Review – Aquaman (2018)

For as many times the DCEU has been compared to the MCU and vice versa, I’ve never really seen the point of comparison until now. For me, there was always a clear stranger in the MCU, at least at first, and that was Thor. That being said, there’s apparently also a stranger in the DCEU that doesn’t quite feel like he fits as well as the others – and that is Aquaman. Neither of these heroes I was ever really hyped to see, and strangely enough, in a lot of ways, Aquaman was the Thor of the sea. Atlantis is basically Underwater Asgard, and King Orm (Patrick Wilson) was basically Fish Loki and the color pallet in general felt like Thor. Not to mention that colorful rainbow bridge that I noticed under the ocean!

Well, Thor is okay in my books. It took a minute to be that way, but I’ve finally warmed up to him. So, can the same be said about my initial dislike for Aquaman? In a way, yes, but at the same time, no. I have seen Aquaman in the original cartoons, in the series, Smallville, and the spinoff Aquaman that never lived past pilot season, and none of these Aqua-men are as good or as memorable as Jason Momoa. It’s hard to make a superhero that talks to fish seem tough or in any case, not stupid, but if anyone’s the right choice to make Aquaman the best he can be, it’s Dothrakian King, Biker-Gang President, Jason Momoa. But, we’ll get into all that and more in just a hot second.

Arthur Curry, half human half from Atlantis, goes on a trip of a lifetime. Not only does this adventure compel him to come to terms with his real identity, but it also forces him to discover whether he is entirely worthy of fulfilling his own destiny: becoming a king.

IMDb

PEOPLE – 12/20 (60%)

Acting – 2/4 | Characters – 3/4 | Casting – 3/4 | Importance – 2/4 | Chemistry – 2/4

Like most categories in this review, there are things that I both really enjoyed here and was aggravated with. Like I mentioned above, Jason Momoa fills the role rather well, ultimately making it his own, but to be honest, that’s really as far as it goes for this category. Because he plays such vital role, both casting and characters got the extra shove for points, but everything else remains typical and average. The acting is never really that impressive, the importance was mostly just laid upon the main characters while everyone else mostly blends in together, and the chemistry is just fine, but is never at the level it needed to be.

WRITING – 4/10 (40%)

Dialogue – 1/2 | Balance – 1/2 | Story Depth – 0/2 | Originality – 1/2 | Interesting – 1/2

Writing was certainly one of the areas that struggled the most. Then again, I’m not entirely sure that writing was a big focus for the film. The biggest downfall in this category was depth, but balance was a close second. Surely, they weren’t trying to conceive a very deep story here. There’s not even bones to a deep story when it comes down to it, it was all main in fun. As far as the balance goes, it often feels super convoluted, but because there is one very specific plot goal, that substantially helped calm down the insanity of the film, but there was still way too much going on to ignore, so it is slightly convoluted, yet. Originality-wise, I did mention that the story and overall pallet of the film felt strangely reminiscent of THOR, but it’s more than that. It does feel like a familiar story in general, but I will give it credit for the whole underwater superhero thing. Other than that, we have typical dialogue, nothing that stands out there, and a movie that’s sometimes interesting, and sometimes feels too long.

BTS – 9/10 (90%)

Visuals – 2/2 | Cinematography – 2/2 | Editing – 2/2 | Advertising – 2/2 | Music/Sound – 1/2

Behind-the-scenes, of course, is where the film thrives. You can tell by the trailers and you definitely tell while watching the movie. The director clearly had a specific vision in mind before making the film, and because he was able to produce that vision successfully, that fact should be praised. There is such a surprisingly colorful and bright color pallet when being compared to some of the other DCEU films, and the brighter it got, the more it toed the line of being too unrealistic…but unrealistic doesn’t exactly mean bad, it is artistic design, and for the most part, it works fine for what they were going for. Also, as this is an action film with some decent action, the cinematography and editing was also really well done – even more so in certain sequences, like in the Sahara. Other than that, it was as-advertised, and it almost impressed me with the music and sound. Almost.

NARRATIVE ARC – 9/10 (90%)

Introduction – 2/2 | Inciting Incident – 1/2 | Obstacles – 2/2 | Climax – 2/2 | Resolution – 2/2

Aquaman also had a pretty decent narrative structure. The only issue I could find here was in the inciting incident, as…while it had one, the film was already in motion from the get-go, and nothing particularly feels significant there for a crossing-of-the-threshold moment. Everything else was pretty good. Good introduction, because there is a decent character goal, there are solid obstacles, the climax feels like a pretty good culmination of everything before it, and in the end, everything calms down and returns to a new sense of norm.

ENTERTAINMENT – 5/10 (50%)

Rewatchability – 1/2 | Fun Experience – 2/2 | Impulse/Buy – 0/2 | Impulse/Talk – 1/2 | Sucks you In – 1/2

Always remember, the entertainment category deals with the jaw-dropping, blows-your-mind area. So, if it doesn’t get full points, that just means you might not be blown away, but five out of ten points is still relatively solid. In other words, it’s entertaining enough. No, I wouldn’t say that the film is a movie I want to see again right away, but it’s not something I would avoid, either. I did have a fun time watching it as a whole, and I think there are some elements here and there that are discussion-worthy. This movie is really, really complex, so as far as importance to focus on while watching – blink-and-you-might-miss-it, that’s certainly there, but because it’s somewhat convoluted, that’s more of a negative thing than positive, so sucking you in only gets half points. Also, this isn’t a movie I care to buy or even own. Just a fun little ditty to see once or twice.

SPECIALTY – 35/40 (87.5%)

Jason Momoa – 10/10 | DCEU – 5/10 | Action Film – 10/10 | Halfway Decent – 10/10

What is it that people want to see when they watch Aquaman? That’s a question that took me a while to answer. First of all, I’m assuming people will want to know how Jason Momoa does as a whole, and as I mentioned a couple of times, I think without Momoa, this movie just wouldn’t be the same. He did a service to DCEU, so perfect points here. Speaking of DCEU, I think people will want to know how this fits into the universe. Well, obviously, we’ve already seen Momoa, but because of the change in theme and color pallet, it doesn’t feel as if it perfectly fits in with that universe. Not to mention there is no noticeable connections to the universe. So, that gets half points. As an action film, you understand from the get-go that the action in this movie is a huge part of what’s going on, and it is done very, very well. Finally, was it halfway decent? Did the filmmakers make their vision a reality? Did they submit this to the right target audience? Oh yes. That deserves praise as well.

TOTAL SCORE – 74%

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