Review: AQUAMAN is an Underwater Space Opera and Course Correction For the DCEU


Super hero origin movies usually have one thing in common and that is they can have a lot of exposition. Comic book fans can sometimes get bored with exposition but it is done not for them as it is for the larger general audience who most likely is not as familiar with these characters like the comic book readers are.

So as a fellow comic book reader I may be in a bad spot with AQUAMAN because while I do see it as being a much needed course correction for the DC Extended Universe, it does have its faults with the biggest one being that it has way too much exposition. If I'm sitting in my theater seat thinking to myself about how I get it and don't need more exposition and backstory, then you went just a bit too far with it. I was not expecting as much as was throw at the audience.

But if this is the biggest problem with AQUAMAN, then Warner Bros. and DC are on a better path than previous directors have had in this cinematic universe. The last film was JUSTICE LEAGUE and that movie was an absolute disaster so there is not where else to really go but up from that terrible movie.

AQUAMAN is a visual joy to watch as it is more-or-less an underwater space opera. The visuals of the various underwater locations definitely have the vibe of visiting other planets. I will admit I was expecting exactly what I got from this solo movie. I wanted lots of color, great designs, as well as sealife who are battle-ready. Unfortunately, there wasn't more of a focus on these underwater creatures and how they were used in battle until the very end, which has some moments you'll get big smiles from.

Actor Jason Momoa does what he does best as Arthur Curry, a.k.a. the Aquaman, and he is able to bring both fun and badassery to a character that has been the butt of jokes for decades. I do not think actress Amber Heard was a good choice as Mera as she just doesn't feel like a good match with Momoa and her lines fall flat more times than they did not. Actor Patrick Wilson plays Arthur's half-brother Orm, who is trying to become the Ocean Master. Wilson brings a lot of typical grandiose monologues with his performance to the point it is just over-the-top. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundren, and Temuera Morrison are seasoned pros at their craft and solid in their respective roles.

The weakest link was most definitely Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. While not the fault of Abdul-Mateen II's acting, his role as Black Manta was written so irrelevant and is quite the waste of a good villain with poor dialogue.

The pacing of AQUAMAN can be very quick at times and slow to a dead stop at other times giving you a possible sense of the movie feeling like it is never-ending. I do understand how some fans may like this because they want to stick with this characters as long as possible before the credits roll.

A big highlight of AQUAMAN is the fact the typical DCEU villain troupe of having a humanoid monster big bad — as seen in BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, SUICIDE SQUAD, WONDER WOMAN, and JUSTICE LEAGUE — was not present. There's a lot to complain about with this overuse in the DCEU and it is good reason why many feel Zod was the best villain so far because he was more relatable to both the audience and the film's protagonist. Orm/Ocean Master easily becomes the DCEU's second best villain so far.

Overall, AQUAMAN should give many fans positive hope at the future of the DCEU as the days of dark, gritty, moody, and brooding tones have been replaced with bright colors and more entertainment value. Get ready for a wild ride because AQUAMAN will take you places you had no idea you would visit.

Written by Daniel Wolf, Founder & Publisher