The DCEU (DC extended universe) is an utter shambles. Warner Bros desperately want to replicate Marvel's success, but in the last two years they've given us the atrocious trilogy of Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League. What's more, the studio is notorious for losing directors, writers and announcing films that are rarely ever released. From James Wan, director of Saw and The Conjuring series, DC take a zany leap of faith with Aquaman - but does it sink or swim? Arthur Curry learns that he is heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. However when his half brother King Orm threatens to bring war to the surface Arthur must lead his people and protect the opposing worlds.
Against all odds, Aquaman is an over-the-top swashbuckling epic. Finally DC pluck up the kahoonas to step outside their limited comfort zone, doing justice to a notoriously awkward and silly superhero. Aquaman obtains a sense of direction which has been lacking from most, if not all of the recent DC outings - with Wan's camp and overly exaggerated style plastered all over this movie. Although it sometimes risks becoming too corny, this fish boy chronicle remains in the spirit of the character, warts and all. Although there are a few significant drawbacks in terms of narrative and script - Aquaman confidently sets sail and for once rises above the general criticism that lays siege to DC's walls.
The cooky aspects of the comics translate splendidly onto screen - Atlantian guards riding hammerhead sharks are an essential feature of Wan's top-notch world building. Aquaman is a tidal wave of creativity - with neon coral set pieces and mesmerising costume design - Atlantis pieces together as a compelling and visually immersive setting. Complementing this we have Rupert Gregson Williams composing, his Vangelis like 80's synth score is like diving for pearls and finding Atlantis, then uncovering all of its ancient treasures.
Aquaman borrows vast, landscape visuals from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. The final act sees the tremendous, large scale battle for the seven seas take place on the ocean floor, with obvious influence from George Lucas and Peter Jackson. In all honesty the action is breathtaking and surprisingly refreshing - rising above the climatic fight in Infinity War, Aquaman is outrageously flamboyant for all the right reasons. But there is also room for new ideas too - such as a dazzling gladiator battle and the Sicilian rooftop sequence that both utilise some remarkable camera work.
I'm not entirely won over by Jason Momoa as Aquaman though. Towards the end he sort of comes into his own but he suffers from poor character development and sometimes comes across like a knockoff Thor. Amber Heard is a treat as Princess Mera - effectively the Little Mermaid with glorious X Men-esque powers - they definitely bring the best out of each other. Moreover future arch nemesis Black Manta is shoe horned into the film, only existing in this story as a device for a minor fight but really to establish himself for the next instalment.
If you don't think you're going to enjoy a film where an octopus plays the bongos, then you might want to steer clear of these waters. The script isn't far from a shipwreck, plus things take a sickening, Fast and Furious turn when cheesy pop songs crop up and completely jolt the film's tone - absolutely nobody on this earth should be trapped into listening to Pitbull covering Africa by Toto. Aquaman is so bizarre and dizzying but it works - the plot washes in and out like the tide but it has a fun, over-the-top and campy style that remains faithful to a superhero who rides dolphins. What more did you expect?
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.