Certain catastrophic events after the defeat of Steppenwolf force Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) to reconsider his decision to not contend for the throne of Atlantis which is currently claimed by his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson).
What happened that made Arthur reassess his decision? Why was he initially unwilling to become the king of Atlantis albeit being the rightful contender? How will he win against Orm?
Positive Points: –
- Aquaman’s visual effects are not just grand and eye-pleasing but also powerful enough to immerse its viewers into the film (especially those watching it in 3D or 3D-IMAX).
- The performances of all the chief cast members especially Momoa and Wilson.
- The film boasts of a lot of ambition and it does stand up to it thanks to its awesome technicalities and directional execution.
Negative Points: –
- Aquaman is a typical old-school superhero flick which does everything which you’d expect a film back in the ’80s and ’90s to do.
- Its narrative is too messed up with many plot-threads that aren’t woven skilfully into a single coherent storyline.
- The film doesn’t produce a satisfactory explanation of the existence of Atlantis, its technological advancements and even its obscurity to the world.
The General Aspects: –
Unlike many others out there, I have never been an ardent critique of the DCEU films but I am not a fan either. We’ve come to a stage where there’s an over-saturation of superhero flicks which use all the same hackneyed elements of superhero-filmmaking and hence seldom produce anything remotely novel. Given that, and also DCEU’s infamousness, my expectations were largely low for Aquaman. Also, the trailers gave me a feeling that there would be a lot of similarities with Black Panther and given my views on the same, I couldn’t have anticipated my positive reactions to this flick. As expected, Aquaman’s Atlantis is a lot similar to Black Panther’s Wakanda and so is the quest for the king’s throne in both of them. But I wouldn’t spend my time comparing both the movies and rather focus on reviewing the one mentioned in the title.
As obvious as it seems, Aquaman is just an old superhero story told over and over again. Same plot, same characters, same sequences of events, everything’s same so there’s hardly anything to not predict in a movie like this. Save a few funny dialogues there’s hardly any punch in its screenplay and the same view can be extended to the way its characters behave and interact. Another problem with the film is its background i.e. the story behind the legend of Atlantis. Now, I’d obviously have no issues behind its mythological greatness but its scientific and technological advancement with respect to the present age (as depicted in the film) is absolutely nonsensical. Again, its idea that Atlantians learned to breathe underwater is equally illogical because if it were so, then their bodies would have shown some adaptations with respect to the conditions of deep oceanic waters which in fact should take thousands of years to happen. The film is around 2 and a half hours long and has too many sub-plots which makes it a bit nettling. For instance, I strongly believe that Black Manta’s character could have been introduced in a different film instead of this one coz if it were so, the makers could have focused more on a proper storyline and developed its characters more plausibly
Aquaman is definitely hoarded with issues but its technical excellence and ambitious direction definitely abate all the aforementioned issues to a certain extent. Now, James Wan’s direction in terms of how the characters interact may be questionable but his work on the visual storytelling front is definitely commendable. His film has some of the best visuals that we’ve seen in most modern superhero films and that’s not just about the CGI but also Kirk Morri’s editing and Don Burgess’ cinematography. The onscreen activities are so well presented (and that includes acting as well) that a few moments can even give you goosebumps even if you aren’t a comic geek. Adding to the flavour is its music by Rupert Gregson Williams whose choice of score and songs have well augmented its feelings and emotions. The film’s rich technical execution fills up a lot of holes left by its narrative and even manages to involve its viewers into the ongoings of the story with great effect.
The writers may not have put many efforts in developing the film’s characters but its cast has done well enough to get over their on-paper limitations. Jason Momoa is simply magnetic as the titular character. He is both funny and badass and performs both these facets with great ease. Patrick Wilson comes up as an effective antagonist despite being handed over a clichéd character. He never goes overboard and commands the screen whenever the camera faces him or involves him. Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe provide able support despite being unidimensionally crafted.
Final Verdict: –
There are enough reasons to put down Aquaman as a film and equally enough reasons to appreciate it. It’s visually rich but thematically shallow which can be credited to its old-school narrative. It definitely saves a sinking DCEU but the Warner Bros has to do a lot more than just float while other production houses simply sail miles ahead of it when it comes to producing superhero films. Aquaman is the kind of film which you can not ignore no matter how much you scorn its shallowness. It will wither away soon from people’s memory but its visual excellence will become the talk of the town for quite some time and for all the right reasons.