“Aquaman” marks one of the most recent entries into the DC Extended Universe film series, which seems to have improved in recent years with “Wonder Woman.” Its early films were very flawed and only divided audience members on their quality, such as “Man of Steel” and “Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
This film follows Aquaman, king of the seas, but in this film, he has yet to earn that title. After learning that his half brother, Ocean Master, who is king of Atlantis, plans on uniting the underwater kingdoms to launch a full-scale war on the surface world, Aquaman decides to ditch his simple life and try to claim the throne to stop it.
Aquaman is portrayed as a laid-back action hero, a nice spin on the character. There was a time when Aquaman was a punchline for lame superheroes — I mean, he’s used to riding around on a giant seahorse. Thanks to updates in the comics and now this movie, I guess Aquaman’s cool.
Taking a note from “Wonder Woman,” “Aquaman” is a DC film that isn’t afraid of being fun or having colorful sets. “Justice League” was a little similar in style, but that was partially due to the forced reshoots. And like “Wonder Woman,” “Aquaman” is a good movie. It’s well put together and overcame what might have been big issues for the film.
Despite being CGI heavy, the underwater scenes are completely CGI, “Aquaman” doesn’t feel like a mess. CGI heavy films can often feel ridiculous, especially if the CGI is poorly done making it obvious that what you’re watching is fake — like “Green Lantern” for example. For the most part, “Aquaman’s” CGI is very well done. There are a few moments where it does feel off, and then there are others where it can be beautiful. Particularly the effects are great, but this is the next best thing.
Another potential issue comes with the characters. Ocean Master is played not to be as over-the-top as he could’ve been, and you get a nice side villain with Black Manta, who definitely deserves to appear again in another DC film. And the romance with the love interest actually felt earned here, not tagged on at the last minute like in so many other movies.
The acting is solid, especially from Momoa. Sure the acting can feel off sometimes, but the fact that the actors can make their roles believable when they’re basically walking around in front of a green screen playing the people of Atlantis, that’s reason enough for some praise. The same goes for the dialogue and jokes. It can be hit or miss, but most of it works.
The biggest problem with “Aquaman” isn’t the acting or the plot, it’s that it feels a little hypocritical at times. In Aquaman’s quest to save Alantian lives by stopping a war, he sure does kill a lot of Alantian soldiers. Sometimes the soldiers are a part of an assassin team, but others seem to be just regular people doing their jobs. Of course, it doesn’t feel like Aquaman has a choice most of the time — most of the time.
But if this is a case of the ends justifying the means that doesn’t make sense, because that’s the villain’s reasoning, just on a larger scale. “Aquaman” is clearly meant to be a fun movie, it’s just this little detail can feel distracting. Not to compare the two films, but at least in a film like “Black Panther,” this issue would be addressed. Though this may be a nitpick because this plothole doesn’t affect the film’s quality overall.
“Aquaman” is a good movie. If you’re looking for a fun, enjoyable actioned packed movie to see in theaters, “Aquaman” is exactly that. It really is better than it should be — all things considered. With all its CGI, overly big fight scenes, weird costumes and underwater kingdom politics, it should have almost been a trainwreck. Maybe it marks a better future for the “DCEU,” making movies that are just good and not divisive. “Shazam!” recently released, receiving mostly favorable reviews and “The Joker” is scheduled for this year, so who knows?