‘Aquaman’ provides some entertainment, lots of cheesiness
As the final shot ended, the packed theater I was in started to develop applause that did not to amount to anything more than an awkward handful of claps. This was the reaction that “Aquaman” deserves. With the potential entertainment to please many, the pure cheesiness was enough to mutter the applause.
After his Queen mother abandons the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, falls in love and has a child with a human, Aquaman (Jason Momoa) must come to face with his past beneath the surface. As the current king of Atlantis, Orn (Patrick Wilson), is determined to initiate a war against the humans, Aquaman must go on a journey to find the Trident of Atlan to prove that he is the worthy ruler.
As said earlier, there is plenty of cheesiness. With a superhero as ludicrous as Aquaman however, this is completely expected.
A seasoned director like James Wan, who has done “The Conjuring” films and “Furious 7,” does as much as he can to minimize the cringe-factor. The surprising thing is that most of the unintentionally-funny moments had nothing to do with the silly superhero; they all surrounded poor writing. To illustrate, the romance element in the film was hilariously disingenuous, as each scene was accompanied with a meaningful stare and abrasive music cues. It was a cycle that I counted three times. Even more repetitive than the pointless yearnful gazes were the action scene initiations. Four or five times was there a calm moment, that was followed by an explosion that prompted a fight scene. Come on. Try a little harder.
That action though was surely well done. While the film relied heavily on digital enhancements, it surprisingly didn’t take away from the action. The past several DC movies overused CGI (computer generated images) that made action scenes so bland. This movie got it right though. The impressive camera work paired with the well-staged set pieces kept the scenes exciting. While the script failed to show quality in the romance part, it succeeded in delivering an entertaining story. The infusion of flashbacks seemed so natural, and the main plot progressed at a steady pace. While the film pushed two and a half hours, I can’t remember a time I was bored. This enjoyment could be because a little too much of this film felt like it is in the vein of “Black Panther.” If you are going to try to imitate, don’t make it this obvious.
The casting for this film was spot on, with Jason Momoa being the perfect Aquaman. He did not give some brilliant performance, but his charm as the destined ruler of Atlantis was very fitting. William Dafoe was William Dafoe once again, which is always appreciated. The supporting cast was good enough, but there wasn’t much room for them with Momoa at the forefront.
Is this a step up from DC’s recent endeavors? Yes. Is it a memorable superhero film? No. Nonetheless, “Aquaman” is still very entertaining with plenty of laughs, both intentional and not. Without a doubt, you’ll have a good time watching this movie, just make sure to bring some crackers. There is plenty of cheese provided.