The latest entry in the DC Cinematic Universe is here in the form of Aquaman, and while the character may not get you as excited as Batman and Superman, I can tell you that his standalone movie is way better than their feud flick, and it just may be the second best DC film behind Wonder Woman.
Trust me, I was surprised myself when I realized I was enjoying this film greatly, but James Wan and his cast and crew do manage to make an Aquaman movie fun, and after seeing it I’d be done for another.
You can check out my full review in video or scripted form below.
“Hey now fans of the subpar DC cinematic universe, Matt Heywood here to review the surprisingly good Aquaman, which quite frankly I never gave a chance based on previous DC films and the character himself. But I have to say that James Wan and his crew somehow made this goofy DC character pretty awesome, and his first standalone film is easily one of the DC cinematic universe’s best. It’s not quite on Wonder Woman’s level, but it’s far from a BvS and Justice League, so that should speak volumes about what the cast and crew accomplished.
Don’t get me wrong though, there’s still a few cringeworthy scenes thanks to hammy dialogue and the fact that superhero movies are mostly one big Miller Time moment, but overall, Aquaman is a very entertaining DC comic book movie thanks to its cast, cinematography, and action set pieces.
I’ve always thought of Jason Momoa’s take on Aquaman to be more Aqua-bro than Arthur Curry, but after seeing how he handles the character in this film, I’ve come full circle on him and the character of Aquaman. Momoa plays a damn fun Aquaman if anything else, and I kind of like the meathead approach he brings to the character. He even describes himself in the film as a perfected blunt instrument, and I couldn’t agree more. Momoa also excels at the physical action sequences, and his massive physique is used expertly to deliver punishing action sequences.
I also have to mention Amber Heard, who could quite be one of the most beautiful looking fake red heads I’ve ever seen, and she also kills it as Mera. Heard is not only sexy in this role, but she’s powerful and commanding. She’s the stable force where Aquaman is more of the comedic carefree type. One could argue she’s the true hero of the film, because she’s just as impactful on the narrative as Aquaman himself.
While I’m on the cast I have to also point out that Nicole Kidman is a human masterpiece, and I swear she hasn’t aged. I assume they de-aged her during flashbacks, but even if you look at this woman today its clear she’s a generational beauty, and in her role as Queen Atlanna, she’s also a freaking badass.
I mean honestly the entire cast is damn near perfect, and they could be the reason why Aquaman is so good. Patrick Wilson plays a great antagonist, Willem Dafoe plays a great mentor, Jango Fett plays a great Dad to Arthur, while Yahya plays a fun over-the-top villain in Black Manta.
While the cast is one of this film’s main highlights, its cinematography and special effects may be even better. The fact that most of this film is set underwater really provides for some awesome visuals and VFX work, so it’s very similar to the first time you saw the world of Pandora in Avatar. The environments are just insanely vibrant and detailed, and the effects used to make it appear as if humanoid characters can live underwater just like we do on land is mesmerizing. It makes the world look like it’s in zero-G, yet everything moves through it as if jet packs were being used. It’s an effect we’ve only seen briefly in Justice League, but it’s on full display in this film, which just adds to its allure.
The action set pieces also benefit from mostly taking place underwater, because again, in this environment, shots don’t have to adhere to normal physics laws, so everything looks and feels a bit more majestic. The hand-to-hand battles are a pure treat, because by being underwater, the fight coordinators were able to go ape shit with the choreography, so you get all sorts of camera angles and shots that you’ve never seen before, because they only work in an underwater setting. The massive battles are even more insane looking, because again, the environments are mostly all underwater, so at times it feels like you’re watching a space battle play out versus a land war.
While Aquaman is not perfect, and would still be considered an average MCU entry, for the DC cinematic universe it borders on a gem. It really is damn good, and even now it feels odd to say that out loud, because out of any of the DC movie projects when they were first announced, Aquaman is the one I thought would be the toughest sell based on the property alone, but Jason Momoa, James Wan, Amber Heard, and the rest of the cast convinced me otherwise. I hope the word spreads, because due to its predecessors, this movie is already facing skepticism from fans, but I can assure you, this is not a crappy DC live action flick.
Aquaman earns an 8 out of 10 review score from Team EB. It really is a fun movie with a great cast, and some brilliant looking visuals, so I do recommend seeing it in theaters. Give Arthur a chance, I know I’m glad I did.
Thanks for watching, I’m Matt Heywood signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.”
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