AQUAMAN [Review]: Aquanda Forever!
Despite some basic flaws, Aquaman is magical, fantastic and absolutely entertaining. It’s as if Jules Verne gave birth to the legendary classic tale of Arthur (Curry) in The Sword in the Stone. The world James Wan has created for the sea kingdoms, creatures, and armies are whimsical, and feels heavily influenced by James Cameron’s The Abyss (strange, I know, considering Cameron “directed” the last Aquaman movie starring Vincent Chase). I can’t emphasize enough how beautiful Wan’s underwater world is, pretty much everything I want a live action Atlantis to be visually. Although there’s been much hype for Jason Momoa in his black tight water jeans dripping wet, there’s much more to his performance than the goofy man fans except to see.
The supporting cast of actors are on point, and it’s almost a shame that Willem DeFoe can’t be Namor in the MCU. Patrick Wilson‘s Ocean Master is perfect, as is Nicole Kidman‘s battle ready and stunning Atlanna. I wish we could have had a bit more of Yahya Abdul-Mateen‘s Black Manta, but it’s a damn good set-up for a continuing villain for Aquaman, should they continue on with the series. At the heart of it all, beyond the action and gorgeous visuals, Aquaman is a love story, and not necessarily the kind of love story you’d think. 3.75/5 Aqua-Bibles.
Fun movie, but needs a lot more Adrian Grenier. I kid, of course, but it’s quite ironic that this Aquaman — from both on-screen and early fan reacts — could have been the flick Entourage so brilliantly satirized for the legendary Vinny Chase. Despite a plot akin to Geoff Johns’ New 52 comic that made Arthur Curry the joke we now laugh along with instead of at, the script has a lot more dialogue misses than hits. If early-90s cheese humor is up your alley, you’ll be OK with the film’s bro-heavy lightheardedness. Thankfully, the further you dive into Wan’s majestic sea palace the stronger Momoa’s Curry comes off the screen. As Taffeta mentioned above, the seascapes are quite the eye-candy. Just beautiful. Mera? Wowzers. Amber Heard‘s chase scene on the Sicilian rooftops from Black Manta’s Halo Reach-inspired aquasoldiers is just splendid. The panoramic parkour piece is a nasty blend of Assassin’s Creed action and ironic shit-I-shouldn’t-be-here humor. Kicking plenty of Chicken-butt of the Sea, our jackedtor‘s purty eyes should also steal filmgoers’ hearts in scenes with his non-Atlantean pops (Temuera Morrison); Momoa also expands that acting range in scenes where he’s drowned into his half-brother’s megalomaniacal third act abyss.
WB did a fine job with casting across the board, seeing a former Norman Osborne float above his ensemble despite his Vulko not doing a whole lot but sinfully grin. Dafoe’s just that great. Kidman (no stranger to DC Comics films either; see, actually don’t see Batman Forever) is absolutely terrific despite getting the Princess Leia treatment (is that CGI, prosthetics, or… yeah, nevermind). Speaking of which, there’s a Dolph Lundgren (King Nereus) sighting too. At the end of the day, your liking of Aquaman will prominently depend on: 1.) How much you already hate the DC/WB Universe, 2.) How much of a Marvel fanboy/girl you are, 3.) How important cinematic cosmetics (wonderful CGI, beautiful people) are to you in contrast to plot, 4.) How much you can forgive 90s frat-jokes that don’t quite hit, and 5.) Whether or not there’s a place for an underwater LOTR in cinema (there is). A critic sitting behind me couldn’t help but laugh at everything in the movie you’re not supposed to, but I guess that beats sleeping through everything like we all did in Waterworld. Oh, and 6.) A few scenes portray New England’s Maine seaport and the Boston Aquarium, so it definitely has that going for it. #chowduheadsfaheva. Aquaman is a fun popcorn movie, definitely worthy of seeing once and preferably in IMAX. 3.5/5 Chattin’ Krakens.