Aquaman – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Aquaman – Watering Down the Hero’s Tale

Comic book films are a dime a dozen.  No matter how you spin it, the tale of the hero has been repeated many times before.  Playing along the lines of all comic book tropes, you have a film that goes head first into its own lore.  Bringing a colorful splash of the underwater world is a journey that becomes another familiar path.  Even with a fun lead character, Aquaman beats that drum of any typical hero’s tale.

The one great thing about this film is its titular character.  Aquaman/Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is the lead of all leads because Momoa is completely invested in the role.  From the obnoxious banter, aloof personality to the cheesy one-liners, you have a vibrant hero that plays to the fun of the story.  Between the action elements to his strong persona, he embodies a version of Aquaman that stands on its own within a basic ‘hero’s quest’ outline.  You see how a boy of two worlds (through flashbacks) is taught the lessons of Atlantis so that he would eventually become the hero he was born to be.  Everything is predictable, cliché and goes beat-by-beat with comic book tropes.  The obvious foreshadowing of a predictable outcome makes the introduction of other characters, expanded lore and the underwater world seem mundane.  The lively colors and intuitive character designs are amazing to see, but there is no context to the imaginative visuals.  As Aquaman encounters Atlantis and other characters, the only thing that is intriguing is the entry into the unknown.  The heavy contrast comes through the unhinging transitions of exposition and action scenes, creating a dulling of the senses.  The rest of the characters are completely wooden (minus Mera – explained later), bringing lifelessness to the potential of what this journey could have been.  This also creates a lot of unnecessary secondary plots that become convoluted in the main story.  There is overexposure, creating a lack of any sensible development.  You take everything ‘as is’ and just hope it comes together.

As you move through the latter half of the film, the hero’s quest becomes more prevalent, being forced through more exposition that explains the truth about Aquaman and Atlantis.  The missing piece to his powers is only heighten by his interactions with Mera (Amber Herd).  Their relationship has a great balance of comedy and drama, but it is the only emotional context you have with this world.  Once everything comes to head, the third act/climax turns into a cluttering of CGI characters, over-the-top action and anti-climatic confrontations of Aquaman and Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson).  Through the trivial mess, what you expect happens, leading to the true hero emerging.  Aquaman is a mess of many things, but it never completely falters as a whole.  There are some good moments, but overall there isn’t anything you haven’t seen.  I say, go see it if you’re a fan of the comics, otherwise wait for a cheaper date on the calendar to watch. 

Final Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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