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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.51%
Worth A Look: 2.7%
Average: 21.62%
Pretty Bad59.46%
Total Crap: 2.7%

4 reviews, 13 user ratings

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by Lybarger

"At least Momoa’s abs impress."
2 stars

When I was a kid, Aquaman seemed like Superman and Batman’s less impressive Super Friend.

He didn’t get to fly or use X-ray vision like Supes, and he didn’t have any of Batman’s high tech weapons. He just rode on the backs of dolphins until the other Justice League members showed up to save the day. In addition, he was so square that he made Clark Kent seem like a fountain of personality in comparison.

Jason Momoa’s “Aquabro” take on Arthur Curry is a step up. It’s fun to hear him crack wise and to have him look unfazed when every stingray in the Atlantic heads his way.

Momoa’s sarcastic swagger isn’t enough to help Aquaman become something more than the running joke it was on HBO’s Entourage. Director James Wan, who showed an admirable restraint with The Conjuring counters Momoa’s laid back vibe with a relentless sense of hysteria and clutter. As a result, Aquaman becomes so frenzied that it becomes more numbing than thrilling.

When Aquaman gets into fisticuffs with the villains, it should be nail-biting as each side risks injury or death. Curiously, when whole city blocks (especially ones underwater) crumble around the titans of the sea, there’s little sense of danger or consequence.

Perhaps Italians change church steeples the way we change air filters in furnaces. After a while the special effects aren’t so special.

Wan has either forgotten one of his greatest skills as a filmmaker or is under pressure not to use it. In his horror movies, he could coax some formidable jolts simply by adjusting the lighting.

The visual barrage is only part of the problem. Screenwriters David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall provide sketchy details on how Aquaman can talk to fish and marine mammals and what they get out of their relationship with him. For a guy who’s supposed to be the ocean’s defender, he seems to exploit the sea critters for his own missions.

Arthur gets his powers from being the son of a lighthouse operator (Temuera Morrison) and Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), queen of Atlantis. The gifts that enable mother and son to live underwater (tolerance for pressure and eyes that see in minimal light) make them lethal combatants on earth. It doesn’t hurt that Arthur has also taken martial arts lessons from an aquatic Mr. Miyagi named Vulko (Willem Dafoe).

Back home, Atlanna’s subjects and relatives resent her for mating with a surface dweller. Her other son King Orm (Patrick Wilson) wants revenge on all the landlubbers for using the sea as a giant toilet. His fiancée Mera (Amber Heard) rushes to the surface to convince Arthur to embrace his Atlantan roots even though they didn’t do much good for his mom.

Orm’s anger makes sense, but the plot for how he’s going to make people on the surface pay is sketchy. Also the powers that Aquaman and the citizens of Atlantis have aren’t that well-inventoried. He seems to get out of trouble simply for the convenience of the story.

Johnson-McGoldrick and Beall do come up with a few good zingers for Momoa to mutter, but most of their work is in the service of leading from one CGI apocalypse to another. Speaking of overkill, one bizarre series of effects is a digital makeover that takes Morrison and Dafoe’s faces back in time. When they are helping to raise Arthur, their rubbery but stiff visages briefly take the viewer out of the film.

Thanks to foreign sales, there’s already another Aquaman in the works. Now that he’s gotten past an awkward origin tale, he can do something as amazing as peers in the Justice League used to do.

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originally posted: 12/22/18 12:27:59
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User Comments

7/03/19 To B. Fair Poorly written and often completely illogical. Can't believe it made a billion dollars. 1 stars
5/08/19 Dr.Lao Not as good as Wonder Woman, not as bad as the rest of DC’s latest movies 3 stars
4/13/19 Dr. Evil I endorse this friggin' film. It has SHARKS with LASERBEAMS attached to their heads! 5 stars
3/26/19 James Queerbugger A stunning colourful masterpiece, absolutely superb. 5 stars
3/08/19 morris campbell entertaining & visonary good popcorn flick 4 stars
1/20/19 Bob Dog Typical superhero origin movie - fine for children's entertainment. 2 stars
1/19/19 Koitus As a "popcorn movie," it was good. Great FX, as you can see in the TV ads. 3 stars
1/07/19 The Big D. If a shave and a haircut is two bits, charge me 12.25 and give me Aquaman from the 1970s! 2 stars
1/05/19 Bob Dog I want to bum-off Amber Heard. 5 stars
12/28/18 David Green Agreed, silly is the word for this dissapointing movie 2 stars
12/28/18 orpy Horrible and zilch on the love connection. 2 stars
12/27/18 phoebe awesome movie...Momoa just rocks 5 stars
12/23/18 Louise A stunning masterpiece of special effects magnificence. 5 stars
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  21-Dec-2018 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Mar-2019


  DVD: 26-Mar-2019

Directed by
  James Wan

Written by
  Will Beall

  Jason Momoa
  Amber Heard
  Nicole Kidman
  Dolph Lundgren
  Willem Dafoe
  Patrick Wilson

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