Aquaman Review

When bringing a strong man to cinema, it is usually either in retaliation to a stronger man elsewhere or in the hopes of grooming the next face of the action genre. Here is where the former takes place, a response to the chiselled mundanity founded by Chris Hemsworth and his inevitable rise to the top of the food chain. Aquaman, then, is to Jason Momoa what Thor is to Hemsworth. Ditching the elastic greens and eye-sore oranges of the comic books, the DC Extended Universe try and cultivate the pangs of seriousness once more. It screams of the video game era birthed in the early 2010s, the Uncharted series and the shot composition all linger with ineffective, pedestrian meandering. It is all this fleeting tranquillity can offer, for if it tried something new or beyond the pale, that would be exertion this cast and crew simply do not possess.  

Acceptable chemistry can be found between Momoa and Amber Heard, both offer the minimum amount of concentration required to get to grips with a story of half-man, half-fish. What more can feasibly be offered than an attentive re-imagining of a very boring superhero? That does seem to be the model of success for these films, very placid and underwhelming pieces of blockbuster entertainment. The sad reality is, though, that beyond the poor CGI and the Power Rangers style of monsters, there is nothing of particular note or interest. Easy it may be to just rattle on about the failed attempts at capturing a Lovecraftian vibe, that would simply not be true. Dark depths of the ocean and sea creatures are not enough to claim the rights to comparisons to literary greats, as much as James Wan wishes it would. 

A range of bleak, boring performances are found in the place of any interest. It is hard to care for these aquatic commotions when the cinematography and waging wars of the deep blue sea are ineffective and visually turgid. Willem Dafoe and Patrick Wilson appear in supporting capacities, their performances as forgettable as the varyingly dense fight scenes and back-and-forth banter of Momoa and Heard. A struggle it may be to care for these characters, it is even harder to access their motives and meanings. Aquaman fights the forces of evil, whose design and colour scheme is near-identical to that of the heroes. Impossible it may be to distinguish the good from the bad, at least there is some semblance of heroics.  

Wan has moments of innovative complexity, but Aquaman does not feel or look like a film. It is, to remain topical, a product. That is what it feels like, and, unfortunately, for all the acceptable bits of action, there is nothing original within. Riffing and ripping on anything vaguely popular in the 21st century of filmmaking, Aquaman is exactly what sterile, bored audiences would hope for. It is neither challenging nor interesting and goes through the motions with a rigid structure and familiarity. The waves of change are nowhere to be found, and the boring, meandering scenes Aquaman offers up are nothing of severe interest.  

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