Surely everyone is familiar with the name Aquaman. The superhero who "talks to fish." For years, Aquaman has been the butt of superhero jokes for being "useless" when compared to his fellow Justice Leaguers like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
Well, I think all that has changed and we can thank director James Wan for showing us the awesome character of Aquaman with his take on the DC Comics superhero in the new film "Aquaman."
The film centers around the metahuman Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman (Jason Momoa), who is half human and half Atlantean, and his journey to become the true king of Atlantis and stop his half-brother King Orm a.k.a Ocean Master (Patrick Wilson) from waging war against the surface world.
It's funny that I never could have imagined Aquaman would get his very own solo film. If you were to tell me that there was going to be an Aquaman movie ten years ago, I would have laughed. Now, it's a reality and let me tell you, it's very good. I was certainly impressed and left the movie theater satisfied. It definitely exceeded my expectations.
First off, I want to start with the positives of the film. A great way to begin is the talent behind the characters. The film has a great cast with some I haven't seen in a long time. I think they all excelled at their roles, and for me personally, there really was not a character that had me going, "meh" or, "They were terrible."
Jason Momoa is a cool Aquaman, and different from the aforementioned jokes. In fact, what many people may not know is that Aquaman is more than just a guy who can communicate with deep sea life. He's one of the more powerful heroes in the DC Universe and is capable of so much more. We got just a quick glimpse of Momoa as Aquaman in a brief cameo in 2016's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." The following year, he received more chances to shine in "Justice League." I will admit, I did enjoy it.
With a solo film, this meant plenty more opportunities to show us what he is capable of in bringing the character to life on screen and I think he did an excellent job. I can now officially admit that I am no longer an Aquaman hater and have a newfound appreciation for the character, much like Superman after watching "Man of Steel" back in 2013.
The supporting cast performed their parts well. Amber Heard as Princess Mera was great as well as beautiful. In ways, she's like a grownup, butt-kicking Ariel from "The Little Mermaid," if that makes any sense. The thing I have to praise her so much for is the fact she looks comic book accurate. She literally looks like the character popped right out of the pages of the comics. Take a screenshot of Mera in the movie and do a side by side comparison with a comic art of the character and you'll know what I'm talking about.
The villains of "Aquaman" are Ocean Master and Black Manta, Aquaman's archenemy, played by Patrick Wilson and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Both actors played their characters exceptionally well and made great villains, which is something DC films tend to do right. It was really cool to see Black Manta on screen for the first time, and even though he was not the main antagonist, he was still a worthy adversary for the titular hero.
It was a good treat seeing Nicole Kidman and the former Green Goblin Willem Dafoe on screen as Queen Atlanna and Vulko. For me personally, I have not seen any of them in a movie in a long time. Casting Nicole Kidman as the mother of Aquaman, Queen Atlanna, was a nice touch. I think this might be the first DC Comics superhero film she's appeared in since 1995's "Batman Forever."
Another positive about this film is the visual effects. They are a beautiful. I loved the underwater sequences as they were well done in their cinematography and final presentation. The overall look of Atlantis is visually stunning and looks amazing on screen. More props to the visual effects department on that.
James Wan's direction is praiseworthy. It's funny, because when I think of James Wan, I think of horror as he is the same director responsible for films like the first "Saw," "Insidious," and "The Conjuring." So naturally, I thought it was very awkward for a guy mainly known for making scary movies to take a different direction and make a superhero movie.
Almost immediately, I was reminded of Sam Rami when he made the original Spider-Man trilogy. Many horror fans know Sam Rami for his work in horror with the "Evil Dead" films. But just like Rami with the first two Spider-Man films, James Wan delivered.
Now onto the negative side of things. I do not want to spend a lot of time talking about the bad stuff for obvious reasons, so I'm just going to give it to you straight. The humor was a bit corny at times, almost as if they were trying to be like Marvel because, let's be honest, Marvel movies tend to rely on humor too much, even if the jokes are cheesy. So some of the humor in "Aquaman" may come off as annoying.
The other thing about this movie I did not like was its choice of music. Some of the songs used were unnecessary, especially the Pitbull song. Please do not get me started on that Pitbull song. However, I will confess, I did like the new original song "Everything I Need" performed by Skylar Grey. I thought it was nice.
Overall, "Aquaman" is a good movie and it is definitely worth watching. It is definitely fun for the whole family, and if your kids love adventure and superheroes, then they're in for a treat. I just cannot stress this enough, but it is great to see Aquaman portrayed in a way that makes him cool so that we can forget that this is the same character that everyone says is lame and cannot do anything except talk to fish.