Now Showing: Aquaman

by David Gifford


Aquaman is the latest film in the “DC Extended Universe,” which has had such films as Wonder Woman and Justice League. It isn’t a controversial statement to say that the film universe has had a lot of problems getting off of the ground. Many people didn’t like Batman vs Superman (I did), and has always felt one step behind Marvel. The series ever since has had some decent movies, but still feels like it is at a full-on sprint trying to catch up and often misses a lot of things on the way.

James Wan, director of The Conjuring movie series, tries to create a superhero origin story that people will care about. The movie stars Jason Momoa (Justice League) as Arthur or Aquaman, Amber Heard (The Rum Diary) as Mera, and Willem Dafoe (Streets of Fire) as Vulko.

Besides the aforementioned actors, Aquaman has many others, such as Nicole Kidman and Dolph Lundgren. The performances are good, especially from the core cast. Momoa is likely to become a mega-star some time down the road even without the Aquaman name. He has incredible charisma and looks a lot like a future action movie star. Amber Heard is also great in the movie.

While the visuals often are cheesy, the filmmakers at least tried to create a nice aesthetic for the movie. The film is extremely colorful and takes a unique spin on the underwater look. The bright colors, flying around on seahorses, weird underwater ships, cities in shambles but still functioning well. While the film lacks a sense of place or set building, it all still looks good. Too bad the world was never really built and made to feel like an actual place.

Aquaman has some glaring problems. Firstly, the CGI (computer-generated imaging) is as rocky as it gets. There will be a lot of people defending the appearance of the film, but I urge audiences to look at many of the other all CGI-heavy movies in the past and how they look today. Aquaman will likely look dated five years from now. Not to mention the fact that it already looks dated when comparing it to other CGI-heavy movies like Bumblebee or Avengers.

The movie also lacks any sort of sense of pace. A good hour of the movie could have easily been edited to make for a breezier watch. Maybe for the first time viewing 2 hours and 30 minutes won’t be too bad, but any subsequent viewings are going to suffer from the unnecessary scenes and often slow pace.

The film’s story isn’t terribly interesting. It is commendable that the film used a lot of comic elements, but the story feels thrown together and generic.

Overall, Aquaman is a good effort, but it never really makes for a good movie. While there are certainly going to be people who will enjoy it, many of those people are likely happy to see another superhero movie in the theater. Aquaman will likely age poorly, and will likely be irrelevant in a couple of years.

Aquaman gets a 5/10 and is worth rental if you are interested in the DC Comics Universe.


David Gifford is a college student, a sales rep for The Mountain Echo and a gaming and movie enthusiast. Check out his podcast: Reasonably Reel.