Film Review: Aquaman

Aquaman film review; Jason Mamoa, DC, Justice League, comics, superheroDirected by: James Wan

Runtime: 143 minutes

Poor DC. After a run of films that have been blasted as being too ‘dark’, and… well, just not good, we are now seeing the remains of a cinematic universe that will probably, now, never come to any kind of fruition. Watching Aquaman is a strange experience—it’s a film that is, on the one hand, a fair bit of fun, but on the other, laced with the same flaws of its predecessors to the point that I was unable to fully enjoy myself. Released fifteen years ago, this flick would have been a good enough romp to pass the time. Now, however, with the advent of so many incredible superhero ventures, Aquaman just feels stagnant.

Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), a half-breed Atlantian and Human who has special sea-powers, must face his half-brother, an Atlantian ruler who is looking at waging war between the surface and the sea, by finding a magic trident. Part-Lion King, part-Indiana Jones, we are given a plot that, while entertaining, for the most part, is tainted by the fact that Black Panther did most of it before, and better, earlier this year. The magic-trident tomb-raiding is fun while it lasts, and the movie is paced quite well, but the film’s flaws were never going to be saved by a mere MacGuffin or my nostalgia for early-2000s adventure films.

Momoa himself is likeable enough to carry a feature film. This would have been a much worse film without him in the lead, and Warner Bros. made an inspired choice casting him as Aquaman. However, the script doesn’t give him a lot to work with, and some decisions he makes are just plain… cruel. He doesn’t show mercy to a man early on in the film, and it is a moment that doesn’t seem character-driven or heroic in the slightest. In the final big-battle, the casualties are very hard to look past, and his involvement in killing masses of people he is supposed to rule left a sour taste in my mouth. Warner Bros.’ obsession with large-scale destruction is wearing thin and needs to be addressed.

Other performances are fine—Amber Heard is surprisingly likeable, and Nicole Kidman is oddly well-cast. Willem Dafoe, however, is not; I am completely unable to suspend my disbelief and see him as a mentor-type character. I was waiting for him to turn evil throughout and he didn’t, but he really does have a villainous face. The rest of the acting is, in parts, janky, but most of the time everyone gets through it fine.

This movie isn’t anger-inducing, but I can’t say it’s any good. Sure, it is more fun than other DC entries, and has a lot more colour, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. For me, I am spoiled for choice with superhero films, and this just doesn’t do anything for me. This just makes me want to see Jason Momoa in the lead of a genuinely well-written blockbuster, and unfortunately this isn’t it.

7 Comments

  1. sorry my lady…it’s simply going to work as a blockbuster this season…a repeat of Venom’s success although with more fresh reviews than its counterpart. This is cbm genre and MCU movies can’t do as good as DC solo origins movies selling with just better critiques. It needs to appease fans as well.

    • “MCU movies can’t do as good as DC solo origins movies selling with just better critiques. It needs to appease fans as well.”

      This statement is not tethered to any know nreality.

  2. This “critic” gave the 2018 Robin Hood, (16% on Rotten Tomatoes), a fresh review! A review where she admitted it was a bad movie, but still gave it a fresh review! That’s what you’re dealing with here. In fact, she’s only written 6 reviews before this one. Shouldn’t a critic have to prove that they have decent taste before they are approved to be on Rotten Tomatoes? Critics with less than 100 reviews shouldn’t be allowed to appear on the site. That way we could weed out the no taste hacks like this one.

  3. Did you even see the movie? This is better than entire superhero movies. Filthy biased critics. Shame on you. 🗣️💦💦

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