Finally, I have gone and seen “Aquaman,” which came out four weeks ago, and now I will let everyone know what I thought about it.
Graeme Tuckett started her review out by admitting, “I walked out of 2017’s needlessly tedious Justice League into a frigid northern winter night thinking Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s Flash were by far the most entertaining characters in that benighted film.”
Tuckett continued, “Like you, I’ve been bashed around the eyes and ears too often by this DC Comic’s franchise, with its patronising insistence on spectacle over storytelling, complete inability to acknowledge the inherent silliness of a genre based on middle-aged men in rubber suits saving the world by punching things, and scripts that have too often betrayed the occasional brilliance of the original comic books.”
One word: “Martha.”
However, “Wonder Woman” was completely great, with some actual jokes and personalities to move the turmoil forward. Now, thankfully, “Aquaman” is here to keep that good work going.
Aquaman is a half-son of Atlantis, raised by Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison), a lighthouse keeper (making a joke about cooking some eggs with one of his very first lines) after an Atlantean princess named Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) is taken back to the Kingdom of Atlantis under the charge of falling in love with a human.
The mandatory and really familiar hero’s journey traits start showing really early, with a majority of the film taking place in the present day, a year or more after “Justice League.”
Tuckett said, “But, where DC in the past would have allowed their male lead to descend into a lifeless morass of weaponised moping, this Aquaman actually seems to enjoy his life.”
Jason Momoa is a really talented funny actor, and he brings a good humor and enthusiasm to this film which keeps it going along even though, or as a response to, the boring and predictability of the plotting.
A supporting cast is filled with terrific character actors helps a lot. Patrick Wilson can be boring and forgettable as Momoa’s half-brother and enemy, Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Amber Heard, Michael Beach, Yahya Abdul-Mateen and (no kidding) Dolph Lundgren all act like they’re more than happy to be in this film.
Tuckett noted, “I saw Moana again a few nights ago, so maybe I was in exactly the right headspace to make the connection, but Momoa’s Aquaman truly reminded me mightily of Dwayne Johnson’s work as the animated Maui in that film.” Momoa brings the same playfulness, comedy grooming and enjoyment to the character.
Unlike so many of DC’s characters, this one isn’t an orphan looking for vengeance and redemption. He’s a man with a home, a family and a reason to be happy.
Tuckett commented, “Or, as Momoa plays him, he is, like Maui, explicitly a Polynesian demi-God, complete with a shark tooth tatau adorning his arms and chest and a pounamu the size of your Mum’s meatloaf around his neck.”
This Aquaman isn’t the unclearly Nordic character the comics once had. Tuckett said, “He is pretty much Tangaroa, God of the sea, and a more fitting Hollywood salute to the world’s greatest ever sea-faring people would be hard to imagine.”
Tuckett continued, “I truly believe that any film which understands its purpose and its reason to exist – its kaupapa – will always find an audience. While the films designed to do nothing but turn a profit, are often the ones that fail the hardest.”
“Aquaman” does everything we want a big-budget superhero movie to do, but it also remembers (like “Wonder Woman” before it, and hopefully the rest of the DC Extended Universe movies to be released) to have a heart, and something other than just bravado to give us for even thinking of showing up.
I’m on board with everyone when I say that this movie is definitely the second best of the DC Extended Universe to date. I loved the action, the characters, the writing, the jokes that were snuck in there and even the visuals were just a masterpiece. Credit goes to James Wan for making this movie the way he did. Definitely more lighter in tone compared to a couple of the past ones. Another one of my favorite comic book adaptations, especially in the DC Universe. Don’t miss your chance to see this in the theaters, you will absolutely love this one, I promise.
Spoiler alert: In the mid-credits scene, David (Abdul-Mateen) is rescued by Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park), a scientist obsessed with finding Atlantis, and agrees to lead Shin there in exchange for his help in his revenge on Aquaman.