‘Aquaman’ Review… Yes, He Talks to Fish!
Aquaman is the fifth film in the DC Movie Universe, but does it have what it takes to save the franchise? Almost every film under DC’s belt in the last six years is universally loathed, with the exception of Wonder Woman. We’re going to take a look at what works with Aquaman and what doesn’t so buckle up for our quick, no-nonsense review. Remember: potential SPOILER ALERT!
All in all, the cast was great. Jason Mamoa makes a fun and charismatic Aquaman that brings some excitement to the otherwise boring character. The supporting cast features the talents of Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Amber Heard, and Patrick Wilson, all of which play their parts well.
Wilson, who plays the film’s villain, King Orm, does great with the material he’s given, even if it’s a bit over-the-top. However, the character wouldn’t be as well-received if it wasn’t for the campy nature of his personality.
A different Aquaman villain is featured in the film’s opening sequence, but I can’t help but see this character as being shoehorned into the narrative. Black Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, is essentially included in Aquaman with the purpose of setting up an ongoing feud to play out in the franchise’s future. That’s not to say that Black Manta was bad choice for the movie — in fact, he was the coolest looking villain I’ve seen in a long time! I just wish his backstory got fleshed-out properly.
The core story of Aquaman is nothing we haven’t seen before. A child is born with a royal lineage and said child has to learn his place in the world as well as what he’s inheriting.
What makes the story stand out is the spectacular backdrop of Atlantis and the many memorable characters it has. No matter what you end up thinking of the movie, you won’t be bored. It’s colorful, action-packed and sometimes funny.
The hardest thing to accept is that this movie takes place in the same universe as Batman v. Superman and Justice League. The tones are so different and it’s laughable to think that this version of Aquaman exists on the same Earth as Superman in Man of Steel.
What I enjoyed most about the film is that we finally get a villain with a justifiable cause. King Orm, as much of a jerk as he is, is only trying to protect his people against who he sees as the real villain… surface dwellers. On top of casually destroying the ocean’s ecosystem, Orm, along with the City of Atlantis, believes that surface dwellers pose an increasing threat to the planet they share because of their warmongering.
In one particular scene, we see a huge tsunami devastate a large portion of Earth’s coastal cities, leaving behind heaps of garbage and pollutants. It’s hard to argue that King Orm is being extreme in his endeavors. The villain is shockingly more believable than most Marvel movie villains! Not to mention that his costume is really cool.
Halfway through the movie it sort of turns into an Uncharted-like story by having our main characters travel the world and search for ancient artifacts. It’s entertaining, but it feels like the two narratives take place in different movies.
The CGI was a bit lopsided in Aquaman. In some parts it was either really good or really corny. The settings were vibrant and beautiful, whereas the CGI characters and costumes looked too cartoony.
The fight scenes were amazing and extremely exciting. Every time you thought it couldn’t get any wilder, another huge, loud and crazy thing happens. Again, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that this is supposed to take place in the same universe as the other DC films.
Overall, Aquaman delivers in entertainment. It’s not amazing but it’s good enough to enthrall you and make you feel like you watched your money’s worth. It’s fun, loud, colorful and light-hearted. But can DC’s latest superhero movie save the franchise from imploding? It’s not a savior, but it’s a step in the right direction. Once SHAZAM! releases then we can decide with more confidence. Aquaman’s a solid flick to catch with the family, just don’t expect any award-winning performances or stories.
Our Rating: 6/10