Director: James Wan
Release Date: December 21, 2018
Jason Momoa stars as the bro version of Aquaman. He wears biker clothes, chugs beer, and fights with his shirt off 95 percent of the time. Your sports talk radio host would describe him simply as BADASS.
The corny one-liners and shots that showcase his badass hair and his giant muscles are very jarring but about midway through the movie Momoa starts to win you over. If you’re patient, the bro talk starts to be at least kind of funny and you start to root for him. Jason Momoa is a cool Aquaman but I’m not sure he would be very successful in a different role, like other super hero actors such as Christian Bale or Ben Affleck. Regardless of versatility he’s for sure a better fit for Aquaman than Entourage pretty boy Vincent Chase.
The first half hour or so of this movie is really bad. It opens with voiceover from Jason Momoa describing how his (Aquaman) parents met and highlights from his early childhood. His mother, Atlanta (Nicole Kidman), fled from her arranged marriage in Atlantis and washed up on his father’s lighthouse dock. About three years after having a kid (Aquaman), about six or so knockoff waterman Power Rangers show up at their house to try and take her back to Atlantis. During the chaos Aquaman’s father literally sits him (3 years old) in a corner to keep him safe — laser blasts, dudes busting through walls, mom throwing her trident at bad guys, so he sits his kid in the corner for safety. That seems picky but it made me laugh for all the wrong reasons and it set a tone for how bad I anticipated the rest of the movie being.
It takes about an hour before the movie actually gets good. Vulko (Willem Dafoe) and Mera (Amber Heard) bring Aquaman to Atlantis to challenge his brother for king and prevent a war with the surface. Soon after arriving to Atlantis Mera plans to help Aquaman look for a hidden trident that will give him the power of “Ocean Master” and overthrow his brother. This is the highlight of the movie. The relationship between Mera and Aquaman that grows over their journey in searching for this lost weapon on the surface. The scenes of them in Italy and the Sahara Desert are oddly the most entertaining considering the whole premise is around an underwater world.
The action scenes are exactly what you can expect out of any big budget comic book hero movie: Big explosions, dudes are thrown through buildings like rag dolls, and some close-up shots of faces to give us the few corny one-liners every action movie needs during a fight. That sounds like a bad thing, but it’s to be expected out of a movie like this and is very well done with a few shots that make you say, “Damn that was sick” to the person next to you.
When I see something that is just OK it can be difficult to say, is this worth a look? Yes? No? I think if you’re into the superhero thing then, yes, for sure go see Aquaman in theaters. If not, I just watched the new Avengers on Netflix and was happy with that experience, so I think this would fall into that category.