“A Royal Battle” a review of “Aquaman” by Nathan H. Box
Recommendation: 3/5 Stars, STREAM
Director: James Wan, Writers: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall, Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe
Plot: “Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.” -IMDB
Review: I want the DC Extended Universe to be better. I need the DC Extended Universe to be better. As a long-time reader of comic books and graphic novels, I know there is great potential in these stories; stories that can rival or surpass that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, with each iteration, I find myself shaking my head at the missed opportunity. “Man of Steel” felt too dark. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” felt like the wrong angle. “Justice League” lacked depth and felt too early. “Suicide Squad” was nearly unwatchable.” “Wonder Woman” has been the only saving grace, if you can forget about the orgasm of CGI at the end. With “Aquaman,” I hoped to get the origin story of a character I know very little about and his place in the growing DC Extended Universe.
“Aquaman” doesn’t lack depth and I don’t mean that as a pun. It spends significant time developing the lead character. Jason Momoa plays the part well enough but has some distance to go before his acting chops are fully honed. It doesn’t take long to figure out he is of two worlds and this dissonance will serve as the basis for all conflict going forward. This doesn’t take long either, because soon Aquaman is called home to a beautiful, fabulous, and inventive underwater world to do battle with Greek legends and his half-brother in a war for the royal throne. This section of the film can feel a bit predictable, but given the source material, I am not surprised.
The chance at the throne doesn’t go as expected as Aquaman is bested by the likes of his half-brother. This sets up a grand quest to fetch the Trident of Atlan so he may take his rightful place and rule the underwater kingdom. This quest feels like the most comic book thing to occur in the entire movie. It can also feel like being hit in the head with a blunt instrument. It is also this part of the movie that keeps this film from being on the same level as “Wonder Woman.”
As is often the case, this film ends in another explosion of CGI, but this time I didn’t mind. After 2 hours in an underwater world, I had gotten used to the fact that everything I was seeing was made in a lab. There are even a few surprises at the end that give power to the film. As the credits rolled and I waited for the cut scene, I settled on the thought that this was an average film. It is by no means the worst film in the DC Extended, but it left me disappointed and craving more.
Be good to each other,
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