James Wan is one of the greatest horror directors around, he knows how to create tension and atmosphere. When it was announced that he was going to direct Aquaman, I was left questioning. However, when the first trailer dropped I was in love with the movie.
The action looked amazing, it was funny, colourful, vibrant and had good CGI. Which is more than I can say for Justice League. With DC’s tracked record so far, I was hoping that this was finally going to give us a really good movie. Wonder woman was pretty good, despite myself not enjoying it as much as most critics did.
Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world. Whilst his brother plots to start a war against the underwater kingdoms.
Aquaman is easily the best DC universe movie. I always joked about the character, calling his power lame and uninteresting. Somehow, James Wan has made me think differently now and I see him for the trident-wielding badass that he is. Something that surprised me was how good the action is, I never expected Wan to be to direct fight scenes so well. The choreography is amazing, most of the fight scenes are done in one take which I always appreciate. It constantly keeps the audience in the action, never cutting away for even a second. The final battle at the end of the movie feels so epic and grand in scale. This is also helped greatly by the movies sound, which is top notch. You feel every hit and collision and the screaming of the animals just helps to add to that feeling of war.
The plot is interesting enough to not be boring, half of it feels like a generic superhero flick whilst the other feels like an adventure movie. It’s beautifully shot, the cinematography is some of the best I’ve seen all year. All of the underwater cities are breathtaking, Atlantis looks unique and vibrant, its ability to stand out from all the other fantasy, superhero cities that we’ve seen before. Every underwater scene took my breath away. Some might argue the CGI feels a little off, I could see it but for me, it almost made it feel like a comic book. I much prefer it to the dark, no colour, themed movies we’ve had from DC so far. They’re just so boring and bland to look at.
The soundtrack felt a little off to me, some songs are really well chosen and fit the movie really well. On the other hand, some songs are really poppy and make the movie feel more like a music video. It doesn’t help when we have slow-motion shots of Aquaman walking out of the sea with a remix of Toto’s Africa. It was extremely cringy and have no idea who thought it was a good idea.
Jason Momoa is as good as ever as Aquaman, Amber Heard brings a beautiful presence as princess Mera. Patrick Wilson is a fan favourite of mine, here he is good but underused. It would have been nice to see more of him but he is a part of the best looking shot in the whole movie. Black Manta is extremely underused, I understood his motive and felt like a character he was good. Sadly, he’s barely in the movie, never leaves an impact, and gets his ass kicked pretty easily. Another issue is the number of plot holes if someone can please explain to me why some Atlanteans can breathe on land but others cant? Why is it only Aquaman can talk to fish? How can some blades harm him but others don’t even pierce his skin? I might have missed something but I was left questioning these throughout the whole movie.
Overall, James Wan delivers in bringing us the best DC universe movie so far. The action is intense and choreographed really well. The cinematography is beautiful, acting is good, Atlantis is fascinating and vibrant looking. The music can be good at times but also be cringy. Wilson and Manta are interesting villains, if underused.
Director: James Wan
Runtime: 143 Minutes