Now at first I was a bit skeptical as to how Warner brothers was going to bring this character to life in his own feature film, especially after his introduction to the cinematic universe in Justice League. Jason Mamoa was an interesting and good casting choice in my opinion for a few reasons, but that did not mean the execution would go well. To begin with I like the fact that they ditched the traditional blonde haired blue eyed version we were originally given in the cartoons and comic of old. Nothing wrong with that aesthetic but we have plenty like that to choose from and having someone with Hawaiian heritage play the role has some symmetry to it. It fits. Being a marine biology major only adds to the surfer dude attitude and overall mans man vibe you get from him on screen. I was a bit worried about that when he appeared in Justice league as that was all we got to see of him. In this film he gets to do more, not much more but more nonetheless.
The supporting cast is good in this film but there are some that I would have liked to see more of. Specifically one of Aquamans most known villains Black Manta could have used some more fleshing out but I think they’re saving him for a future film. The premise behind Aquaman is kind of silly and not to be taken too seriously and DC leaned into that but still had some serious moments without overdoing it. Dark and serious works for Batman, but not for Aquaman and Superman. Hopefully they’ll remedy the mistakes with Superman in these later iterations soon.
The truth is if we had this film and one for Cyborg and Flash before Justice league then there would be no complaints about the lack of character development and emotional currency with the audience. As I stated in my Justice League review Marvel got it right with the Avengers and DC just tried to shoehorn these characters into Justice League thinking they could compete. Financially some of their movies are going to do well because the characters have a fan base that will come support in hopes of seeing something from their childhood brought to life on screen.
This film had a lot going for it. It was fun, there were plenty of big set pieces with large scale battles, and a great deal of action for such a long film. The cinematic shots were beautiful at times and they introduced us to various tribes or kingdoms of Atlantis. In my opinion all of this made up for the lack of deep meaningful character development. Then again this is a comic book movie so I was not expecting a Shakespearean experience. I need just enough to understand the characters better before we go smashing them up, and I got that here.
As far as negatives, I could have done without some of the side quest scenes which in the end seemed unnecessary and once you think about what happens it opens a huge plot hole. In addition to that I wanted more Black Manta and it seems I will get it once they give us the sequel. Ocean master was a quintessential over the top comic book villain and they even gave him his iconic costume in the end so fans of the comic will enjoy that.
Bottom line this is a very good film and I would say if you’re a fan of the comics, into science fiction, action and space battles(not set in space but under water in this case but it works to scratch that itch IMHO) then go see this movie. It’s a long but fun ride. Warner brothers let this film be light and funny when it needed to be but not so much that you get annoyed with the effort. (see Flash in Justice League) They also put in a post credit scene so it would seem they are taking a page from the competitions playbook which is not a bad thing here. So that’s my spoiler free assessment of the film but I would be curious to hear your opinions so post a comment below. Until next time.