author: ethan butterfield | a&c editor
Hubba, hubba / Warner Bros.
Land man does water real good
Superhero movies are everywhere. From animated flicks like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, to Marvel beginnings like Daredevil, the genre of superhero action film is absolutely stuffed to the brim at this point in time. That being said, I suppose it’s not stuffed enough, because we have a new blockbuster hit in the Jason Momoa-led adventure film that is Aquaman.
Just when you thought that the DC extended universe had learned its lesson in releasing superhero films, here we have another one. From director James Wan (notable for Saw and The Conjuring) comes the best water-based thrill ride since Waterworld, and that one wasn’t even underwater! However, the big difference between the two films is that Aquaman doesn’t suck. It’s…fine…passable, really.
Out of all the DCEU films that have been released, Aquaman is definitely the biggest box office hit out of the bunch, overtaking films like Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman to bring in the big bucks. In terms of reviews, however, Aquaman reaches the dizzying heights of the second highest rated DC film, 30% below Wonder Woman, but at least 10% above Man of Steel, generally speaking of course.
But putting aside the review scores, how is Aquaman as a film? It’s…ehhhh. As I said above, it’s passable. It had its funny moments and its serious moments, with some intrigue sprinkled in. Patrick Wilson, Jason Momoa, and Amber Heard were great. Nicole Kidman and Willem Defoe were fine, and Dolph Lundgren was there. That sounds like a backhanded comment about Dolph Lundgren, but that was honestly his role, he was there. The chemistry between Heard and Momoa was solid, though. So if you were going in for any acting ability, it would certainly be for them.
As well, in regards to acting ability, Patrick Wilson is almost (if not entirely) overshadowed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II for the role of led villain. There were several points during the film where I was like “Man, bring back Black Manta, screw this Ocean Master guy.” The dynamic between Aquaman and Black Manta is really great basically, so there’s another solid reason to check it out.
Moving past acting, we arrive at visuals, which are really good. Glad we got a chance to cover that, moving right along.
Next is plot, the story of this film is a very basic, ‘child of the throne most reclaim the throne’ plot, but it’s executed well enough to the point where it’s interesting to see despite being something we’ve all seen before. If anything, I love how not into the throne Arthur Curry is. Jason Momoa basically goes about the whole ordeal with a mood of “Yeah, I’ll be king, whatever.”
This mood of the main character also helps put a solid emphasis on the comedic aspects of the film. I was laughing like a fool at the bar scene earlier on in the movie, so be sure to watch out for that.
That being said, Aquaman has a lot of solid aspects about it that make it worth checking out. However, all of these aspects are things viewers have seen in other superhero films. So, if you want to see them again, but in a film about Aquaman, which has a greater emphasis on side-villains and relationship dynamics, then by all means, go for it.