Aquaman is directed by James Wan of Conjuring fame and follows the story of Arther Curry, played by Jason Momoa. In this film he discovers he is the rightful heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis and he must prevent his brother Orm from declaring war on the surface world.
This movie is LOADS of fun and EXTREMELY entertaining. It’s truly a blast to watch, the way this underwater world is presented is honestly pretty awe inspiring. You can tell director James Wan had a hell of a time creating all these colorful landscapes and crazy creatures that are present throughout the movie. The special effects are incredible and really make Atlantis pop.
That being said, this film is REALLY goofy at times, so much so that its cartoonish at points. This is something I feel most people won’t mind but I’m sure some will hate. I’m no comic book wiz, but to my knowledge Aquaman has been a laughing stock over the years and this movie embraces some of the campier elements of the character. I’ll give an example of what I mean by goofy. This is a very MINOR moment and it’s literally a five second sequence that has no impact on the story whatsoever but if you don’t want this moment spoiled for you skip the next few sentences on start reading again at the next paragraph. You have been warned, there is a scene where a giant octopus plays the freaking drums. THE DRUMS!!! I audibly said, “what the fuck?” in the theater, but it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it, I actually kind of loved it. It made sense in the world they had established that something like that was plausible. If you love weird shit like that this movie will absolutely blow your mind.
The action sequences are AMAZING, and there is a lot of them too. There are many hand-to-hand combat sequences that are filmed beautifully, with wide camera angles and long takes where you can see everything that is going on. It’s up there with Man of Steel as the best action in the DCEU, and I honestly probably prefer the action in Aquaman over MoS.
Jason Momoa is perfect as Aquaman. He delivers a fun performance and its obvious Momoa adores playing a hero character. He also brings a physicality to the role that made him rather intimidating when it was time to beat some bad guys up.
Amber Heard is also great as Mera (the red head). She compliments Momoa nicely and kicks a good amount of ass herself. Although they both gave good performances, their chemistry as love interests was ehhhhh. They were much better together when they weren’t being all lovey dovey.
My biggest issue with Aquaman is that it’s VERY cheesy at times. There’s a good number of scenes that carry emotional weight and it was a 50/50 shot as to whether it worked really well or was cringe-worthy. It was never unbearably cheesy, but there were certain scenes I was hoping would end as soon as possible.
Superhero movies nowadays always feel the need to infuse humor and jokes into their story, sometimes when unnecessary. Some movies it really works and actually adds to the story, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok being prime examples. Here it feels very forced, and although there are a few chuckles here and there, about 90% of the comedy didn’t work for me. People laugh at different shit though so if someone found this movie hilarious I would completely understand.
As far as the villain goes, Orm is serviceable. He’s fine, there’s nothing that really makes him stand out, but he is not bad by any means. I actually think the story should have been solely about him as the villain, and Black Manta should have been introduced in the inevitable sequel. Focusing in on Orm would have would have enhanced the brotherly rivalry that exists between him and Aquaman, and when shit was going down I personally would have been more invested. As much as I LOVE Black Manta’s costume (even though he looks like a Power Ranger villain) he doesn’t really feel like he belongs in this movie. His character has good setup, but they don’t really do enough with it to justify him being in this movie, he’s also barely in it.
This movie at its core is a fun adventure, and it delivers plenty of thrills with an elaborate world with plenty of awesome action. I feel most people are going to really dig this movie, especially for the casual movie goer. I’m just a nerd that likes to analyze movies more than anyone in their right mind should. I was very entertained by Aquaman, I didn’t love it like I wanted too, but I got my money’s worth and its a good time at the theater. If you are asking me to rank it amongst the other DCEU films I would probably stick it at 3rd behind Wonder Woman and Man of Steel.