KRAKEN into battle while commanding hundreds of undersea creatures. There's so much going on in this sequence that it's almost too much to take in, but the amount of detail is astonishing. This is the moment in the movie where it felt like James Wan was given whatever he wanted. And it works! This is a battle that just leaves a smile on your face from start to finish.
Now that Aquaman has proven himself to be the true king of Atlantis by claiming the trident of Atlan, the only thing left to do is kick his little brother's butt. This time the fight takes place on the surface, as Aquaman and Ocean Master have a trident fight as all the undersea kingdoms watch. Aquaman has the clear upper hand in the fight and after a cool water force field move, he gets the drop on Orm by breaking his trident in half. It should be noted that Aquaman ends the fight in a super badass pose, and he looks really cool in his orange costume.