DC Comics' newest movie "Aquaman" came out Friday Dec. 21.
December 22, 2018
Lukewarm start doesn’t stall “Aquaman,” as DC finally lands one
One and a half years removed from the their last box office hit in “Wonder Woman,” DC has failed to consistently pump out quality superhero movies as opposed to its rival, Marvel. That is until now. “Aquaman” avoids the time old trap origin stories generally get tripped up with, over explaining the how the superhero came to be, and instead promptly delivers the audience with a classic comic book movie to rival those of Marvel’s past. Yet, before praise is heaped on “Aquaman,” let’s dive into its slow start.
The audience starts off by learning Arthur Curry, otherwise known as Aquaman and played by Jason Momoa, is of half Atlantean blood and half human. Curry has a strained relationship with the ocean kingdom, Atlantis, to which he is the rightful heir, but is currently ruled by his younger half-brother, Orm, in his absence. Orm, played by Patrick Wilson, holds resentment toward surface dwellers for their constant pollution of his ocean, hence placing himself at odds with Curry.
To ease the audience into the movie and to the character, Curry and other characters give their best attempts to make the audience laugh, but their humor falls flat initially. Yet, as the plot develops, so does the humor.
The main story arc follows Curry’s quest for the fabled trident of the first king of Atlantis, Atlan. Along the way, Curry picks up an ally in Mera, played by Amber Heard, and although betrothed to Orm, Mera likewise seeks to avoid a war between the ocean and the surface.
Throughout the movie, “Aquaman” includes a variety of unique fight scenes, a testament to director James Wan’s background. Also the director of “Furious 7” and “The Conjuring,” Wan employs a few jump scares just to make sure the audience is watching.
“Aquaman” introduces two major foes of Curry, Orm and Black Manta. The movie readily provides the background for each, in sense being an origin for the two villains plus Curry. Manta, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, takes the backseat for most of the movie, but is cast into prominence later in the movie, when teased as an upcoming villain in the series.
Although experiencing a lull in action to kickoff the story of Arthur Curry and his ascent to the throne, Aquaman provides a multitude of action scenes and eventual comic relief to satisfy all ages this holiday season.
There are other fish in the sea
The 2018 DC film, Aquaman serves as the pseudo origin story of one of DC’s most notable
heroes, meaning his actual origins are barely explored. The movie opens on his parents and
his early life when he can barely speak, and suddenly the scene shifts to Aquaman fighting crime as a
grown adult. While the film flashes back to his training, in total these flashbacks only take
up five, if not less, minutes of screen time. This lack of context for his story brings in confusion
to the viewer when he mentions his past. The story makes more sense as the movie goes on,
but the necessity for explanation in the beginning is quite frustrating.
The camerawork in the action scenes is distracting. It shows ambition that the director is trying
new things with the filmography, but some of the angles and tracking in these high-paced
scenes is enough to give someone a headache. While the story of the film was generally
interesting, it relied on numerous movie clichés. The scavenger hunt across the world story-line
has been beaten to death at this point, and while it can still be interesting, it isn’t refreshing
and can take away a movies chance to truly stand out. The dialogue is full of cheesy lines and
lame phrases that seem to gimp the acting. This leads into one of my biggest issues with
“Aquaman.” The movie can’t decide whether it wants to be a classic dark DC story, or a happy-
go-lucky funny adventure. There are times when the gravity of the situations are immense, and
in the next couple of scenes the writers lean on slap-stick comedy to get an easy laugh. While
the humor was pretty funny, it just seemed out of place in the film. Additionally, whenever
something seemed to go well for the protagonists, the writers couldn’t come up with any
creative segues, so they threw in explosions and ambushes at least four times throughout the
two hour and a half movie.
The movie takes a while to really get up on its feet and run, causing it to feel
longer than it is. However, when it does, the story is really fun. The characters are likeable, the
settings are incredible and the ending is really great. What the film lacks in general is
overturned by the actual story and situations the characters find themselves are genuinely fun
to watch. The release of “Aquaman” shows that DC is starting to get a bit of a grip on what the
audience wants to see. This movie exceeds past DC movies like 2013’s “Man of
Steel,” or even 2016’s “Suicide Squad.” “Aquaman” shows great improvement and provides a
good sign for the future of DC films.