Of all the classic DC comics characters that were yet to debut on the big screen, the most difficult always appeared to be Arthur Curry, A.K.A. Aquaman. The character had been the butt of many jokes directed at the Justice League, if not comic book superheroes in general, before appearing in the DCEU. But – in the form of Khal Drogo himself, Jason Momoa – he’s a little more difficult to laugh at now.
Dashing, roguish, and shredded to absolute hell, Momoa’s Aquaman became an action movie icon and the frontman of his own billion-dollar franchise in the space of just two years. Here’s our ranking of the character’s ten best quotes in the DCEU so far.
10 “Hurry up, I’m missing happy hour for this.”
During DC’s epic quest to make sure that nobody ever made fun of Aquaman ever again, the character was transformed into more of a party animal rather than a guy who talks to fish at parties. The kind of guy who can fight you under the sea and drink you under the table.
Jason Momoa’s WWE-inspired brawler lets the audience know precisely where his antihero priorities lie at the beginning of his first solo venture. After rescuing a submarine crew from certain death at the hands of Black Manta and his pirates, Arthur Curry urges them to get the lead out as he has better things he could be doing than beating up heavily-armed underwater commandos.
9 “I thought I told you not to make this a habit.”
There isn’t even enough room leftover in Aquaman for the hero’s arch-nemesis, Black Manta, to be the main villain. But it’s safe to say that the two will go on to have a long and storied rivalry throughout the coming years. The movie makes a few jokes about this very fact, with Arthur telling Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s take on the deep-sea diving villain not to make their confrontations a habit.
The line comes up again when Black Manta tracks down Aquaman later in the film to exact revenge for the death of Black Manta’s father, whom Curry chose not to save after the villain's own aggression sealed his fate.
8 “Ask the sea for mercy.”
The incident in which Black Manta’s father dies happens in Arthur’s big opening action sequence onboard a hijacked Russian submarine. After beating down Black Manta’s crew of pirates and freeing the hostages, the father and son pirate team take on Aquaman with everything they have. It’s nowhere near enough, though.
The defeated pirates sow their own fate by critically damaging the submarine they were trying to steal in their attempts to kill Arthur. When Black Manta asks for help, Arthur weighs their actions against what justice they deserve and gives them the Atlantean version of being told to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.
7 “It was up to me and I let him die.”
It was up to me, and I let him die. I could have saved him, but I didn’t.
Arthur’s decision to not help Black Manta and his father at the beginning of the film turns out to be one he deeply regrets and the consequences look to echo throughout at least one sequel.
After their battle in the hijacked submarine's torpedo room, Black Manta’s father becomes pinned as a result of his own actions. Arthur comes to see that his decision was a mistake. Not just because of what the pirates did, or did not, deserve but because the consequences of his judgment have now endangered the life of his companion, Mera, as Black Manta seeks revenge. It’s a mature moment of self-reflection for the ordinarily juvenile character.
6 “To Ocean’s Rage.”
Back when Arthur Curry was still the even-more-reluctant hero who was saving distressed sailors and getting drunk in every place that wasn’t Atlantis, he saves a fisherman whose boat is sinking somewhere above an Atlantean stronghold used to house a powerful artifact.
After pulling the fisherman safely to land, Aquaman brings him to the closest bar and slams him down on the table. Arthur then offers his toast to the raging waters outside before downing his drink in one gulp and telling the bartender that it’s on the sailor. All things considered, it seems like a pretty fair deal.
5 “I’m a blunt instrument and I’m damn good at it.”
Jason Momoa’s take on Arthur Curry is a man who certainly does not mince words. He forgoes pleasantries and tells it like it is, so when he tells you that he’s damn good at being a blunt instrument then you had better believe him.
Throughout most of Aquaman, Arthur sees his history and personality traits all as supporting evidence for the theory that he should not take his rightful place on the throne of Atlantis. He cites his inability to work or play well with others, and his decision to solve his problems with his fists, as bad qualities for a king. Forcing Mera to point out all of the positive qualities that Arthur ignores about himself.
4 “Something something trident”
Momoa’s Arthur Curry isn’t all doom, gloom, and threats to break you in half. Aquaman showcases his leading man charm and a consistent lighter side that delivers the comedic levity fans had been demanding from the DCEU.
After discovering the lost final message of the legendary first king of Atlantis containing the location of his mythically powerful trident, Mera quickly destroys it to make sure it never falls into the wrong hands. When she asks Arthur whether he memorized the message, he assures her that he got the gist of it. When asked to repeat it back to her, Aquaman confidently recites his vague, but essentially correct, version.
3 “I don’t suppose you want to talk about this, do you? Neither do I.”
After being snuck past the guards at the wall perimeter of the Kingdom of Atlantis by Mera, Arthur meets with his old mentor, Vulko, to be set on his quest to find King Atlan’s lost trident and unite all of the underwater Kingdoms through his leadership.
Just as he’s about to be handed his first clue, however, Arthur and his allies are ambushed by Atlantean border patrol soldiers, quickly followed by Orm’s elite warriors, the Men-of-War. None of them are really a match for Arthur, and he makes light work of them, but the Men-of-War’s Captain, Murk, appears and engages Arthur in a challenging sword fight. Before they begin, Arthur taunts his opponent with the line but Murk turns out to be no pushover.
2 “...If that’s not good enough…then screw you.”
I came to save my home and the people that I love. I came because the trident is their only hope. And if that’s not good enough… then screw you.
In his final test before reaching King Atlan’s trident, Arthur must face off alone against the fearsome Karathen – a legendary creature so powerful that it was locked away by King Atlan in the Hidden Sea at Earth’s core. There, it has guarded the trident against all challengers who have come to claim it, leaving behind only a pile of bones.
Using his unique ability to speak with sea creatures, Arthur explains his mission to the Karathen and finishes his speech in his typically uncompromising style. Irrefutable proof that the tough guy aspect of his character is no act.
1 “Dressed like a bat. I dig it.”
The line comes just after Arthur unofficially joins the then still-to-be-named supergroup of DC’s greatest heroes that we all know as the Justice League.
Even though he had talked at length with Bruce Wayne, with the latter explaining his overall gimmick with his superhero work, it would appear that Arthur didn’t quite 100% believe him until directly witnessing Batman in action. Even though he’s clearly suppressing a laugh, Arthur seems to mean it when he shows respect for the bold fashion choice. Dressed in Atlantean armor, and holding a five-pronged trident, himself, however, Arthur can probably tell that he’s in no position to either judge or hand out costume advice.