Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Dolph Lundgreen, & Willem Dafoe
Directed By: James Wan (The Conjuring)
Runtime: 2 hours 23 minutes
The lamest comic book character of all-time gets his solo big screen debut after being the best part of Justice League last year. Jason Momoa relishes the role of the half-man half-mermaid King. He is having the time of his life as the DC hero who can communicate with underwater creatures and lives on land like you and me. He’s a drunk, a smart alleck, and a viral star in this movie.
He learns his mother is a mermaid Queen, played by Nicole Kidman, and his dad is a run of the mill lighthouse keeper. When enemies of the Queen attack the family’s home, Kidman decides it’s time to leave and go back under the sea for the betterment of the family. Aquaman grows up without a mother. Enemies eventually find Aquaman and threaten his home life. He goes under water to fight these forces.
If it all sounds really dumb, don’t worry it is. But the movie knows that and keeps it in mind for quite a while. It’s enjoyable because it’s in on the joke. The first half is fun, dumb, and cheesy. Similar to a 90s superhero movie when we didn’t ask much of the plot, just a special effects driven wonderland. We get that here for about 45 minutes to an hour. Then the movie becomes convoluted and takes itself too seriously. Taking us to a dozen different locations, three different side quests at least, before our final battle.
That’s when the movie lost me. There’s so many locations, it seemed like so much was going on, but nothing really was. The movie is really concerned with laying out the underwater politics of going to war. Needing votes from this many kingdoms before allowing one tribe to battle another. Probably could have just skipped all that. It would have trimmed time off this slog of a movie, which clocks in at nearly two and a half hours. Excessive.
Jason Momoa is the only actor in the movie having any fun. Amber Heard is wooden, but attractive. Willem Dafoe feels out of place, and Dolph Lundgreen is just shocking to see in a movie where he isn’t playing Ivan Drago. There’s a scene where Aquaman must fight a family member to be King of a mysterious world that no human has ever been to…which sounds SUPER derivative of Black Panther earlier this year.
Aquaman starts off as a fun journey, does a nice job of creating the world in which the movie takes place, but then it devolves into a super serious political thriller when we want superhero action. Fight scenes. Explosions. You were on the right track, but then it’s almost as if you had extra money to spend, and used it all to do underwater effects at the end. What makes it more confusing is that after all that, it’s still probably the 2nd best DC movie after Wonder Woman.
On a scale of "See It/Stream It/Skip It" I'd say skip it. It’s worth seeing if you’re a huge fan of comics in general, but it doesn’t really appeal to anyone outside of the current fan base. Besides women who want to see Jason Momoa, in which case I give it a resounding See It.
If you liked Wonder Woman, Justice League, or Venom you might like Aquaman
2 out of 5 stars for Aquaman
I forgot most of the good stuff by the end of the 2 and a half hours