Aquaman Film Review
Aquaman in the second full length film centered on a solo DC character and sixth overall installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Wonder Woman started the solo origin story trend within DCEU, and a year later… Aquaman continued it.
And Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is the product between of the love between Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison), a lighthouse keeper from Maine. When Atlanna is forced to abandon her family and return to the sea, Arthur is left to live with the guilt. He kept himself above the sea level for the most part of his life, but now he’ll be forced to challenge his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) to reclaim the throne of Atlantis. He’ll have to find the Trident of Atlan and then to reclaim his rightful place as king (despite being a half-breed) but that will prove to a much more difficult task than he anticipated. However with the help of Mera (Amber Heard), and the teachings of his mentor Vulko (Willem Defoe) it’s up to him to find the strength and determination of a righteous king.
Oh, i’m sorry… Are you tired of reading the synopsis? I don’t blame you. And I left out the part about Orm’s bidding war with the surface word (aka the humans), and his mission to find coalition partners in this war… but hey… don’t get fooled just by the overtly complicated and messy script. The visuals are messy and complicated too. I’m serious. Parts of the CGI heavy movie were giving me hallucinogenic brain seizures, and the last 30 minutes of Aquaman felt like I was watching Avatar on steroids. But, besides the tacky exterior, there are some redeemable qualities that can be said about this movie. Sure there are some flaws too, but let’s start with the good stuff.
Jason Momoa is once again the life line of the DCEU with his relaxed and charming portrayal of Arthur Curry. His effortless cool and his swagger make him way more interesting on camera than on paper, and think the screenwriters didn’t anticipated the volume of effortless coolness Momoa embodies. He brings so much to this role with just his mere presence i’ts insane. However, screenwriters were so busy with exposition, that they failed to give him depth of a character. Little is known about his life outside of being a super-hero on duty and the grown ass Arthur Curry deserved much better treatment to be honest. Even his potential love story arch with Mera (an almost decent Amber Heard) is scratched just below the surface of the shallow water and left there to float, which is just a shame. There was quite a potential there, it it wasn’t reached properly.
But while i’m writing about the good stuff… Nicole Kidman is outside of her comfort zone here and I loved that. But who am i kidding? She’s always dedicated and amazing, am i right?. Her role in Aquaman just goes to show how versatile and brilliant she still is 23 years after her role in Batman Forever. Her beauty and grace is still here, and DC are aware that her talents are not going anywhere any time soon. She’s kicking ass and eating fish, and with the help of some quality CGI /stunt women she proves how amazing she is even in a role like Atlana. Willem Defoe was severely underused here in the role of Nuidis Vulko, but I think the biggest offense was made in the role of David Kane /Black Manta. Played spectacularly great by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Black Manta is generally perceived as Aquaman’s archenemy… you know… withing the DC comic book community. However, here in the move he’s given a despicably short screen-time and a job of being Orm’s pawn. I suppose he’s being benched for the second part of this movie, where I presume his role will be stretched and enlarged in quality and volume, but for now it’s depressing to see the downgrading of such amazing character.
However, James Wan for the most part knew what he was doing here. He blended the CGI underworld with some interesting set pieces and although some of those scene could have been a little bit shorter (and lot less repetitive), overall they provide entertainment and campy silliness to be admired.
Aquaman is much lighter in tone and visual style that most of the DCEU movies, but here the humor is not a draw back. It’s perfectly timed and spaced to aid the scenes, not to insult them. Although Wonder Woman reigns on the throne of the best DC movies hierarchy, thanks to the visionary direction of James Wan, the relaxed nature of Jason Momoa’s embodiment of the titular character, the luscious, stunning costume/set design and the bold and in your face megalomaniac CGI, Aquaman is a satisfactory decent movie to watch. It won’t blow your mind, but it won’t disappoint you either.