Aquaman Review

Caroline Coyne, Staff Writer

At this point, nobody expects DC movies to be good. Wonder Woman was an anomaly in a sea of poorly adapted characters and oddly horrible scripts. It seems as though the comic book based entertainment company reached its peak during the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, starring Christian Bale, and hasn’t been able to get a quality series going since. Coming off the heels of Justice League, Aquaman promised to bring the sea- based hero to life and redeem the live-action Justice League franchise. In what is essentially a much worse underwater Black Panther, Aquaman met low expectations with an even lower quality movie.

Aquaman follows Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), a half- human, half-Atlantean, who must travel to the underwater city of Atlantis and claim the throne from his power- hungry brother Orm (Patrick Wilson). In order to do this, he must find the Trident of Atlan, with the help of Mera (Amber Heard), while evading the vengeful Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). The plot is simplistic and should’ve made for an entertaining movie, and yet the two and a half hour film has so few interesting moments that it drags.

One thing I can compliment the movie on is the wardrobe chosen for certain characters. Amber Heard’s Mera and Nicole Kidman’s Atlanna, Arthur’s Atlantean mother, have beautifully designed costumes that fit each character’s personality for both their land and underwater sequences. Black Manta looks as though he stepped right off the comic book page without looking gimmicky. Half of the wardrobe department knew what they were doing and they did it well. This does not excuse the fact that the other half of the department seemed to be under the impression that they were designing for a Daft Punk music video. Arthur spent half of the movie running from hit men, hired by Orm, that looked like the villain from Sky High. Though I expected “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” to start playing at any given point in time, the actual soundtrack was confusing and straight up terrible. From awkwardly utilized ballads to cover of “Africa” by Pitbull, the only good music was the fifteen second electric guitar riff that played when Jason Momoa showed up.

There are many more criticisms to be made, but in actuality there were parts of the movie I enjoyed, most of them being battle sequences. One battle in particular has Mera using her ability to manipulate liquid to create daggers made of wine. The graphics were impressive and it was an altogether awesome moment. Another uses a style of directing in which the camera follows each movement characters make in battle in one long shot. This type of technique can be seen in Kingsman. Another, the final battle, has dramatic lighting, a dynamic setting, and creates a tense atmosphere. Though there was little to no emotional lead up to the fight, I could still feel anxious due to the way the scene was put together.
Overall, the only reason someone would watch this movie is so that they could understand future DCEU films. It certainly wasn’t the worst DC movie ever made, because Green Lantern, Batman V. Superman, and Catwoman exist, but it also didn’t bring DC any closer to creating actual competition for Marvel. In 2019 fans are expecting a live- action Shazam!, starring Zachary Levi, and a new adaptation of the Joker in Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, to hopefully redeem the reputation of the DC universe.