Starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren
Aside from the fact that DC’s latest comic book adaptation “Aquaman” borrows heavily from Marvel’s “Black Panther” screenplay (it’s half-brother versus half-brother for the kingdom), it also has an over-saturating amount of special effects. It’s not that the visual effects are noticeably bad, there’s just so many, in every corner of the screen for more than 2 hours. It’s taxing on the eyeballs. Director James Wan (“Furious 7“) isn’t particularly known for his use of cinematic self-control, and with “Aquaman” he’s unbridled with budget and scope. One minute the film is “Star Trek” under the sea, the next it’s “Mission Impossible” action sequences on land. Momoa might have the look but he’s the least competent actor leading a DC film to date. The script is a continuous sequence of fight scenes, too many villains and it whisks the viewer to so many locations you don’t have time to understand what’s unique about each one.
Lighthouse keeper Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) discovered something on the shores of Maine in 1985 that would change his life forever. Far from her kingdom, Queen Atlanna (Kidman) lay motionless until Curry revived her. They fell in love, and for years created a life together. Their son Arthur (Momoa), was only a small child when the sea called her back. Part human, part Atlantean, and rightful heir to the throne, Arthur spent most of his land life wondering what happened to his mother. The day comes when the link to his true identity comes calling in the shape of Mera (Heard). Atlantis needs Arthur to knock his half-brother King Orm (Wilson) off the throne before a war from the sea is waged against innocent humans on land. Arthur resists his responsibility until Mera show’s him what he’s been missing all these years.
The screenplay is so bloated with villains, worlds, and creatures that it makes Peter Jackson’s Hobbit look empty.
Momoa’s acting style feels part WWF, part blunt force trauma, which means the surrounding supporting actors have to do the real heavy lifting. Kidman’s inclusion certainly helps “Aquaman” limp toward the finish line, however, she is far from able to save this overblown action disaster from itself. The screenplay is so bloated with villains, other worlds, and creatures that it makes Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” look empty. “Aquaman’s” world looks a lot like “Star Wars“, with more locations than one movie actually needs. One villain looks like Ant Man’s cousin, another like Shredder from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and neither can be taken seriously. Perhaps that’s their point though, to be so ridiculous and overly imaginative that it’s funny? If that’s the case it might have worked better if it was smarter, edited tighter and more entertaining.
“Aquaman” simply tries to accomplish too much in one movie. For instance, “Thor“ slowly revealed Asgard over multiple films. The many kingdoms and history of Atlantis are featured in rapid succession throughout this bombastic picture and it’s hard to retain anything they offer or get a real sense of the mythology. “Aquaman” is frantic energy, and easily one of DC’s worst ventures to date. I would put it somewhere below “Batman v. Superman“ and “Justice League. It’s got some of the worst acting in a mainstream film. Kekoa Kekumano who plays Arthur in his teenage years, alongside a very underwhelming Dafoe, is perhaps the worst performance in the entire flick, despite having one of the only non-CGI locations.
Aquaman has too much of everything but creativity.