James King, A&E Writer
Aquaman is the best DC movie since Wonder Woman. I have complicated feelings about the DC Extended Universe. Most of the DC extended Universe movies are pale imitations of Marvel movies at best and others are bloated, dumb, and even downright boring at worst. It makes me sad because I grew up watching these characters in the DC animated universe from the earliest days of Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League: Unlimited, and I know they can tell some truly epic storylines. That isn’t to say that all of the DCEU movies are bad, Wonder Woman was a ton of fun to watch and really set the bar high for any female-led superhero franchises going forward. Marvel Studio’s Captain Marvel will have to make something truly great to compete with what may be the best female superhero movie.
With all that said, is Aquaman a movie worth your money and worth seeing on the big screen? I believe the answer is a big YES. Now, with that said this movie has some issues that might keep it from really striking a big chord with audiences as Wonder Woman did. This movie feels like a CGI fest from beginning to end. If that is a turn-off, I would avoid this movie as there are gallons of CGI at almost every point of the film. Not much of it looks real, but I feel as though that was the intent.
The story is simple, but the world-building is extensive. The first third of this movie is basically all set up. It is setting up who Aquaman is, where he’s from, what his conflict is, what his power set is, what the politics of Atlantis are like, who our villains are. After all that is set up, the movie truly begins and the story simply becomes our heroes need to get the magical item to stop the bad guy. This surprisingly works and the movie kicks into high gear until the spectacular final fight in Atlantis between all the factions of the underwater world. It’s something I never knew I wanted and while the movie basically becomes an animated movie at that point, is pretty amazing to watch even on its own.
Jason Momoa was a pretty fun Aquaman who is loveably dumb for most of the movie and has really great chemistry with Amber Heard’s Mera. William Defoe even shows up as a teacher and advisor character to Aquaman. I felt that Oceanmaster, played by Patrick Wilson, wasn’t that memorable of a villain and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta was a bit one-note. Both villains have a need for revenge on Aquaman albeit for different reasons. Though any scene where the characters get to fight with Aquaman is pretty fun and there is a chase sequence in the middle of the movie that sets Black Manta up as a credible threat in future movies.
I went into this movie expecting it to be a dumb action movie in the vein of a transformers movie and I was pleasantly surprised. It has some minor problems, but it really nails the fun of the character and is generally a fun watch. I definitely wouldn’t mind going to more DC movies if they were this fun to watch.