Release: December 21, 2018
Director: James Wan
Screenplay: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (try to say that one backwards) and Will Beall
Story: Geoff Johns, James Wan, and Will Beall
Starring: Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Patrick Wilson as Orm Marius/Ocean Master, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane/Black Manta
Let’s get it out of the way right off the bat, Aquaman is too long. At nearly two and a half hours, it feels like this fat lady could have stood to lose a few pounds in the editing room. This is a problem with so many of these superhero flicks these days, bloat. They could have easily shaved a few minutes by leaving Black Manta out of the film. Sure, he looks great, I’ll admit, but his inclusion seems tacked on and unnecessary. Almost as if someone at the studio insisted that he be included, a la Venom in Spider-Man 3.
One thing Aquaman definitely has working in its favour is tonal consistency. This has been a big point of contention for me with the last few superhero flicks I’ve reviewed. They make attempts at high drama, and then immediately undo that by trying to throw in a groan inducing joke, or a Joss Whedon approved bad pun. Aquaman doesn’t really do that. Rather, James Wan grabs the wheel with both hands, steers the ship headlong into cheese, and never looks back. Everything about this film, from the way the characters act, to the underwater locations, to the costumes seems like it was planned out with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
In the visual department, the computer effects look decent. They’re not exactly something that’s going to win awards, but they never descend to the level of visual travesty that the ones in Spider-Man: Homecoming or Black Panther do. The fight scenes are well framed, and refreshingly free of nausea inducing camera effects, why its almost as if the filmmakers wanted you to see them. The colour palette leans toward the bright side of things, a refreshing break with the faux moody, desaturated, hazy look that DC has been so fond of in the past, and that Marvel have been growing increasingly fond of.
Aquaman is a decent movie. It’s the kind of movie that DC could have used in lieu of Man of Steel back in 2013. It’s over the top and consistently dumb, but its a better film for it. Turn off your brain and give it a go.