Aquaman is the latest film in the DC Expanded Universe directed by James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring). It follows Wonder Woman in the next origin story for the members of the Justice League. Our story starts early on with human lighthouse keeper Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) meeting Atlantian Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman). She is fleeing Atlantis because of an arranged marriage that she did not agree with. They fall in love and Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is born.
The Curry family is living a quiet peaceful life when events catch up to Atlanna. They find her and bring her back to Atlantis. Arthur grows up without his mother. He has a mentor in Vulko (Willem Dafoe) who comes from Atlantis to help train. Arthur learns that his mother has been killed by Alantis’ king for bearing a human child.
We fast forward to today. Mera (Amber Heard) and Vulko (Dafoe) come to land to convince Arthur to come back to Atlantis. He needs to stop Orm (Patrick Wilson) from taking over as king and waging a war on land. It us up to Arthur to find the Trident of Atlan and claim his throne and defeat Orm (Wilson).
What I Liked
Wan provides a visually stunning underwater adventure to the masses. The is just gorgeous. Scenes are bright and vibrant. You feel transported to this mythical place. When you are first brought to Atlantis it feels like a true living city. It lights up like everything is a bioluminescent organism.
Black Manta (Abdul-Mateen II) plays the secondary villain of story. Some may say that he was an unnecessary addition to the film. I see him as the needed outsider needed by Orm to orchestrate his plans while maintaining hidden agenda.
Mamoa continues to deliver in his third act as Arthur Curry. He can provide a unique take on the superhero that “talks to fish.” He has the occasional cheesy one liner, but I think he uses that cheese well. It is not over the top and still works. The use of the Atlantian armor makes for adding the classic look for the modern film. Wilson proves to be a true foe against Momoa’s Aquaman. He has previously worked with Wan on ‘The Conjuring.’ This established relationship I feel really lets Wilson make Orm his own.
The overall story kept a great pace from start to finish. Wan keeps you engaged the entire time. The fights were very well choreographed. All the supporting characters do their jobs at the necessary time with not really overdoing it.
What Could Have Been Improved
The first thing about this movie that just screamed at me was the de-aging of Kidman and Morrison. Warner Bros. and DC can learn a thing or two from Marvel Studios. Both characters looked horrible at their younger age. Kidman looked like she had a bad run in with a Botox injection. Morrison looks like someone just dipped his head in plastic. It is truly horrible.
Heard just doesn’t seem to happy to be in these movies. The look on her face just seems like she is on the verge of tears. Outside of a couple of scenes, the chemistry between her and Mamoa just does not seem to be there.
The music in the film seemed to be an afterthought. The Pitbull song ‘Ocean to Ocean’ was just not necessary. The film could have used an artist song at the beginning of the credits and it would have sufficed. This type of movie does not really need the random song thrown into the movie unless it suits the scene. None of this was the case. Even the Skyler Grey songs however good, just seemed out of place.
Overall, I really did enjoy this film. The bar has been set low by Warner Bros. and DC Comics. If you are comparing this to it’s DCEU counterparts, it would have to rank up there with Wonder Woman. Sure, Aquaman has its faults but nothing that the rest of the film doesn’t make up for. It is a fun watch and the visuals are just awe inspiring. Wan’s take on the man who can talk to fish is beautiful and I do hope that we get to see Mamoa reprise his role as Aquaman in a future installment.
Overall Score 4/5
Aquaman is currently in theaters now.
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Reviewed by Brian Mensing, Back Lot 605 Co-Host