It’s too bad that the newspaper doesn’t support GIFs, because the perfect visual review of “Aquaman” would be the GIF of Brick Tamland from “Anchorman” yelling, “Loud noises!”
Like many of its DCEU predecessors (except “Wonder Woman”), “Aquaman” relies on auditory and visual overload to entertain you. Perhaps many people want their eyes and ears pummeled into oblivion. However, if you’re hoping for something more like “Wonder Woman,” — a great story and interesting character — then you’ve come to the wrong place. “Aquaman” is more like “Man of Steel.”
Maybe the movie would have been more fun if Jason Momoa had been replaced by Dwayne Johnson — someone with a bit of charisma. As it is, Momoa is buff, but lifeless.
The movie, which is almost two and a half hours, covers Aquaman’s origin story, two main villains, a wacky Indiana Jones-lite adventure, and a haphazardly pieced together mythology about all the people living under the world’s oceans.
Arthur (Momoa) is the offspring of a surface dweller (Temuera Morrison) and an Atlantean queen (Nicole Kidman). The whole story is explained over and over, so there’s no need to go over it here. Let’s just say that Arthur had to grow up without his mother and his father has been heartsick for 20 years hoping his long-lost-love would return.
Honestly, the love story between Arthur’s dad Tom and his mom Atlanna is the most compelling aspect of the movie. A movie just about them would’ve been far more enjoyable, but this movie is about Aquaman, sadly.
Of course, there’s a prophecy or a legend that tells of a new king that will rise and take over Atlantis; of course, there’s a super-powerful weapon hidden somewhere extremely hard to find that will turn the tide of Atlantis’ future; and of course, Arthur is the one to fulfill everything.
Why is it always some prophetic foreordination? Why can’t heroes just do things without fulfilling some master plan?
Arthur must fight his way through not one, but two villains. There’s King Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s half-brother who is mad with power and wants the various kingdoms of Atlantis to rise up and go to war with the surface dwellers. There’s also Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a hilarious villain who looks and moves exactly like those awkward Power Rangers monsters.
So, the fate of the world hangs in the balance as Arthur and Mera (Amber Heard) traverse the world trying to find the all-powerful trident that will certainly give Arthur the upper hand.
With inventive and culturally significant superhero movies like “Black Panther” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Aquaman” feels regressive.
Its bombast isn’t countered by any emotionally resonant storylines or characters. Instead, the movie continues to ratchet up the computer-generated action until it’s almost unbearable. There’s a final sequence that’s reminiscent of the final “Hobbit” movie where Peter Jackson just threw every obscure Middle-earth reference into the battle because he could.
Like “Man of Steel” or “Justice League” or “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Aquaman” relies completely on its effects and noise and forgets that superheroes can be interesting, thought-provoking and special.