Aquaman is the story of Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), first son of the Queen of Atlantis and rightful heir to the throne. But the problem is Arthur does not care for his Atlantean heritage and when his half brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) threatens war against the surface dwellers a red-headed princess (Amber Heard) recruits Arthur to stop the coming conflict. Yes, this is yet another comic book film. But this time it is directed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) so that has to mean it is promising, right?
Future Snub Waiting: Aquaman excels in one area clearly from the beginning of the film and to the very end: special effects. The film is beautiful. The audience can easily become lost in the visuals of Atlantis and the other several kingdoms highlighted in the story. The visuals go beyond the CGI cities and sea creatures. The practical effects are far more impressive than recent science fiction films and most comic book films. Fighting sequences are stunning and that is no surprise behind cinematographer Don Burgess who has multiple action films under his belt. Combine those talents with Kirk Morri, editor for more than a handful of action films, Aquaman quickly becomes eye candy. There also needs to be some recognition to costume design for this film as very little was CGI and each outfit is detailed and accustomed to each character.
Charismatic: Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, and Amber Heard all bring a memorable performance in the film. Momoa made Aquaman a cool character that previously had always been the focus of tuna salad jokes. His one-liners are cocky and unlike the original comic book character, but it is exactly what Aquaman needed. Imagine what Chris Hemsworth did for the character of Thor and essentially you get the impact Momoa has on Aquaman. Patrick Wilson is fairly comfortable with being directed by James Wan by now and produces the best villain of a DCEU film to date. Willem Dafoe and Amber Heard are both solid supporting roles and have lots of potential for the future of this film franchise
The Bad is So Bad: Aquaman should be a very fine film with its casting and direction. But the script to this movie is so bad that it completely overpowers the good of Aquaman. At times this film could be called “Exposition-Man”. There is no effort to tell this story through filmmaking. The script is lazy and has characters giving the audience a history lesson every twenty minutes. Not even James Wan can make an exposition scene work. That is why it is never entertaining to have a character tell a story when it can just be shown or alluded to. Every time the film is picking up there is a brick wall of exposition and history slapped on the screen that is absolutely draining. Another hard to watch aspect of the film is the obvious romance between Arthur and Mera. Momoa and Heard have plenty of on-screen chemistry, and these characters are destined to fall in love. However, the script offers one of the flattest and cheesiest romantic build-ups of any major blockbuster. This kills what should be a powerful story of two worlds crossed and a forbidden love.