Whenever somebody asks you what your favorite superhero is, you more than likely say these three people: Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man. It is genuinely extremely hard to come across somebody that tells you their favorite superhero is Aquaman. For the longest time, this character was considered to be a complete joke, as many people thought it was incredibly ridiculous how this man can talk to fish, and millions simply do not take him seriously due to his bizarre nature. It was not until recently with 2017’s Justice League that the character of Aquaman was being shown as a more heroic type of character, and one that does not exist just to be laughed at. Even though James Wan’s latest film Aquaman still portrays him as a mostly silly character, there are some moments that will make you genuinely like him.
A man named Arthur Curry / Aquaman (Jason Momoa) has to go up against the Ocean Master King Orm (Patrick Wilson) in a fight that will determine one of them to be the King of Atlantis. Along the way, Arthur goes on a journey of self-discovery with Mera (Amber Heard) that will change his life forever.
As you watch Aquaman, you will notice fairly quickly that James Wan and the rest of the crew behind this project really went for the whole feel of this film. I have heard an abundance of people all over the internet complaining how it feels completely corny a large portion of the time. This should not be a criticism here, however, because the film absolutely knows that it is cheesy and it does not take itself too seriously most of the time. Yes, there are some sequences of suspense and drama, but it never takes over the sillier aspect of the film. If I am going to be fully honest with you, I found myself smiling and laughing throughout the entirety of this picture. This is a two hour and thirty minute film and it never once felt that long to me, because there were so many things to enjoy.
Jason Momoa is excellent yet again as the titular character. He was great in the aforementioned Justice League, but he was not given that much screen time like many fans were hoping for. But even watching the few scenes that he was present in for that film, it is easy to tell that Momoa genuinely loves playing this character, and it shines more than ever this time around. He never looks bored or uninterested. Throughout the whole thing, he is such a charismatic and funny presence whenever we see him on screen. His acting is also rather impressive for the more emotional and dramatic sequences.
His sidekick throughout the film is Mera, and she is additionally a character that I wound up liking quite a lot. Even though she technically is the sidekick in this film, it actually never feels like she is. Honestly, there is enough story behind her character that I would love to see a Mera solo spin-off film down the road. Much like Momoa, she is full of energy and there is truly never a dull moment to be found whenever she appears on the screen. There are many action sequences with her that felt grounded as well.
In terms of the villain, King Orm, he is by far one of the most cliché ones the DC Extended Universe has had thus far. For basically the entire film, all he wants is to be the King of Atlantis and I never truly understood his viewpoint, which was disappointing. Even though he is better than Justice League‘s Steppenwolf, he still is not a good antagonist. We frequently see him talking about how much he wants to see Aquaman fail, and after a while it became laughable as his motivations where unclear.
Additionally, the story could have benefited from some major improvement. It is a rather simple story without that much emotional heft to it which was disappointing to say the least. I really wanted to feel something powerful with Aquaman that I just never got unfortunately. Adding on to the weak story, it was also quite messy at times. We constantly go from location to location and after a while, it became frustrating.
All of the computer generated imagery does look extremely well-done, however. There are certainly thousands of digitally rendered shots and images present, but it actually never became a huge distraction amongst all the action and chaos. The team that worked on the film’s special and visual effects needs praise.
For me, the best film in the DCEU is still Patty Jenkins’ 2017 blockbuster hit Wonder Woman. That picture had a ton of emotion, humor, heart, and fun at its centre. I cared for our main protagonists deeply, and by the ending, I felt emotional. However, in terms of pure fun, Aquaman is the most entertaining of them all for me.
Even with a messy script and weak villain, Aquaman has enough fun and humor to stay afloat as well as a strong performance from Jason Momoa.
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson
Directed by: James Wan
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 143 minutes