Movie Review: Aquaman (2018)

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Summary: Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land.
This is a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry. For all the Aquaman purists (*coughs*Jonathan*coughs*) he is not a full blond lol but he makes his Ombre work. Arthur grew up with his father after his mother left when he was a toddler. He pretty much does his own thing but he does seem to take it upon himself to help people out in the water, especially since he just showed up where the submarine was at the beginning. However, he is reluctant to be King of Atlantis. He just doesn’t want that responsibility; besides, he’s been told that his mother was killed and so he’s definitely not into ruling a kingdom who murdered his mother. Arthur has the ability to communicate with other aquatic life. He can swim at supersonic speeds and possesses superhuman strength. He doesn’t get involved in things that he feels aren’t his problem and he won’t do things he’s not interested in which is part of his arc in the film. He has to figure out just how involved he wants to be and see how far he’s willing to go. I like Jason Momoa, I think he’s a fine Arthur/Aquaman, I don’t know how true he is to the comic character or anything but I think he’s likable, probably the most likable version I have seen on screen. He’s also funny and he does well with the physical stuff. I don’t think Arthur really got to have many emotional moments but overall, I think he’s cool.
  • Amber Heard as Y’Mera Xebella “Mera” Challa. She is the Princess of Xebel, and a warrior. She was raised by Queen Atlanna and groomed to become queen. She possesses hydrokinetic and telepathic powers. She can control the aquatic environment around her. I was unsure how I would feel about her in this film, but she’s really cool. She shows up on the docks and tells Arthur that he has a mission he has to do and she’s adamant that he comes back to Atlantis because she believes in his mother and she believes he’s the only one who can do what needs to be done. She has her beliefs and she sticks to it. The only problem she sees, is that he’s lazy and just doesn’t want to put in the effort. She’s pretty intense when she wants to be and very observant of their situation. She’s a warrior so she’s always ready to be on the move. I like Mera, she’s a “go get em” kind of girl. Amber Heard was fine in the role, I can’t say that no one else could play the part but she’s fine. My biggest problem, but it’s not her fault I guess, is her wig didn’t look good when it wasn’t wet or moving in the water. On land it looked pretty bad.
  • Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko. He is Atlantis’ counselor, he mentored and trained Arthur when he was younger. There’s not a ton to say about him but Willem Dafoe is always a win.
  • Patrick Wilson as Orm Marius. He is Arthur Curry’s Atlantean half-brother and ruler of Atlantis. He wants to unite the seven underwater kingdoms to declare war on the surface world out of the belief that humanity polluted the seas. He does a ton of talking in this movie about what he wants to do and how he’s going to do it. I mean, I think he has a point about some of the things he says, but he definitely spends this movie glaring and talking. I like Patrick Wilson so I thought his character could have used a bit more nuance overall otherwise he’s pretty interesting.
  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane / Black Manta. He is a ruthless pirate and a high-seas mercenary who seems to like creating deadly technological innovations. He already has a grudge against Arthur at the beginning because I guess he’s thwarted his plans before but he really ends up hating him and spends the entire movie trying to get revenge. I haven’t seen Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in a ton of things where he’s the lead but I like him, I think he’s charismatic and interesting to watch overall. I’m curious to see what happens with his character in the future.
  • Nicole Kidman as Atlanna. She’s not in this movie a ton, but in the beginning,  she has this badass fight scene and I thought that was the best part of the film with her. Nicole Kidman is generally always a win and she was.
Cool Action. There are some really cool actions sequences in this movie. Particularly in that little Italian village, that entire sequence while Arthur is fighting Black Manta and Mera is running across the roofs, that was really nice. It made up for the random explosion that happened right before. I also thought the fight between Arthur and Orm at the end was pretty nice as well. Oh! I can’t forget about Nicole Kidman’s awesome fight sequence when the Atlantean soldiers burst into her home, it was sooo dope. I was like look at you Nicole!
Character Chemistry. I thought Jason Momoa and Amber Heard had nice chemistry. Whether or not it was romantic remains to be seen in further films but I thought they at least worked well together as colleagues. They had really nice banter when they went back and forth and it just seemed natural.
