'Aquaman' Movie Review Starring Jason Momoa
First things first. Did I think this Aquaman installment tried too hard? In a word—no.
Am I a DC Comics enthusiast who waits with baited breath for the next superhero movie to come along? Absolutely not. I am a horror enthusiast and although I fancy a bit of superhero action, I'm much more excited about the release of The New Mutants, set for August 1st, 2019.
I'd heard a lot of feedback about this movie prior to going and the consensus was that Aquaman was under-par. After I watched it, I wondered why. Not only was this feature film 2 hours and 20 minutes long (hefty runtime for any movie) but for me, a horror fan, I had a rip-roaring time.
The Young Arthurs
Arthur aka Aquaman was played by seven actors to mark each journey through life and all were spectacular. My favorite was Kaan Guldar (The Lego Ninjago Movie 2017) who showed the bullies what's what. While visiting the aquarium and without saying a lot, if you didn't find the scene with the shark bashing against the glass everything you wanted and more then I've nothing further to add.
- Twins Tainui and Tamor Kirkwood covered a few scenes at three years old with Denzel Quirke thrown in for good measure.
- I adored Otis Dhanji's underwater exploration and superhero powers discovery alongside William Dafoe as Vulko.
- At sixteen, Kekoa Kekumano started in with the trident and brought the attitude to the underlying character, we see later on in Jason Mamoa who everyone recognizes as the face of it all.
Quick Film Information
Director: James Wan.
Writers: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall, Geoff Johns, James Wan (story) Paul Norris and, Mort Weisinger are the Aquaman creators.
Production company is DC Comics and Distribution from Warner Bros.
Starring: Jason Mamoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and, Dolph Lundgren. But did you notice the voice of the Karathen was nonother than Julie Andrews!
Release: The UK got it first on Nov 26th, 2018. Due for VOD 25th January 2019.
The Comedic Accents and Cinematic References of Aquaman
You've got to admit, this movie was hilarious. Is that why some were disappointed? Did the die-hard comic book fans want a serious movie?
I don't know if the whole audience was laughing when I was. I felt like almost every part of the movie was tongue-in-cheek and I loved it. How could you take this film seriously when it's PG-13 rated and, not intended to be scary. If you want a serious take, write down the nods to dozens of other films squashed into this.
It was as if the innate feeling of comic book characters had been infused onto the silver screen. When I read that part of Wan's inspiration for this film was taken from Romancing the Stone, it all made perfect sense to how I felt about this installation. Like characters from a novel peeled off the pages and sticky taped onto the big screen.
I was hard pressed spotting all the references jammed into the epic underwater Star Wars. Some examples that had me giggling were:
The giant oversized head of Manta and a quote redesigned from Jaws.
"I'm gonna need a bigger helmet."
The almost porn-style music with throbbing beats as Mamoa walks through steam in slow motion while on the submarine and the Bay Watch-esque ocean emergence of Mera and Aquaman from the ocean.
Then there is the one-liner like the one from a crab soldier who throws out the sentence from Braveheart (1995.)
"You can take my armies Atlantian but you will never take my allegiance!"
Arthur greeting Mera with the words
" Hey, Fight Club."
And of course the opening scene with Nicole Kidman had me reminiscing about the film Splash with Daryl Hanna from 1984. If Tom had taken Atlanna out to a restaurant for seafood, I would have been rolling on the floor in fits of laughter.
They even threw in a line from Once Were Warriors as a retort from Atlanna munching on a goldfish with;
"I was going to cook you some eggs"
For some reason, I didn't much care for Kidman's performance in this film, despite being a quasi-fan of hers. I would have much preferred Daryl Hannah, though I'm positive she would have made an equally unimpressive warrior.
The Fight Scenes Were on Point (Except for Kidman's)
Who doesn't love a shark movie? I would have to say they are my favorite types of films. I was hugely disappointed in the sequel in 2018 of Deep Blue Sea 2 as well as the partially enjoyable The Meg. Where those two films failed, Aquaman made up for them.
Weaponized shark armies and Calvary seahorses and, all the creatures under the sea as an extended war-like army. It was all pretty cool if you ask me.
As far as the fight scenes go, they were awesome. This is a films stuffed with so much CGI, you'd be forgiven if you thought it was an animation and not made with real people. I must add, that again I didn't buy Nicole's portrayal as a queen and the fighting scene at the beginning cemented that for me.
I'll also add that I almost thought Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire was going to be playing when King Orm and Aquaman finally enjoyed some fisticuffs.
Overall What Did I Think of the Movie?
One thing I noticed was the mixture of story-telling early on that finally led to the flashback-like segments to relay the histories within the story. I much preferred the voice-over parts combined with the replays (like when Arthur is taught how he can talk under water.) Compared to instances when individual characters talked to each other about the past, I think I would have been happier had they all been flashbacks.
Although I seem to be beating up Nicole as Queen Atlanna a fair bit, it can't be helped. Atlanna is a warrior and I feel Kidman was very much miscast here. In nearly every other instance including Amber's serious monotone dialogue, I felt no chemistry between her and any other character. I didn't feel the swell of emotion I should have felt when a scene I won't spoil eventually came to light. Not like I did at the end of Romancing the Stone when Joan Wilder sees that sailboat on the horizon— now there’s some actors with chemistry.
As far as having James Wan do this film, I am pretty stoked. Wan is for the most part, a horror director and writer. Having him immersed in such an awesome action film reinvigorates my love of the work this guy does (especially after The Nun and Lights Out.) I loved that he placed the Annabelle doll from The Conjuring franchise on the floor when Arthur meets with Vulko and am simply amazed at the angle this came from overall.
As a whole, this movie was amazing and I wish I had been a fan of it while it was filming in my home town, not too far to where I live. I hope that he goes for another one in this line of characters.
Whether or not you think you are or aren't a DC Comic book fan, you're sure to find something to enjoy in this. Highly recommend.
I give Aquaman
4 Mamoa is the Skywalker of the sea out of 5.
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