HOLLYWOOD—Well, DC Comics is at it again. I hate to say this, but DC just has not been able to compete with Marvel when it comes to big screen versions of iconic superheroes. I mean “The Dark Knight” still remains the greatest comic book flick of all-time in my opinion and up till this point I don’t see it being dethroned anytime soon. “Superman Returns” was a bore, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” was a bust, “Man of Steel” was lackluster and “Justice League” just failed to inspire fans of any of the iconic DC characters.
Well, Aquaman aka Arthur Curry is finally getting his solo flick with, hello “Aquaman.” I know the question that everyone is asking is rather the action-adventure lives up to the hype. Hmm, it’s not a terrible movie people, it is far more entertaining than one expects, not great, but plenty of fun.
I would argue it’s not because of the script; while solid, it once again lacks the notion of depicting a villain who is an equal adversary to our protagonist. For some reason so many comic book flicks ALWAYS get this wrong. The villain needs to be a formidable foe to the hero, and that is sometimes constantly forgotten. The one good thing “Aquaman” has going for it is its star Jason Momoa. He brings a charisma, excitement and heart to a character, who I always found to be one of the most lackluster of the DC comic book universe.
Is he a brute? Yes. Is he muscular? Yes. He is also funny as hell. You don’t get those comedic notes often in comic book flicks that don’t come across as forced or cringe-worthy. I’m not going to go into the entire backstory of our hero, but he is half-man half-merman. His mother Atlanna is portrayed by Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman. I felt Kidman’s acting capabilities were not fully utilized in the movie. She’s beautiful, effervescent and serves her purpose and later dissipates from the movie.
The movie loses points for its narrative which is classic comic book 101, character with great powers refuses to assume his destiny, but through forces he or she cannot control they are forced to step up. A lot of that encouragement comes directly as a result of Mera (Amber Heard). I loved Heard in this role; it was fun, sexy and her chemistry with Momoa just works so well on so many levels. Heard is perfect casting and makes up for some of the lackluster characters like Orm (Patrick Wilson) and Dolph Lundgren (Nereus), who just seemed miscast if you ask me. Wilson is not villainous enough, and Lundgren, I cannot get the notion of Ivan Drago out of my head.
“Aquaman” does tell an entertaining origin tale; we don’t jump right into the action, it’s a buildup of theatrics and there are some amazing visuals from underneath the sea. It doesn’t hurt that our hero is able to deliver quite the punch or beating on his distractors. However, that climax with Orm was beyond disappointing. The buildup is not as exciting as the movie attempts to present it and I’ve seen so much better in even worse superhero adaptations than this one. “Aquaman” had all of the makings of a fun adventure, but the visuals alone well captivating won’t make a mediocre movie a great one.