Written by: Dewey Singleton
James Wan’s Aquaman is a ridiculous dive into a vast and vibrant world the likes of which D.C. fans have been clamoring for since Cavill first donned those iconic red and blue tights. While the more discerning moviegoers might scoff at the premise for this narrative, it’s hard not to be seduced by the charms of Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). While Cavill certainly looks like D.C.’s iconic hero, the former leader of the Dothraki embraces the role. A film can thrive for that very reason. However, there are many other reasons why Wan’s latest projects will resonate with moviegoers.
For starters, the casting from the film was far from conventional. The casting of Patrick Wilson as King Orm and Willem Dafoe as Vulko were arguably the best decisions Wan made in Aquaman. While the premise of an illegitimate son who is the rightful heir to the throne of Atlantis seems rote, the strength of Wilson and Dafoe’s performance is instrumental in selling the film. Amber Heard proved to be the most pleasant surprise in Wan’s film. Heard’s Mera is equal parts compassionate and bad-ass as she attempts to help Arthur realize his place in the world.
Don Burgess’s Cinematography was stellar as it captured the beauty of their surroundings. However, the visual effects team were the biggest star of the film. Leanne Brooks and her team made amble use a lush color palette when creating Curry’s home. The other realms of this undersea world were equally eye-popping. Nailing these elements was crucial to ensure audiences would buy-in to the film. Had they been the slightest off, it could have very well spelled doom for the film.
One of the few issues with film stems from how underused Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was in Aquaman. Mateen steps into the role of Black Manta and gives audiences one of the best villains we’ve seen in a recent D.C. film (I mean the bar isn’t that high). The origin story is solid, and Mateen skillfully shows how the rage builds in him stemming from his initial encounter with Curry in the first act. The film would have thrived even more had their been a balance between his story-line and King Orm.
The narrative also didn’t need to spend so much time on Atlanna’s (Nicole Kidman) storyline. While I understand the need to establish Arthur’s issues with Atlantis (which stem over his mother’s death), we don’t need to keep dredging it up at the expense of avoiding far more interesting characters like Black Manta.
Overall, the Aquaman isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the hell out of it. If during the holiday season you are looking to escape, then taking a trip to Atlantis isn’t a bad option.