Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Aquaman' proves that DC is getting there.

Aquaman (2018) - IMDbStory

Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to Atlantis must prevent all-out war breaking out between the worlds above and below the water.

The story structure is a pretty straightforward one. You could actually look at it from two angles, either Arthur is the saviour of Atlantis coming back to right some of the wrongs or he is the prodigal son returning to cause problems. Having multiple perspectives like that gives the story more depth.

Acting 

The cast for this movie is impressive and has a lot more star power than I thought. It stars Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Matten II and Nicole Kidman. It also has cameos from a lot of famous faces (and voices) Randall Pak, Graham McTavish, Djimon Hounsou, John Rhys-Davis and Julie Andrews

I said in my review or Justice League (I will conveniently link it here)  that Jason Momoa wasn't really acting. And the same comment is applicable here. I can't comment on his acting because Arthur Curry and Jason Momoa are the same person. That doesn't mean he's unlikeable though, quite the opposite, he's funny and witty but the character as a whole isn't very layered. He kinda just there to have fun and you can tell that he was having the time of his life making this and it's kind of infectious. This really is his movie.

Amber Heard is an actress I haven't seen a lot of. I have seen movies that she's in but I don't remember her. I can't say that after watching this. Her performance is probably my favourite. She is able to go toe-to-toe with Jason Momoa and match him perfectly. The two of them have very good chemistry, it feels very organic. Mera never feels like the love interest, she has one of the most badass scenes in the movie involving wine. It's clear that the writers are aware of who her character is and didn't write her in just to be Arthur's love interest.

Patrick Wilson plays Orm and this is quite different from anything I have seen him do. For reference, his performance reminded me of the Thor in the sense that both are quite theatrical, but not in a bad way. He's one of the better and more memorable antagonists in the DCEU. His motivations and actions make sense and have narrative merit.

As far as supporting characters go the actors in this movie are very good, especially Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna, she has a grace that only Nicole Kidman has. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was also really good as Black Manta, even though he isn't in the movie much he leaves a pretty lasting impression. Willem Dafoe was also good as Vulko (but you don't need me to tell you that)

Writing/Direction 

The writing in this movie isn't bad, but it's very 'on the nose' and cliche. I could guess the entire plot of the movie and it becomes a problem when I can guess what the characters were going to say. ( I was right about 70% of the time) Granted I wasn't expecting Aquaman to leave me with deep-rooted questions, however, some scenes did come across as cheesy. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it and it isn't the first superhero movie with cliche moments, so it is forgiven, for the most part. There are comedic moments and while some of them worked a lot of them didn't which drags the movie down. There is also varying tone throughout, you have serious moments that are undercut with a joke which makes the moment feel cheap. 

James Wan was a very good choice to direct. Due to his horror roots, he's shown that he's very good at telling stories with elements of the fantastical. He's also shown that he is very good at directing blockbusters, especially considering the fact that the last blockbuster he directed grossed over $1 billion ($1,516,045,911 to be exact, according to Box Office Mojo). He's able to take a story that could be confusing and convoluted and make it easy to follow without dumbing down any of the character mythos. The pacing could have been better, this movie has a runtime of  2hours and 23 minutes and you really start to feel it. I found myself zoning out a few times and checking the time. Even with that I never felt like I missed anything vital.  (Never a good sign)

There are references to 'The Little Mermaid' that I thought was very clever, it's not very obvious but when I noticed, it put a smile on my face. The overall links to the DCEU as a whole are quite sparse. They are more like casual mentions rather than in-universe references, mostly linked to the events of Justice League where we got our first real look at Aquaman. (Batman v Superman doesn't count) This is very much a stand-alone movie.

After watching the movie, I saw what I thought was a plot hole leftover from Justice League, but after watching the scene in question, the timeline and storylines up, not as snuggly as I would like but not enough to completely break the continuity.

CGI/Set Design

This move has some of the best visual effects I have ever seen. A significant chunk of it takes place underwater and the VFX artists were able to not only create the illusion that the characters were underwater but make it believable. (Shoutout to ILM and all the other VFX studios) However, the third act is a CGI mess that becomes really hard to decipher the longer it goes on.

The movie as a whole is visually appealing, has colour and uses it very well to differentiate locations, and characters (no seriously I can distinguish what is going on due to varying colours and shades).

Score/Soundtrack

If it is one thing that most DCEU movies have excelled at is their score, the only DCEU movie without a good one is Suicide Squad (one of its many problems but I digress) and the Aquaman score is pretty good. It isn't the best in the cinematic universe but I liked it as I was watching the movie. It tied the movie together. Rupert Gregson-Williams returned after scoring Wonder Woman and while the score here isn't bad, it doesn't live up to that.

The soundtrack is fine. 'Everything I Need' by Skylar Grey plays over the end credits. It is one of those songs that you like while you're in the cinema but forget once you leave the room. While I'm on the subject, I hate Pitbull's cover of Africa by Toto. It sounds very out of place and is very very bad. While the original song isn't one of my favourite the cover is God awful and borderline unbearable to listen to.

Overall Thoughts

Considering the DCEU's lacklustre track record I was cautious going into this. The trailers looked pretty good but I have been burned by trailers before (Batman v Superman I am looking at you) At the time of the review, the DCEU is 2 for 6. Aquaman isn't the best movie ever, but it was enjoyable enough. It's the kind of movie you watch when there is nothing else and you find this on tv.

This version of Aquaman is nothing like the one in the comics and I can see why, previous versions of the character haven't resonated with audiences the way this one has and I'm not entirely mad at it.
I spoke to my brother and he hated this movie and while I can see the flaws that this movie has, I wouldn't say it is bad. However, it isn't particularly memorable. I could see myself watching it again but not anytime soon. I do recommend watching Justice League: Throne of Atlantis though.

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