Let’s get wet.
Aquaman is the type of film that will be used as evidence when justifying the extinction of the human race. We have a bloated, boring, and completely inept pile of crap here.
It is hard to know where to begin on a film that does everything wrong. How they managed to rope both Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe into this (they probably needed money) is something I can’t quite fathom.
We follow Arthur (a charmless Jason Momoa) as he grunts his way around the world looking for a trident after getting beat down by his brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) when he tries to stop Orm from waging war on the surface. Sure, I just skipped over the pointless love story, but you see, I’m actually trying to make this movie make sense.
We have tons of shit thrown into the story without warning or explanation. We follow Arthur from pre-birth to adulthood but spend barely any time actually getting to know him. Momoa is an intimidating presence and that is all the film allows him. Is he funny, an alcoholic, depressed, carefree, aggressive, a lady’s man, or a moron? The answer is all and none of the above depending on which scene you jump to. A hilarious example is when Arthur mentions that he wanted nothing more than to meet his brother when he was younger, yet we never once see him express this interest. The film seems to think that having characters blurt out traits is a great substitute for any sort of development.
I personally find both Marvel and DC films to be equally unappetizing, but I must say Marvel at least meets baseline specifications for a movie. DC villains simply suck ass. We get Patrick Wilson—who I like—acting like he can go toe-to-toe with Mamoa. Sorry, all the horrible CGI in the world can’t fix that. We also get Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who is completely wasted and forgettable. Granted, at least this character looked intimidating. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised as DC has subjected us to David Thewlis (who I also like in other things) as the God of fucking War and Jared Leto’s horny cat/Ace Ventura/black-face Kermit the Frog interpretation of the Joker. We have come a long way from Heath Ledger’s impressive rendition of the psychotic clown and are now left with this garbage.
The heroes aren’t a whole lot better. Aquaman seems to be Thor in water (or Wonder Woman in water). The heroes are so interchangeable that none of it matters. After a nearly three-hour film I am still not entirely sure what the parameters of Arthur’s powers are. Now, before you mention the comics: they don’t matter in the context of this review. This is an inept film with too many boring villains and a flat hero.
Another major issue with this film is that we have about five different plots occurring with each other. I just guessed at five, but let’s count them: Arthur’s search for his mom, his mom and dad’s love story, his half-brother’s plan for war, Arthur’s quest for kingship—or not, Arthur’s relationship with Mera (Amber Heard), Mera’s relationship with her dad, the fucking crab people who come out of nowhere, the super-mega trident, and crammed waaayyyy in the back is some stuff about the environment. Oh shit, I totally forgot about Manta and Vulko (Dafoe) having their own goals and motivations.
The amount of story they have could be stretched into a trilogy at least. Granted this would require competent writers. I will throw the creators under the bus on this one. Aquaman represents how creatively bankrupt mainstream film has become. Of the two women who speak in this movie one (Mera) is shown about 90% of the time dripping wet with her cleavage in center frame. With how frequently the movie reminds us of basic plot points (they mention Arthur is a half-breed at least fifty times) I suppose they figured the entire audience drilled into their brains with power tools before sitting in the theater.
The sad thing is, this review is now longer than most and I have barely scratched the surface of this garbage pile. Even the action stinks. Rubbery and oddly antiquated CGI makes every fight look like a PS3 game. The de-aging down on the actors sometimes works but also sometimes makes them look like horrific wax monsters risen by some dark magic to come and steal away our dreams.
My biggest question is how do they keep fucking this up? Marvel Studios is basically a cash printing machine and yet DC can’t seem to figure itself out. They want the sequels so badly you can smell the desperation. We want the franchise now—screw taking our time. Let’s crank this crap out as fast as we can. I think everyone at DC should be forced to watch the Tom Cruise Mummy until they realize the folly of their ways—and then make them watch it a few more times for good measure. You can’t make a franchise out of nothing. You can’t make a series out of half-cooked ideas. Slow the fuck down and hire different writers (or give the writers you have more than six weeks to work out a script—a la Suicide Squad). It is a tragic farce that DC is this inept.
This movie is a terrible mistake that shouldn’t exist. It isn’t even worth mocking.