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Top 10 Aquaman (2018) Moments

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Dang, this movie has everything… well, except for Vince Chase. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Moments in Aquaman. For this list, we’re taking a look at the set pieces and character moments that made 2018’s “Aquaman” one of the best films in the DC library. For the two people who haven’t seen this billion-dollar movie, beware the following spoilers. Watch the video at

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Top 10 Moments in Aquaman

Dang, this movie has everything… well, except for Vince Chase. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Moments in Aquaman.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the set pieces and character moments that made 2018’s “Aquaman” one of the best films in the DC library. For the two people who haven’t seen this billion-dollar movie, beware the following spoilers.

#10: Arriving in the Sahara Desert

James Wan’s film is one half “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and one half “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” It’s not just a superhero origin story, but a treasure hunting adventure as well. This especially shines through during the Sahara Desert segment in which Arthur and Mera begin their search for the Trident of Atlan. Upon arriving, Arthur and Mera leap right out the cargo plane, much to the shock of the pilot. Their travels take them to ancient ruins where Arthur’s sweat plays a key role in solving a puzzle. The scene captures the same sense of awe you’d find in an “Indiana Jones” movie, but the banter between Arthur and Mera gives it a distinct personality.

#9: Arthur’s Parents Meet

The relationship between Thomas Curry and Atlanna is a classic fish out of water story… in more ways than one. Washing up by Thomas’ lighthouse, the Queen of Atlantis is naturally caught off guard when she sees television and a dog for the first time. Through warmth, understanding, and humor, though, Thomas shows her that the surface has a great deal to offer. Swimming away from her arranged marriage, Atlanna decides to remain at the lighthouse and has a son with Thomas. It’s a charming romance that sums up the movie’s overarching theme of two different worlds learning to co-exist. Alas, it’s only a matter of time until they’re driven apart.

#8: The Trench Attack

“Aquaman” may be an action blockbuster, but James Wan rose to prominence directing horror films like “Saw,” “Insidious,” and “The Conjuring.” Wan’s horror roots can be found in the Trench attack sequence, which would feel right at home in “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Wan also reportedly drew inspiration from the works of H.P. Lovecraft and the Trench definitely have a Lovecraftian quality to them. These amphibious fiends are only made creepier when you set them against a dark, stormy backdrop on the treacherous ocean. The Trench engulf Arthur and Mera’s boat like a hoard of zombies, forcing them to abandon ship and venture to fathoms below. This thrilling scene is brief, but we can count on seeing more of the Trench in a spinoff.

#7: Atlanna: Warrior Queen

Atlanna and Thomas’ happy life together hits rough waters when Atlanteans storm into the lighthouse, ready to take the Queen back to Atlantis. Atlanna is much harder to catch than a fish, however. She fends off the intruders in a skillfully choreographed sequence that’s shot to look as if it were executed in one take. Although she takes them all out with her trusty trident, Atlanna realizes that it’s too dangerous for her to stay with her family. Bidding farewell to the man she loves and her young son, Atlanna forlornly returns to the cruel waters. As tearful as their goodbye is, this only makes it more uplifting when Arthur and his mother are finally reunited decades later.

#6: Submarine Showdown

In “Justice League,” we were given a taste of how Arthur Curry earned his reputation as the Protector of the Oceans. Towards the beginning of his first solo film, though, we actually get to follow Arthur on one of his missions. When pirates seize control of a nuclear submarine, Aquaman crashes in and swabs the deck with their faces. In this exhilarating set piece, Arthur exemplifies his super strength and masterful fighting skills. The sequence also makes it clear that Arthur is no boy scout, coldly leaving the pirate leader to go down with the vessel. In due course, Arthur intensifies his rivalry with David Kane, AKA Black Manta, who vows to get revenge for his father’s death.

#5: The Ring of Fire

This scene has the scope of a classic Hollywood epic, calling “Ben-Hur” and especially “Gladiator” to mind. Set in a massive underwater stadium, Arthur prepares to face off with his half-brother Orm. With a ring of lava surrounding them, this is one of the film’s most stunning sequences in terms of effects and production design. The battle choreography only contributes to the gravitas as these half-brothers clash in a fight for the throne. Being an all-around badass, Arthur is used to coming out on top. He underestimates his opponent, though, resulting in the destruction of his mother’s trident. Losing the battle and the last piece he had of his mother, Arthur hits his lowest point, but failure is an essential part of any hero’s journey.

#4: Arthur vs. Black Manta

After appearing in numerous comics and animated shows, Black Manta finally made his live-action debut in this movie. David Kane doesn’t disappoint upon arriving in Sicily, sporting his signature bug-eyed helmet. Black Manta is ready to avenge his father with a few other high-tech warriors by his side. Shooting death rays out of his eyes, Manta sends Arthur flying across the island. Thus ensues an electrifying chase over rooftops as the soldiers pursue Mera, leaving a trail of destruction behind with every step. Arthur and Manta, meanwhile, square off mano-a-mano and this time it’s personal. It’s a close call, but Arthur ultimately sends Manta tumbling down a cliff to his watery defeat.

#3: The Final Battle

Imagine “The Lord of the Rings,” but underwater. That’s basically this movie’s climax in a nutshell and it’s every bit as epic as it sounds. Pitting Orm’s forces against the Kingdom of Brine, this sequence delivers pretty much everything you could possibly want out of an “Aquaman” climax: massive armies, an armada of vessels, armored sharks, the whole shebang! Orm prematurely deems himself Ocean Master, however, as Arthur and Mera show up with the aid of the Trench and the leviathan Karathen. The set piece is wall to wall to eye-popping action and even a bit of romance. Yet, it all boils down to a final confrontation between Arthur and Orm atop a ship. This time, Arthur emerges victorious as the true King of Atlantis.

#2: Atlantis Arrival

When it was announced that a live-action “Aquaman” movie was officially setting sail, fans were unsure if the filmmakers could actually make the Kingdom of Atlantis a reality. Any doubts we might’ve had were flushed away, however, once Arthur arrived in the hidden empire. Atlantis lights up like an electric coral reef, complete with massive structures, underwater vehicles, and an array of sea animals. It’s a society that’s obviously grounded in fantasy, but still somehow comes off as convincing and even inhabitable. Gazing over this visual marvel, we’re reminded of when we first saw Gotham City in Tim Burton’s original “Batman.” It’s an iconic comic book setting we never thought could be brought to life. Yet, there it is on the silver screen.

Before we get to our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:

Sequel Bait

Arthur Goes Drinking


#1: The King Has Risen

Any king can wear a crown, but it takes a truly worthy ruler to wield the Trident of Atlan. Presenting himself before the leviathan known as Karathen, Arthur must prove there’s more to him than meets the eye. Although the Colossus is initially skeptical, Karathen is willing to give Arthur a shot. Approaching the golden trident, Arthur pulls it free and gains control of the Seven Seas. It’s a totally triumphant moment reminiscent of when King Arthur retrieved Excalibur. What’s just as applause-worthy is seeing Arthur at last don his iconic outfit. People have poked fun of Aquaman’s costume in the past, but this film modernized it in all the right ways. Shimmering in gold and green armor, Arthur is ready to accept his destiny.

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