Visual Effects… Some.I will get into this more later. But some of the visual effects in this movie are dope. The one that comes to mind immediately is Mera’s jellyfish looking dress during the Ring of Fire. Y’all, that thing was amazing. I also think the swimming and talking underwater for the most part is pretty nice as well.
Cons:
Opening Narration!I NEED MOVIES TO STOP USING OPENING NARRATION WHEN WE CAN CLEARLY SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE SCREEN! I don’t need Arthur to tell him his dad met the love of his life when I can clearly see it. Gosh it’s so annoying. You talking just ruins the moment! SHUT UP!
WHAT IS WITH ALL THE EXPLOSIONS!Y’all, I swear we get like five explosions in this movie that signal a shocking moment. I’m sure there’s probably less lol but every time someone was having a serious moment, it was undercut by the enemy finding them with an explosion! It happens so much. Like so much it’s ridiculous. Once okay, twice is pushing it but three times… that’s too much.
Inconsistent. This movie has a lot of confusing inconsistencies. I won’t even get into the stuff that connects this movie to Justice League, which is where we first saw Arthur because boy… but anyways, one thing I noticed is how Arthur reacts to things. It’s almost like the movie doesn’t know what they want him to be. Is he dumb? Is he smart? Is he just supposed to be commenting on things? I mean… you have him in one scene not being able to remember parts of the prophecy, but then later you have him talking about history stuff AND he does actually remember parts of the prophecy… was it just a joke? But why? It’s a serious moment? Not to mention, how dangerous the whole quest thing is but what about Atlanna? How did she know about the Karathan? Did she try and get the trident and failed but she managed to live? There’s a lot of this that goes on. Oram seemed to not trust Vulko but he waits till the end to say something? Meh.
Visual Effects. I saw a lot of talk about the visual effects in this movie and how it should have been nominated for an Oscar, so I was expecting like amazing effects but meh. I didn’t think they were that great most of the time. All of the Atlantis stuff looked really fake and it looked too much like a video game. It’s cool when a video game looks like a movie but not vice versa because things get into the uncanny valley and it’s too weird.
Villains Use and Storylines. So, we technically have two villains in this movie. Black Manta is one of them and I think he’s really wasted in the film. Don’t get me wrong, he’s interesting and the actor does a really good job. I really think he would be intimidating but he’s really wasted. We see him pretty early and we solidify his reasons to dislike Arthur, which I get but at the same time, y’all did that to yourselves… anyway, that could have been the last time we saw him until the end credit scene and then we know he’s the next villain. Instead they kept trying to pepper him throughout the film and I was like meh, it’s so unnecessary to have him be in this. The other villain is his half-brother… spoiler alert, I guess? I mean it’s kind of obvious right? Anyways, he thinks he’s doing the right thing, so that’s already set up for a good villain because the ones who think they’re right make sense, but he talks way too much, it doesn’t aid in me thinking he’s a good villain.
Too Long. This movie is 2 hours and about 38 minutes long. It’s just too long because there were things in this movie that could have been shaved down or even cut out because it wasn’t really necessary for this film. One of those things was the inclusion of Black Manta. Don’t get me wrong, he’s kind of interesting and I think the actor was great with what we saw of him, but the problem is he seemed like an afterthought. Cut him out in general and that’s a good probably 20 minutes from the film and they could have introduced him in the sequel.
Overall, I enjoyed Aquaman a bit more than I thought I would. I liked all the characters enough and the acting was fine across the board. This is a usual hero story where he needs to complete the prophecy in order to do the thing that needs to be done, even though he doesn’t want to. Ya know, that story. There is some cool action in this film, especially Nicole’s scene at the beginning and the little Italy scene. Some of the effects are  really cool and the characters have chemistry. Now, on the other hand, I did not think the  visual effects were as good as people were saying, it looked too much like a video game and there were times where I could barely see what was going on because the effects weren’t that great and it was murky looking. The villains weren’t that great as villain overall. I felt like they were wasted, particularly Black Manta. I also think the movie is ultimately inconsistent as well. Too many times Arthur’s personality just wouldn’t seem to PICK ONE! But ya know, the movie is fine.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Aquaman? What are your thoughts on the film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
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