In honor of the new year, its a new kind of post for my dedicated readers. My very first movie review to be exact. Who would have woken up thinking they’d be blessed in such a way? A scholarly article of my highly valued, desired and coveted opinions, chock-full of horrible puns and blatantly lame lowbrow jokes (see: title) in typical movie review fashion. I’ve yet to assess any piece of cinema publicly in such a fashion, so I request all to patiently bear with me as we venture into this uncharted territory. So, without further ado, I present to you my highly professional commentary on Aquaman. **Spoilers Ahead**
Let me start by saying that expectations can ruin everything. Like when you’re walking upstairs in the pitch-black dark of night and your foot, naively expecting another step to climb, swings heavily through the thin air only to slam against the cold hard unforgiving floor. I, as an expert, would never let something as destructive as expectations influence my judgement. But you, as an uneducated sheep, may falter from this advice; blindly letting my well-written words coerce your own personal thoughts. With that being said, feel free to completely disregard everything you read today and form your own opinion.
Aquaman starts out decently with an advanced, modern age pirate raid on what appears to be a Russian submarine. It’s a quick jump into the movie, wasting no time for the action to pick up and grab the audience’s attention. Aquaman of course also wastes no time to swim on scene with reckless abandon, tossing the submarine around like a pool toy before lifting the submarine to the surface and busting in. He jumps down through the hatch, landing in a typical superhero pose, and hits the bad guys with “Permission to come aboard?”. It was the kind of opening you could expect from a DC superhero movie, corny one-liner included. There was a pretty bitchin guitar riff included during the ensuing fight scene, which I didn’t think quite fit Jason Momoa’s rendition of Michael Phelps, but still seemed like some pretty solid signature music for the underwater crime fighter.
As I took in the first scene of the rarity that is a well-reviewed, highly rated DC film, I started to get a feel for the movie and the atmosphere created for the viewers. You’re handed the movie’s antagonist on a silver platter, complete with a father that Aquaman all but murders himself. Along with his newly minted, trademark guitar riff accompanying his dominant yet PG-13 action scene, there’s a definite direction that director James Wan sets for the audience with this opening scene. But he proceeds to drown the viewers in a brand new atmosphere with a different heading in nearly every following scene.
I would have to say this is my biggest gripe for the newest disappointment that is DC universe cinema. There was absolutely no consistency when it came to the film’s personality, which was very unfortunate because it had a very small selection of scenes that showed how exceptional the movie had the potential to be. One like a wide-angle panning shot of Aquaman and his very forced love interest of a sidekick, swimming at high speeds deep into a trench, with only a flare illuminating the scene as they are chased through the dark abyss by an unimaginable swarm of disgusting trench monsters. Its a surprisingly and incredibly stunning shot, one that I honestly think I’ll always remember. Wan also takes advantage of such a CGI filled movie, constructing landscapes that take our understanding of the ocean world and bring it new life, creating an almost alien and otherworldly prospective to a familiar setting.
These promising and genuinely remarkable scenes are very few and far between though. If the rest of the movie was even just average, I might go as far to say I’d watch this movie again, and it might even be a good movie. But it is not, for the film as a whole is massively anchored by horrid writing, pointless plot gimmicks, directionless directing, and a cast with absolutely zero chemistry or rapport. I can’t even comment on the acting because I have no idea if it was decent acting that buoyed such trite writing or if the writing wasn’t as stale as it seems and the cast couldn’t make something out of nothing. I’d almost prefer an unremarkable movie to what I was presented, because although it was remarkable, it was for the worst reasons possible.
The only thing that I can even begin to imagine brought this whirlpool of an oil spill to such heights was the social commentary on humans and their destruction of mother earth, in particular the oceans. Such points can be spoken on by plenty of documentaries, most of which are of much higher quality than this beached whale disguised as a sun-tanning smokeshow. If you want this commentary to be the core message of such a high-budget blockbuster movie, by all means, have at it. But at least make the rest of the movie around it well.
The villain you’re initially introduced to at the beginning of the film is mostly irrelavent, as he was only a pawn in a much larger scheme. Then there’s the very unnatural relationship arc between our protagonist and the already married Princess of Atlantis. Their lovefest is progressed throughout the film by insanely cliched scenes between the two, like holding hands after an intense event. Or her falling off a perched position and our large, handsome Arthur catching and holding her. Only for them to finally kiss during the most inopportune moment, in the middle of the final battle while thousands around them are getting slaughtered left and right. Then you have the ambiance that is created and changed seemingly every second of the movie. The guitar riff at the beginning dies a quick death, only for the soundtrack to bounce from rock, electronic, to 80’s music, to cheesy romance music, to a random modern Pitbull song, back to some rock. A varied and diverse soundtrack is not a bad thing, but not in the way Aquaman did it. It just completely added to the mayhem and mess that was already slapped and duct taped together.
There are likely many more grievances I hold against this dolphin with a plastic six-pack ring around its snout of a movie, but I believe I’ve covered enough for anyone who’s actually gotten this far to get the gist of what I’ve been writing so passionately about. I will say that the movie was not horrible. There was enough of a sprinkling of solid moments and scenes to hold my interest throughout. Along with not the worst acting and some really good CGI, I did not mind sitting through the whole thing. I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again though, and I don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone unless they enjoy laughing at unintentionally corny movies or want background noise for some netflix and chill. I will also say to you, you gorgeous lovely reader, that I respect and applaud you for remaining with me on this bumpy journey on a new adventure. I really enjoyed sharing my thoughts and I hope you enjoyed hearing them. I’ll be sure to have more for you soon.