By Drake Vittitow
“Wonder Woman” may be the best DCEU movie to date, but “Aquaman” is the most entertaining from start to finish.
Arthur Curry is a half-Atlantean half-human son of a lighthouse keeper and the then queen of Atlantis. When the queen is forced to return to Atlantis, she is executed for bearing a son with a human. Because of this, Arthur rejects the throne.
Shortly after learning of his mother’s fate, Orm (Arthur’s half-brother) decides that he will unite the four kingdoms of Atlantis. These actions will earn him the title of Ocean Master. Mera (Orm’s fiancé) refuses to help him and journeys to the surface to ask Arthur, known later as Aquaman, for help. Arthur reluctantly accepts and begins a journey to stop Orm from claiming the throne.
First things first, this movie is the brainchild between an Indiana Jones adventure and silly cartoons from the 90s. It has all the machismo and masculinity of a “Rocky” movie (Dolph Lundgren is a freaking ocean king for God’s sake), but it also is a movie that is aware of how silly it is. Because of this, it works as an advantage.
Jason Momoa as Aquman is an A+ casting choice. He embodies the character in such a way that makes his words and actions seem effortless.
Aquaman needs to be funny and carefree.
We do not need another Batman wannabe.
Patrick Wilson does a great job with Orm (this movie is the 5th time Wan and Wilson have worked together), but the star villain of this show is Black Manta (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). His motives are more unique and understandable. Orm’s motives are more cookie-cutter and cliché. Because of this, I found myself enjoying the scenes with Black Manta a little more.
But what makes this movie stand out from the other DCEU movies?
The action scenes.
I have never seen action scenes in the way I did with “Aquaman.” Wan shoots the action scenes in beautiful wide shots so the audience can see everything that is happening at all times. Nothing ever escapes the eye.
Pair this with the fact that this is the most colorful movie the DCEU has to offer (even more than “Wonder Woman”), and “Aquaman” creates a unique and diverse atmosphere unlike anything the DC universe has seen before.
The color and atmosphere in this film are orgasmic. One second, the audience is transported to the Atlantean Coliseum and the next, they are in the Sahara Desert. Wan made it pertinent that this story spanned worlds both real and make believe. He passed with flying colors.
However, this movie is not without its faults.
The first quarter of this movie drags a bit. In part because Arthur’s backstory feels rushed and the audience does not get a fully fleshed out childhood depiction. The story itself is quite cliché as well. There are many times in this movie where the audience might think that the titular characters are simply going and retrieving things the whole time.
It gets quite repetitive.
Also, I am sure there are people who will bring up the movie’s use of CGI (it is always brought up in DC films for some reason). Yes, there is a lot of CGI being used, but it is all necessary and looks natural. Sometimes, practicality simply cannot be used for grandeur movies like this.
There will be people that watch this movie and think it is stupid. They are going to ask themselves why they payed fifteen bucks to go see a movie where an octopus plays the drums before a gladiator battle. Whether or not riding seahorses into battle is appealing to the eye, this movie throws caution to the wind and amps up the weird factor to 10.
But that is what makes it so great. It knows how silly it is and it never takes itself too seriously. Wan created a superhero film that will cater to fans of the Silver Age Aquaman as well as fans who love an entertaining adventure story.
I think it is high time that we start taking the King of the Seven Seas seriously.