I'm a comics fan. I love both DC and Marvel (although Marvel is obviously the better of the two, sorry not sorry). This isn't news to anyone who knows me, so naturally, I was excited for the newest installment of the DC comic movies, "Aquaman." I expected to enjoy it, and I definitely did, but what I didn't expect was to walk out of the theater with a feeling that the villain made a good point.
"Aquaman" follows Arthur, the son of the Queen of Atlantis and a human, his father. He has abilities that make both land and sea optimal worlds for him. When his half brother, the presiding ruler of Atlantis, decides to declare war on the people on land, or what they refer to as "the surface," it's up to Arthur to stop him. I won't get much more into the plot than that for fear of spoilers, but basically, the movie has a lot of action, a lot of humor, and a lot of heartfelt moments.
The movie also spells out a huge issue that our planet is currently dealing with: pollution and the way we're treating our oceans. One of the reasons the people of the sea are so intent on destroying the surface is because of the disregard for what goes into the ocean, into their home.
There's a scene in the movie that provides a stunning visual of just how much damage we're causing in every body of water on Earth. The ruler of Atlantis decides he's sick of the way humans treat their oceans, so he uses his power to create a giant tidal wave. This tidal wave isn't meant to kill anyone (yet), it's simply to send a message. The wave spits every piece of trash, sewage, and every warship inhabiting the ocean back onto the shores, resulting in massive piles of garbage and pollutants on every coast.
Watching this scene unfold, I thought, "Yeah, the guy has a point."
If our oceans possessed creatures strong enough to do something about the way we're treating their home, I'm sure they would. We thoughtlessly dump an unbelievable amount of waste into our oceans every year. In plastic waste alone, 8 million tons are deposited into the ocean annually. Toxic waste materials, such as sewage sludge, industrial waste, and radioactive waste make up 80% of ocean pollution. Chemicals and toxins from pesticides are continually flowing into rivers and waterways that eventually land them right into the ocean, poisoning marine life.
This scene alone isn't the extent to which "Aquaman" showcases ocean pollution. I lost count of the amount of jabs at humanity for their poor waste management. The king of Atlantis is angry that humans have simply claimed the oceans as their property without acknowledging the presence of the life within them. The people of Atlantis and the other kingdoms in the sea are fed up with waste and garbage flooding into their home because of the carelessness showed by the surface.
And I can't say I blame them.
Obviously, the declaration of war and the intent to destroy humanity isn't great, but their motives aren't unfounded. This movie raises awareness of ocean pollution and environmental pollution, in general, and makes you think about where your garbage ends up. Though "Aquaman" provides little in the way of solutions to this problem, other than a giant sibling fist fight, the movie still resembles a call to action.
We can't clean up our oceans or stop producing waste overnight. But we can control, to some extent, where our waste ends up. Recycle whatever materials you're able to. Ditch plastic bags. Invest in a reusable water bottle. There are so many simple ways to reduce the amount of waste you produce, and thereby reduce the amount potentially dumped into bodies of water around the world.
Say whatever you will about the plot, the acting, the characters, and the adaptation of "Aquaman," but one thing that can't be denied is that visually, it's amazing, and it creates an image of the damage being done to the sea. It raises many questions about the way we're treating our oceans, and how the oceans would respond if they could.