Aquaman immerses viewers in an experience that hasn’t been rivaled since Avatar. The world is so fully realized with a host of characters and creatures interacting in an epic tale for the ages.
The story follows Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) who is a mix of Atlantean royalty and… a light housekeeper. Arthur spends his whole life living on land doing small things like helping the Justice League save the world. Now, his king half-brother threatens that same world with war and Arthur must fight his way to the throne to stop it.
The movie is action-packed with beautiful underwater battles and locations hopping across the world. Aquaman is a tank that gives Hulk a run for his money and every fight he gets into ends with the other guy earning a long hospital stay.
Overflowing with personality
Momoa is a strong, charismatic lead who you can’t help but like. He is cool personified with a laidback demeanor; trash talks and has the power to back it up.
Mera (Amber Heard) is not just the love interest or weak damsel. She can hold her own as a bad-ass water bender to go with her charming personality.
King Orm (Patrick Wilson) is Arthur’s brother who is about wage war on the land. His motivations are legit with humans polluting their waters or the hatred for his sibling Aquaman.
However, Orm reminds me of the Spider-Verse scene where Spider-Man predicts everything Fisk says because generic villain monologue. I mouthed majority of Orm’s dialogue as it has been said by countless baddies with capes longer than limos.
Black Manta is one of the other standouts as he has the best fights and arcs. He has a threatening on-screen presence and a story that I’m as invested in as the lead.
Manta’s burning hatred for our hero is only matched by the fantastic chemistry between Mera and Arthur. It feels as if they’ve known each other for ages and their banter always brings a smile to my face.
Hold on, I’mma let you finish
The movie has a habit of interrupting conversations with an explosion as if it thinks the audience will lose interest in story development. Two characters talking for more than 30 seconds? Throw an explosion in there.
There aren’t casual endings to conversations such as both parties walking away. You can practically see characters flinch before it happens as they know convos in this universe only end in explosions. This is underwater Speed; if anyone stops talking then blasts will follow.
Explose-versations are half funny, half startling as you feel them coming but will still make you jump. That mini heart attack credit goes to the spectacular audio and visual teams’ work on the film.
Arthur’s first trip to Atlantis left his eyes wide and jaw hanging like everyone else in the theatre. Bright, alluring colors cover the city from the lights and wildlife alike. The cinematography is on point throughout, showcasing varied stunning locations like it’s the Travel Channel.
There are so many original and creative designs to the city and the clothing of its people. CGI can detract from the great designs by some sets not being shot in real locations. Really Aquaman? You couldn’t find a lighthouse to shoot at instead of using those PS1-era CGI-looking sunsets and ocean background?
The CGI is fantastic through the most part, bringing to life the most intense scene of Arthur and Mera diving into the dark ocean trenches. It’s a raging storm. Uncountable horrifying creatures are attacking their boat and director James Wan utilizes his experience in horror to great effect.
Pitbull: Master of Dale and sneaking his music into films
The score itself in the film is pretty good, giving an epic feel to most scenes. There are points it becomes hokey ’90s sitcom sounds for comedic moments, but this doesn’t rip you out the film.
What does rip you out the film is the horrendous pop soundtrack. It only achieves to undercut critical scenes like Black Manta coming into his own. Outside the great Skylar Grey end credits song, every pop tune had me wincing.
Imagine a puppy being pushed through a cheese-grater and you’ll get the feeling of the soundtrack. Whatever devil Pitbull made a deal with must be the same one that made the fast travel system in Red Dead Redemption 2.
DC gives Marvel a run for its money
DC has put out some crap movies in recent years, but Wonder Woman, Teen Titans Go!, and Aquaman show a promising future. This latest release isn’t flawless but damn if it isn’t really enjoyable.
Although I loved the epic journey, my legs couldn’t withstand the marathon. There are 10 or 15 minutes that could have been shaved off the runtime.
Aquaman’s narrative is easy to get invested in thanks to great characters, action, and CGI effects. James Wan has a skillful eye for cinematic shot and a clear direction for the world and its people. I wouldn’t mind getting lost again in the aquatic world before the year ends.