Movie Reviews: Aquaman




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     Warner Bros. (2hrs. 23min.)
     Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.
     Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren
Bottom Line:

Jon Rutledge

This CGI extravaganza is candy for the eye, but like candy, it can only be stomached in small doses. The sunning scenes of action and vast spans of underwater kingdoms are undercut by the cringe-worthy dialog and the “by the numbers” use of cliched hero tropes. The poor dialog and shallow story make the 143 minutes seem like a slog. Warner Brothers hasn't learned that interesting characters, not flashy powers make the movie memorable.

This film is an origin/continuation of the Aquaman character (Jason Momoa) seen in the Justice League movie. AuthorCurry (Momoa) needs to come back to Atlantis and take his rightful place as king. In doing so, he stops King Orm (Patric Willson) from starting a war with the surface world. Mera (Amber Heard) helps him along. Together they fight King Orm’s Army as well as a pirate, Mantis (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who helped stage an attack from the surface world.

DC has floundered in mediocrity in recent years. Wonder Woman set a high bar for other films to follow. It was her success that gave us hope that Justice Leauge and Aquaman would be taking the shared universe to greater heights instead it has taken it to new depths. Aquaman could have been much better than it was. It was part treasure hunt story, part political drama and a dash of an underwater history lesson when it should have been a hero's journey.

The problems start on some poor youthifying CGI effects of Atlantia (Nicole Kidman) and Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison), Authors mother and father. Instead of looking younger they looked plastic. For comparison look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2 where they made Kurt Russell look like a younger person. Poor effects are not a good start. Most of this film also takes place underwater, so all of the main scenes had the CGI effects of hare and capes floating. It gets distracting after a few minutes.

The dialog from most of the characters was hollow they spoke at each other, not with each other. There was no flow to the conversations. There was also no flow to the story; they took time to fill in lots of history with a smattering of new content to make a mess of a storyline.

Studios need to space information out if there is too much information to easily get across to the audience in a few minutes they need to spread it out over a few films. Establishing the history and then tell the story. Marvel did not just do one story for each hero and then jump into Infinity War. Warner Brothers is still only playing the short gain game.

All of the critic thoughts aside it was visually fun to see the epic fights and they did a great job on set pieces. Although fun to watch in parts not very memorable. This is the latest example of a product of an old-school studio system whose only interest is getting people to the door not keeping them there. Aquaman is not an “A” list hero; neither was Ironman before it got attention from a production company that understands what makes their characters tick. Now Ironman is the cornerstone of an entertainment empire, and Aquaman is just floundering.

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