Nerdlocker Movie Review: Aquaman


The DCEU is a limping animal that needs to be put out of our misery. Wonder Woman is a shining beacon in an otherwise dismal, half-hearted endeavor that refuses to re-examine itself and maybe, just maybe consider that things have fallen off the rails. Justice League and Batman v. Superman are so off target it hurts the soul of any fans that wanted to love it all so much. And now we have Aquaman in his first solo outing in a film that I am sure is to divide more than any previous DC movie before it. The films that came before are pretty much unanimously despised but Aquaman is garnering reactions from both sides of the coin. Some have called it a return to fun comic book movies with crazy action and silly characters and having it all happen on purpose. I am, unfortunately, on the other side of things. For my money Aquaman is an overlong stress test to see just how much a person can take before walking out. And the plot doesn’t help any whatsoever either.

Much like many of the other actors cast as DC characters, Jason Momoa is a great choice for the role of Arthur Curry. Just as Affleck was great for Batman and Cavill for Superman and of course Gadot for Wonder Woman, the casting for the most part has been fantastic for the DCEU. It would seem however that any chance for quality adventures was blown on casting and the stories left to those not exactly qualified. And the visuals… even when doused in colors it all still feels drab and kind of depressing. Aquaman is at times vibrant with visuals reminiscent of James Cameron’s Avatar but still manages so many scenes hidden underneath one or two tone color palettes that drag down an otherwise competently realized, visually stimulating world of underwater wonderment. This is a great summation of the film overall; an adventure film with great potential that never fully realizes any of it.

As I said Jason Momoa is perfectly cast and carries this dying animal to its most enthusiastic (which is sad) conclusion, that Aquaman is just… okay. Amber Heard magically isn’t the worst actor on screen here managing a tolerable performance as the love interest disguised as a badass shell of what a true badass is, aka Wonder Woman. They attempt to make her a strong independent woman who doesn’t need any man but ultimately ends up as every supporting actress does in these kinds of movies, in the arms of the “real hero”. The only thing more predictable than her character arc or lack thereof is the plot itself.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A man walks into a bar and he’s a half-breed not fully accepted in either world that combined years ago to create him. From the world of man and the world of a long hidden city he doesn’t feel welcome in either. He must prove his worth by defeating the so-called pureblood who wants to destroy the rival world as young naive men often do. But plot twist! They’re brothers! Gasp! The villain is as mundane and one dimensional as so many before him; his motivations are much the same. This movie is nearly two and a half hours long and the finale becomes obvious from about the thirty minute mark. It’s a long, predictable slog of mediocrity but eventually, thankfully, mercifully, provides a finish that finally releases the audience from its grasp.

I tried to appreciate that everything here was supposedly done on purpose. No matter how silly or eye roll inducing it may be I tried to see the fun side of it all but in the end it left me bored, half asleep and still wondering if the DCEU will ever get its shit together. With Momoa cast and James Wan at the helm, Aquaman was supposed to be the saving grace of this sinking ship, this dying animal, this slow trek into nothing of merit that the DCEU is quickly becoming with each new haphazard release.

Like I said, people have been loving this movie and others have been despising it as yet another missed opportunity by DC. All I can say is how I feel about it and say that if you too had any hope for this one maybe lessen your expectations and give it a go regardless. Maybe you’ll see what was apparently intended. If it was all intentional then I definitely missed the boat on this one. Here’s to more false hope for Shazam! being something worthwhile. I’ll try harder to keep my expectations in check from now on with the DCEU, no matter who’s behind or in front of the camera.

P.S.- Black Manta looks like a Power Rangers villain. Just saying…

Rated PG-13 For: sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Runtime: 143 minutes
After Credits Scene: Mid-Credits, yes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman
Directed By: James Wan

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 3.5
OVERALL: 2.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: No

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard