To sum this up in one word: this movie is bonkers. Absolute, banana throwing bonkers. And it’s still the second best movie in the DC universe.
Arthur (Jason Momoa) is the Aquaman. A product of narration, I mean, an Atlantean mother who decided to shack up with the first human she met because he was nice to her. Gifted with all the vague powers that Atlantean royalty have, Arthur spends his time mostly just rescuing people from ocean related tragedies. But his half brother Orn has decided to wage a war against the surface world in retaliation for (and this is fair) all the pollution. His betrothed, Princess Mera (Amber Heard), doesn’t want a war and so she convinces Arthur that he must find the lost trident of Atlan and take his rightful place as king of Atlantis and theoretically, stop the war.
On the surface (heh heh) this is just a retread of a much better movie: Black Panther. Which begs the question: what is with these super advanced societies determining leadership based on single combat? It’s like if last year, Nick Foles just became president after the Super Bowl. That might be an improvement, but it’s not a very good system of government.
The bad: this is a DC movie. So the dialogue is mostly atrocious, especially around anything emotional. The connection to other films is razor thin as to be nonexistent beyond a few passing mentions. And the plot, if you really think about it, makes no sense whatsoever. Plus, Arthur literally commits genocide….to stop a war. Like his first act as gold plated Aquaman, is to ride a giant death monster into battle and murder thousands of warring Atlanteans. And then everyone cheers him as king. Who are these bloodthirsty maniacs??
But unlike certain Zach Snyder films, Aquaman is a ton of fun. Momoa gets several great one-liners, that mostly feel natural. The goofy nature of the film is embraced not rejected. The CGI, while overused, is visually inventive and stunningly beautiful. The sheer variety of Atlantean culture was astounding, hats off to the visual designers and animators. And the action, oh the action. Best part hands down. From the very first sequence, where Nicole Kidman absolutely demolishes four dudes, I was hooked. Easy to follow, with lots of creativity, this is what I expected from the Furious 7 director.
Overall, a fun blockbuster film. But boy, is there a lot to hate. Especially Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman’s acting. A surprisingly high entry in the DC world, but not even close to a competitor for Wonder Woman. Enjoy it and then almost immediately forget it.
2 out of 4 stars.