Jason Momoa being cast as Aquaman was hands down one of my favorite casting decisions the DC universe has made thus far. Transforming the formerly-dubbed ‘lame’ hero into a hulking bad ass was a much needed change to bring in some excitement to the on screen translation of this character. Aquaman was the most fun I’ve had watching a DC film in quite some time despite its flaws.
Loosely based on the comic Throne of Atlantis, Aquaman shows us Arthur Curry’s backstory, leading him to becoming king of Atlantis. Unlike its predecessors, Aquaman wasn’t afraid to have fun and not take itself too seriously. The bright colors and levity were a stark contrast to the dark and broody norm of the DC universe. The bio-luminescence that highlighted this film was beautiful to look at. The creature design was incredible, a personal favorite of mine being the seahorse/dragon creatures used as battle horses throughout the film. The scenes with the Trench are also gorgeous. One shot in particular really stuck with me, when Arthur and Mera are racing through hordes of the Trench swimming further and further down into the ocean carrying a flare.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the romance between Atlanna, queen of Atlantis, and Tom Curry, Arthur’s father. Every scene between the two felt genuine and heartwarming. Not even mentioning the fact that Atlanna was such a fierce warrior. I adored the opening fight scene, watching her flip through the living room and defending her son and lover. The fact that there was no damsel in distress ploy throughout the entire film with any female character was a breath of fresh air.
The fight scenes are the highlight of the film for me although they are a bit explosion heavy. Each one is intricate and detail oriented.
My number one issue with this film is the forced romance between Mera and Aquaman. Once again I was forced to sit through an uncomfortable make out session between two individuals that had no business doing so. It wasn’t that Jason Momoa and Amber Heard didn’t have on screen chemistry, it was more the fact that the timing of each romantic encounter felt off and inappropriate. One moment they barely tolerate each other, just merely joining forces to defeat a common foe and then the next they are madly in love. I would have preferred the romantic element be left out completely for right now.
Another major issue I had was the treatment of Black Manta. His reason for revenge was shallow at best and quite frankly, it was frustrating to watch. The anger he carried throughout the film felt misplaced although I believe that has more to do with the writing than Yahya Abdul Mateen II’s ability as an actor.
Despite my issues with the film, Aquaman makes up for it in terms of entertainment value. Especially capitalizing on a shirtless Momoa. Go check out Aquaman, now in theaters.