Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, effects, action, and story
Cons: Story does drag a little in the final act
The Bottom Line:
Next DC movie
Mostly entertaining film
Pacing only fault
"You The Fish Boy from TV?" "It's Fish Man."
While Marvel Comics started celebrating ten years of its cinematic universe last year, DC Comics has been struggling to put together any movies that would draw fans in with the same numbers. That began to change with Wonder Woman and Justice League, and it appears that they are continuing to build on that success with Aquaman.
The movie tells the story of Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), the child of a human and the queen of Atlantis. He was raised by his father on land, and he turned his back on his Atlantean heritage part way through his training with Vulko (Willem Dafoe) when he learned about his mother's death.
However, his half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson), is planning a war against the surface dwellers. When Mera (Amber Heard) appears again to warn him, he tries to ignore her only to find himself drawn into the upcoming fight. Is there a way to challenge Orm and prevent the upcoming war?
Even though Aquaman did appear in the Justice League movie, this film did a good job of introducing him for those of us in the audience who aren't up on all the superhero backstories. Yes, despite all the movies and TV shows I've been watching, I never have read comic books, so I need it myself. And it does all this without keeping us from getting to the main conflict.
I've noticed that the trend in movies seems to be to run longer again. That's fine if the movie has enough story to sustain it. Unfortunately, I did feel the film dragged a bit, especially in the final act. They had a few too many things going on, and as I was ready for the story to wind down, they had to wrap up all those storylines. I do applaud them for having a satisfying climax without dragging that aspect out needlessly. That often seems to be the case in action/superhero movies where a film builds to a climax so epic but ultimately bland, and this movie didn't fall into the trap.
That's not a major complaint, however, since the movie kept my attention most of the time. It was only in the final act that I felt my attention beginning to wander.
Superhero movies require lots of action and special effects, right? This movie serves up healthy doses of both. Much of the action takes place under water, and I seriously want to know how they shot all that. I mean, the characters talk, their hair floats, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear they really were filming underwater. It was very impressive. On the other hand, a few shots on land were so obviously green screened it was laughable. It’s obvious where they spent their special effects budget.
And the action? There were a couple of times things were cut together so fast it was a little hard to tell what was happening, but for the most part, I followed it perfectly. There are plenty of edge of your seat moments during the film.
One advantage of a longer film is that it allows for character development. Not all the characters are fully developed here, but I definitely felt like we got to know Arthur. Then again, it is his story, so that only makes sense.
And the actors are all wonderful. Whether a quiet character moment or a large action scene, I bought everything I was watching on the screen.
Speaking of which, there is one scene buried in the credits. You'll definitely want to watch for that.
Since I've heard of the DC Comics characters more, I'm excited to see them finally figuring out how to make entertaining movies with their characters. I'm hoping the trend continues going forward from Aquaman.