Aquaman; DC Proves They Can Do Better!!!
Thanks to Amazon Prime teaming up with Atom Tickets, I was able to get early access to view Aquaman. From the trailers I saw and how cool the character has been portrayed over the last few years, I was pretty excited to see this movie. If we can all be honest, Aquaman has been the punching bag of the Justice League for many years. He was most commonly mocked as a weak character whose main ability is to swim around and communicate with tiny fish. Over the last couple years he has been rebranded as a total badass and it has done wonders for the character. The Justice League animated series gave me the first look at a totally cool Aquaman who could fight toe to toe with Superman. Warner Bros. Animated movies continued the trend giving Aquaman more of a personality and fleshing out his power set. The man is bullet-proof, can survive extreme pressures and temperatures, swim faster than any torpedoes underwater, can call upon the dark creatures that haunt men’s dreams that continue to survive in the deep, and is a KING! He can utilize one of the most advanced militaries on earth with technologies unknown to mankind. Granted for the purposes of the movie he doesn’t have access to that last bit, but it doesn’t diminish his other abilities.
I had to rant about how cool Aquaman is because it’s the truth, and the movie does reflect this awesome new Aquaman for a wider audience. The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) does its best work when it’s focused on one main character for the big screen. They don’t have to try to juggle shared screen time for their other larger than life heroes. This allows the writers and directors to focus on more personal stories and getting the audience invested on one character. This is one reason why people loved Wonder Woman so much and why their superhero team-ups seem to flop at the box office. After seeing the movie I can say it’s the best DCEU movie second only to Wonder Woman. I can be honest and say that’s not a high bar considering their track record but Aquaman is just another step in the right direction. If they put out a few more movies like this, DC can truly change people’s perspective on the idea on what a successful DC movie can be.
The casting choices for Aquaman were very well put together. Jason Momoa reprises his role as Aquaman/Arthur, and did a bang up job playing an Aquaman many people would love to have a pint or two with. I didn’t see Justice League, and you don’t have too, to see that Aquaman does come off kind of a dick, but I honestly like the change for his character. He’s not cruel; he just wants to save people in time to go grab a beer at happy hour. That’s more of the kind of hero people would really be. The rest of the cast have had experience playing in movies based off a comic book series and none of their performances come off as strained. Nicole Kidman plays a daring Queen Atlanna. Patrick Wilson, who played Nite Owl in Watchmen, was a great choice for Arthur’s half-brother and tyrannical King Orm. Two actors who came as a surprise were Willem Dafoe as advisor Vulko, and Dolph Lundgren, of Arrow fame (as Konstantin Kovar), as King Nereus. They helped to flesh out the political landscape of the undersea territories beyond Atlantis. Amber Herd portrays the lovely Princess Mera, as Arthur’s love interest in this film.
One of my favorite DC villains in the movie was Black Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. He was, to me one of the funniest characters to watch besides Arthur. The movie really did take the time to give this man a real motive to hate Aquaman, a suit-up montage, a ‘final’ showdown with his arch-nemesis, and lives in the end to hype up the next film. I love how serious the movie makes this character, but to me it came off as comical with the fight sequences, costume designs and wise cracks. It almost made me think I was watching Power Rangers all over again.
One con I had with the film was how long it dragged on. DCEU have a problem with their films where they feel the need to fit every aspect of a character’s origin into a film. Comics can fill their pages with as much as they want because people can take their time with a book. Movies do not have that luxury. There’s only so much time in a film to grab the audiences’ attention, and if it drags on then your audience can’t wait for a movie to be over.
There were moments when I truly wanted the movie to end, not because it was bad; The action scenes were fun to watch, but there weren’t enough quiet moments to pace the film. One of my friends who came with me to the movie fell asleep on me during the film. On the other hand a huge positive I give the movie were the costume designs! Most of the costumes were real and functional, very little CGI was used for an outfit. We all remember how bad the suit in Green Lantern was and I’m glad they shied away from continuing that trend. The soldier’s armor, and Black Manta’s iconic suit made me think of the old school Power Rangers show I’d watch as a kid. Whether it was intentional or not, it brought a smile to my face seeing that.
Aquaman is one of 2018’s better superhero movies. It brought another Justice League founding member to the big screen, thus exposing him to a larger audience. I got to see Jason Momoa shirtless, wet, and flexing those superhero muscles (I’m a fangirl, so no surprises). It also ushers in a new type of era for DC films. One where films can experiment with different tones and themes and move away from the dark, brooding, Zach Snyderiesque view of the superhero genre. It’s a positive change for DC live action movies and as long as they don’t treat their characters too seriously audiences can truly enjoy these films. With D.C. on a roll with this one, I can’t wait to see Shazam in 2019!!!