Sunday, December 16, 2018

Stubs - Aquaman - Second Best Justice League Movie

Aquaman (2018) Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman Directed by James Wan. Screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall. Based on the DC comic Aquaman created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris. Produced by Peter Safran, Rob Cowan. Color USA Run Time: 143 minutes. Superhero, Action

Calling Aquaman the second best Justice League movie is sort of setting a low bar. With the exception of Wonder Woman (2017), the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has been a disappointment, to say the least. Wonder Woman changed that and even though it doesn't reach the same heights, Aquaman continues the trend of better films. Perhaps, like Bumblebee (2018), this franchise needs someone new behind the camera. Just as Transformers seems better without the original director, so do the Justice League films without theirs.

If you come looking for a lot of CGI and a lot of fighting, then you will not be disappointed. This film has both in spades. Some of them are very well done, such as the scenes done underwater, which is where much of the action takes place. As far as fighting goes you might be reminded of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), which is to say there's plenty.

Amber Heard plays Mera, Aquaman's (Jason Momoa) love interest in the film.

Jason Momoa is good in the lead role, one that he at least looks born to have played. Amber Heard is also good in the role of Mera, Aquaman's love interest as well as a warrior princess. I will admit to lower expectations for her performance, which she surpasses. I'm not familiar at all with the work of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, but he's Black Manta, one of the villains that Aquaman faces in the film and he will no doubt be in any sequels that are no doubt going to follow if this does as well at the box-office as it appears it will.

But as good as the special effects and acting might be, Aquaman is saddled with a rather convoluted backstory for a character most people only have a passing knowledge of in the first place. I'm not sure what if any of the origin story in this film has to do with what Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris, the character's creators, had in mind. Sometimes stories have to be made bigger for the film but they can also get overblown in the process. I think the latter is the case here. And I also had some story problems with how this film, a stand-alone story, fits in with the ongoing series. It should fit in better than it does.

Aquaman does show a sense of fun that the early DCEU lacked. The film's running time seems a little long, though I didn't really find myself checking my watch too often. If you haven't already given up on the Justice League, then Aquaman is about as good as it gets, unless of course, you've already seen Wonder Woman.

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