I’ll say this about AQUAMAN: It’s the first live-action DC movie since 2013’s MAN OF STEEL that wears its comic book roots on its sleeve and wants (from its inception, unlike JL) to be fun.
But, is it a good film? Well…
It’s Just OK…and that’s, um, OK in this case.
If I had to compare AQUAMAN to the other films of the incorrectly nicknamed “DCEU,” I’d say that I preferred MAN OF STEEL and WONDER WOMAN way more because they are better movies. The other 3 – BvS, SUICIDE SQUAD, and JUSTICE LEAGUE – sit well below AQUAMAN — although SS’s cast had much better chemistry.
Speaking of the cast, better than average overall, though star Jason Momoa stands out as he clearly looks to be having fun playing Arthur Curry. To me, he was the best thing about this movie.
However, Amber Heard is kinda “meh” as Mera and she and Momoa have zero chemistry. Also, I couldn’t get over how fake her red hair looked. Petty? Probably. But it is what it is: distracting.
Also, I didn’t too much dig Patrick Wilson as Orm/Ocean Master. I am a fan of Wilson (loved him in season two of FARGO) and Ocean Master is cool, but something didn’t jibe. I’m thinking there was some miscasting at hand here. Hey, it happens.
As far as the rest of the cast, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta is an adequate villain, and the others are frankly kinda forgettable.
As far as the “look” of the film, I’m not going that far and say the CGI/special effects were awesome and/or that they’re a game-changer (which some folks are suggesting) because they are not. They are better than average, but it’s just a bit too much (and yes, I know you can’t do an Aquaman film without a lot of CGI/special effects). Maybe it was the aqua blue and pink-ish hues of the underwater stuff that got me a bit, ahem, seasick.
My only other criticism is that I don’t think AQUAMAN knows what it really wants to be.
It’s one part “serious” and one part “funny” (gotta have those quips!), but both don’t mesh all that well. At times, yes. Overall, nah.
Oh yeah, there’s some really bad dialogue in this flick.
And it’s a little cheesy…maybe more than just a little.
But at the end of the day, none of the negatives totally do the film in.
DID I LIKE IT: As I said, I thought it was OK. I didn’t love it, rolled my eyes at it a few times (Toto’s “Africa” playing over a scene of Arthur and Mera in, um, Africa…really?), and it’s certainly not one of the genre’s best. But I had a good time and enjoyed it overall.
BOTTOM LINE: AQUAMAN is cliché and predictable, but it isn’t trying not to be…you know what I’m sayin’? It’s something that DC on film needs right now: a fun popcorn movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Not every DC movie needs to be THE DARK KNIGHT (though the genre does need films like TDK). Am I going to watch it multiple times during its theatrical run and once it hits home video? No. But I like it better than JUSTICE LEAGUE, take that for what you will.
JETT SAYS: Go watch it, dumb-down your brain, have some popcorn (or a few beers – which is available at theaters nowadays thank goodness), and enjoy! – Bill “Jett” Ramey