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Review: Aquaman

Jason Momoa stars in Warner Bros. Pictures' AQUAMAN

Before its official release, it’s tough to say how exactly people will respond to Aquaman. I guess they could see it as an improvement over most of what’s come before it, but they could also leave this experience feeling as if it’s just another failure in a long line of failures in the DCEU. Then again, based on the reception Justice League received, a lot of people who were interested at some point might not even show up at this point.

The half-human, half Atlantean Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) jumps into his latest adventure after the events witnessed in Justice League. Wanting to live an existence solely above water, he tries to avoid the underwater world that is a part of him. However, forces from beneath prove too strong to ignore as he comes to learn that he must fight to preserve life on land and the ocean below.

Regardless of how people react to it, Aquaman is an improvement over what we’ve received from DCEU so far in that it is more upbeat. They try to make things more welcoming for fans by making things lighter than what anything we’ve been given to date. In a sense, that works in that they’re aware of one of the issues that have been plaguing these films, but more changes need to be made to make these movies work as well as they want them to.

Another thing that can be seen as a positive here is that there’s an attempt to utilize a genuine story. Doing this allows for the characters included to have proper motivations for their actions and desires. To be honest, I didn’t expect them to even try to do this. I figured they would only try to turn this into a brainless action movie. Even though it’s not amazing or anything, it’s a start for these guys.

At this point, that’s about all you can ask for from them. None of the movies have been worth recommending yet, so you kind of need to set the bar low. The problem with that is that so much time and money has already been invested in this stuff. I don’t think they can pause things, reset and then redistribute. If they took too long to try that kind of course correction, people may forget and lose interest altogether. There’s also a financial hit that may come from that.

While I respect the honest effort being made to craft a polished story and to be more human, they aren’t able to succeed like they want to since the movie is marked by awful CGI and some terrible acting by at least two of the prominent actors in the movie. Both of these things combined hurt what we’re watching. I think just cleaning up the acting improves things quite a bit. Since that didn’t happen, we’re left with a fractured movie that isn’t able to impress.

From my perspective, the best thing featured in this is the action. Now, there are only a couple of good action scenes, but they’re decent even if they aren’t highly memorable. During these periods, the energy is pretty solid as well. I would imagine this stuff could get some positive reactions from viewers. If that’s the case, there’s a chance that you may feel you’ve gotten enough out of Aquaman by the time it reaches its conclusion.

I don’t mind the direction they chose to take Aquaman as a character. Momoa isn’t a great actor by any stretch, but he’s proven to be the least of their worries in both this movie and the future. The bottom line is this isn’t really working out for the studio. I don’t know what they plan on doing, but they need to figure something out before it’s too late. If they take too long, no one will care anymore and they would have done nothing but waste a ton of money and a golden opportunity.

Rating: PG-13

Director: James Wan

Jason Momoa
Amber Heard
Willem Dafoe
Patrick Wilson
Dolph Lundgren
Ludi Lin
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Temuera Morrison
Nicole Kidman

Film Length: 139 minutes

Release Date: December 21, 2018

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

  • 5/10
    Score - 5/10
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