Movie Review: Aquaman, Sink or Swim?

Kaleb Bang, Staff Writer

James Wan's film about the DC hero opens Dec. 21.

This movie poster is by Movie Poster Arena and the rights are distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures

Ever since the conclusion of the wildly successful Dark Knight trilogy, DC movies have had a hard time living up to the standard of modern superhero films. Movies like Suicide Squad and Justice League were not well received by fans or critics, but after Wonder Woman revealed a glimmer of hope for the DC Cinematic Universe, all eyes were focused on Aquaman to see if it could live up to the hype. So, does it live up to the ranks of great DC movies, or does it fall in the crowd of the forgettable ones.

Aquaman focuses on the lesser known hero of the DC universe, Arthur Curry: a half-human, half-Atlantean man with royal blood. When his half brother wages war on the surface world, Arthur must challenge him for the throne and uncover what it truly means to be a hero. Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as the titular role and is directed by James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring).

One thing Aquaman absolutely gets right is the visuals. The underwater world of Atlantis is visually spectacular and unlike anything put on screen before. The visual effects are almost flawless with only a few moments of disbelief, but that’s pretty good considering half the movie takes place underwater. Seeing this movie on an IMAX screen was well worth the hefty price.

Another great thing Aquaman has going for it is the direction from legendary director James Wan. His previous experience in the horror movie realm and the Fast And Furious franchise was utilized exceptionally well here. He truly brings this other worldly story to life with his unique style and breathtaking action sequences. Wan is what allows this movie to prevail despite some glaring flaws.

About those flaws though, there’s a lot of them, and it mostly comes down to the writing. Aquaman has some of the worst writing of any movie last year. The story is the same basic, beat for beat narrative we’ve seen in many other superhero movies. The dialogue is painfully bad at times and even brings a fault to some actors who struggle to perform with below average material. The horrible writing would let the film fall flat if it weren’t for James Wan doing his best behind the camera.

All in all though, despite the weak story and writing, the film has an overall fun vibe to it that can’t be forgotten. It’s nothing that should be taken too serious and will leave you fully entertained for its entire runtime. While I don’t have any inclination to see it again, I would recommend seeing Aquaman if you’re just looking for a fun movie to watch without thinking too much about it. If this is the direction DC movies are heading it, then they will soon find the success and public appeal that fans have been hoping for.

Rating – 6/10