Aquaman: DC Dives Head First Into the Glory of Comic Book Cheesy-ness


Image Courtesy of IGN/Warner Bros. Studioes

Ashton T. Livingston, Entertainment Editor

Aquaman is a character no one aside from comic book readers have ever taken very seriously. He’s a guy whose main superpower is talking to fish! What’s not to mock about this guy! If you come out of this movie thinking that’s all he’s good for and that he can’t stay away from water for more than an hour you’re very wrong.

Jason Momoa brings a very unique take on Aquaman. One based more on himself than his comic counterpart and well it works! The film embraces the dude bro side of Jason Momoa and goes head first into this character. Aquaman is a gateway to various fresh new worlds to audiences. The kingdoms of Atlantis are beautiful and every inch of the screen will catch your eye. All of this combined with a cheesy but fun comic book romp.

        The acting in the film can be bad. But, it’s pretty much forgiven when the actor can pull off this bad or campy acting with such charisma. Patrick Wilson plays the half brother to Aquaman, Orm a.k.a Ocean Master. The dialogue Orm delivers is cheesy and straight out of the pages of a fun swashbuckling Aquaman adventure, but it is a lot of exposition at times. But no character seems to be safe from this. The exposition does add to the world building overall though. Wilson brings all of these bad traits in dialogue with a fun and over the top (but not too over the top) proformance. He brings charisma to the character which is always entertaining and brings in the audience. The point the villain has is good as well. A bit of an ecological awareness move but it makes sense and you can side with it. He’s a fun main antagonist. But the film’s other villain, The Black Manta seems to trudge along in elbow deep waters. His story seems a little under developed and he’s put in the film just to be another boulder in the path of Aquaman and Mera. The acting by the actor is fine and all but the script really doesn’t focus on him. He really is just there for a main baddie in Aquaman 2.

         Speaking of Aquaman! The main protagonist is of course fun as I’ve stated earlier but he’s also full of great one liners as all comic book heroes should be. Though his companion Mera falls a little flat impart to the actress portraying her. Amber Heard really doesn’t bring much to the part other than good looks. There are scenes where her emotions could’ve been turned up a bit. She just felt kind of dead compared to the melodramatic charisma the other actors brought to their parts. Mera as a character is a tough and formidable hero and her powers and actions throughout the film show that, I just wish her acting did.

         The rest of the actors are pretty good (Amber Heard not included). Aside from those darn child actors! The younger versions of Aquaman are just bad. They don’t bring the necessary emotion and were cast simply because they look like Jason Momoa. There’s times where this can work well. In We Need To Talk About  Kevin there are actors playing young Ezra Miller and they do an outstanding job while looking like a young version of Ezra Miller. The film just didn’t get the right actors for the job here.

          The film itself is a visual masterpiece and definitely worth the price of admission alone. The CGI work here is spectacular! The one complaint I had was in one scene a characters hair looked a little weird but that’s it! Every frame of CG brings a lush new world to the screen! It’s downright beautiful! The CG in action sequences was especially fun! The war that ensues in the film is so much fun to watch due to all the creative creatures and such. Each part of the new world of Atlantis is beautifully done!

            Superhero movies always have to have action, it’s just part of the genre and this film delivers a whole new kind of action spectacle! The underwater environment is awesome for fights but what really makes these scenes is James Wan’s (the director) eye for visuals. Coming off Fast and the Furious and The Conjuring he has proven himself as a visual guy. Each scene the camera flows beautifully around and it doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the action. Instead it shows you every inch of the action. No shaky cam close ups. All beautiful shots of people beating the absolute coral out of each other (see what I did there).

           The character designs are phenomenal! Aquaman’s costume is translated brilliantly to the screen along with Black Mantas and Ocean Master! Some of these costumes just shouldn’t work but they do so well! Black Mantas costume especially! From what is a cheesy costume in the comics looks big and intimidating here (wish I could say the same for his writing)! The costumes are just frickin’ amazing! I loved every bit of em!

              The score as well is fantastic! The original score as is….wish I could say the same for the songs. The songs just don’t fit this film and feel torn out of Fast and the Furious. Fitting since they have the same director! But I would have had original score there or a different song. The original score is a mix of Blade Runner and Indiana Jones. It’s great and helps the film a lot. I wish I heard more of it throughout.

              The story adapts some of Aquaman’s newest and most popular storylines. It takes most of his New 52 run and adapts it amazingly. There are something’s ripped straight from the page! The story is massive in scale and has some beautiful CGI to support its grandiose scale. It was a solid story and the film had some great action scenes to support that. Now it did feel a little bit of the same at points. Like most of the time when something good happened it lead to a big fun action scene. The film had small breathing room between action scenes and I felt it. The film was definitely an action thrill-ride but to an audience member it gave me very little time to pee. Like I could never find a good time to go. I wish I had a pause button ya feel?

                Now a big complaint I can see some audience members having (especially my family) is that he film is too cheesy. Now I personally dug it. Some of my favorite films are total cheese fests! But this film embraces the cheesy-ness it’s comics have. Comic books have a certain cheesy-ness  to them. Is one that’s believable due to how big and godly these characters are! I’m glad to see the DC movies embrace this part of their comics and what I love about them so much!

               Overall I found this film a lot of fun! I know maybe not everyone will. The opening is a little slow but after that point the film takes off into the water at the speed of meteorite! The film embraces the comic book fun and the actors do too! The story is pretty fun and the original score is great! My major complaints are the slow beginning, black manta, Amber Heard, and the songs. The film isn’t for everyone. It’s not a Marvel film. It’s funny, cheesy, and a great spectacle! If you want a comic book movie this is it! It’s practically a comic book projected on to a huge screen! The film isn’t perfect but it is a whole ocean of fun! Or maybe a small pond if you’re my parents. Overall I give Aquaman a B-. It’s fun, campy and extremely enjoyable. This is surely a step in the right direction for DC films.