Film Review: Aquaman (2018)

by - December 19, 2018

Aquaman (2018) is the latest comic book movie from Warner Bros. as part of the DCEU, and the first since the release of Justice League. Directed by horror director James Wan, this movie stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Amber Heard as Mera. Set after the events of Justice League, Aquaman is now faced with going back to Atlantis in order to unite the nations of the sea and the land together, and stop a war in which his younger brother is preparing to fight.

Aquaman (2018) - source: Warner Bros.

If you read my review of Justice League (link here), you will see that not only did I not enjoy the film, but I also found the Aquaman character to be the most poorly written of the characters. It has seemed like Aquaman is a hard character to write well, and most people are either not that well acquainted with the character in the comic books, or just find him lame and unappealing. DC are also still in a recovery for their brand and their cinematic universe, after having numerous films in the past few years disappointing fans, from Justice League to Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman.

However, there has been a sudden burst of praise for this bold move by DC and Warner Bros. Firstly, this film has been receiving high praise from critics, with some calling it the best DC movie since The Dark Knight Returns. Alongside that, everyone is praising the casting choice of Momoa in the lead role, who was wide range appeal and can make the character of Aquaman seem cool. Not only that, but having Wan direct the film is also a great choice, as he is an outstanding horror film director, and is able to make some bold and dark choices. As we all know, DC is known to be darker with their films, which a lot of people love DC for.

This film is a joy to watch and is one of the more refreshing comic book movies made this year. Momoa takes on the role of Aquaman and is completely believable in all of the major action scenes. He has a great personality and is completely likeable, and that is what makes this movie fun to watch. Heard also gives a great performance in this film, and despite my worries for her costume and hair in the trailers and posters, she looks great in the film. Her and Momoa seem to have good chemistry and it is easy to watch them together.

Aquaman (2018) - source: Warner Bros.

What I really enjoyed about this film is the refreshing story. Yes, it is essentially a treasure hunt more than a massive battle, but I quite liked that adventure aspect. We got to see both sides of the world, from the land to the sea, and see how the characters adapt to both. The screenwriting allows for drama and humour to flow together nicely, not letting it turn into a heavy drama, but also keeping the dark elements of DC and the horror aspects of Wan's directing.

DC has recently been having problems with the CGI in their films (don't even remind me of Steppenwolf), but it actually looks much better in this film. Yes, it still is far from perfect and not a scratch on Marvel yet, but there are some stunning shots in this film. The underwater sequences in particular look gorgeous with all the bright lights and vibrant colours used. The CGI is also helped by having some great and fast-paced action sequences, particularly one near the opening of this film. With some great lines thrown in and believable fighting sequences, they helped bring the fun into this action comic book movie.

Of course, this film is still far from perfect and I have a couple of specific problems with it. This does have to do with the story and essentially the editing. At 147 minutes, I would say that this film is about 10-15 minutes too long, and there were some sequences that either felt unnecessary or that dragged on a little too long. It was nothing too off-putting or dramatically dull, but it is a note to add. Also, for this story they decided to add two villains to try and stop Aquaman. Whilst I will not give away spoilers, I think that by having two different villains to flesh out made it tougher to see either as a huge threat, and I would have preferred it if they stuck to one villain over the other.

Aquaman (2018) - source: Warner Bros.

I am starting to get tired of seeing the same stories and cliches in these comic book movies. However, Aquaman went away from these tropes and created something more refreshing. This felt more like a fantasy film set underwater, and the pay off from that was great. It looked visually stunning, the lore of the world was well set up for such a short amount of time to do it in, and there are loads of different elements that will please every sort of movie goer. This is one of the more fun comic book movies to be released this year, and it is a step in the right direction for the DCEU. Let's just hope they keep this success going with Shazam next year.

4/5

Have you seen Aquaman yet, or do you plan on seeing it? What did you make of it? Comment down below and I will make sure to read it.

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