Aquaman (2018) is the sixth film in the troubled DC Extended Universe, or Worlds Of DC as DC and Warner Bros. referred to the universe as at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con but neither have really pushed that name as of late. To be honest, after Suicide Squad wasted the massive amount of potential the film had to be the savior the universe needed, I became fed up with the lack of quality from the movies.
When it came to the DCEU, DC and Warner Bros. were more concerned with quantity over quality, playing catch up with the successful Marvel Cinematic Universe instead of taking the time to develop their characters and their universe as a whole. When Wonder Woman came out, I decided that if the movie wasn’t good, I would skip Justice League and overall be done with the DCEU, regardless of what they announced afterward.
Wonder Woman ended up being fantastic and one my favorite movies of 2017, and I decided to stay on, as the film lifted my faith in the universe. Then Justice League came out and lowered my faith again. Even though Justice League ended up being an unruly mess, it made me excited for Aquaman’s solo effort. I loved Jason Momoa’s performance in the film, even though I felt like his character was wasted. When the trailers for Aquaman (2018) came out, I was sold on the film. It looked like the film that DC and Warner needed to save the DCEU from slipping into further mediocrity.
One of Aquaman’s biggest strengths is the performances of its actors. Jason Momoa as Aquaman is the rightful king of Atlantis. He was the perfect choice for the role and you can really tell how much fun he’s having playing the character. Amber Heard is absolutely stunning as Mera. She does a great job portraying her, even though her hair is very noticeably a wig. Willem Dafoe was perfect as Nuidis Vulko. And of course, Patrick Wilson is great as Ocean Master and he proved to be one of the better villains of the DCEU. Finally, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II absolutely steals the show as Black Manta. Although Manta’s stay isn’t very long, I loved every scene he was in. He was definitely, one of the most menacing villains the DCEU has seen so far.
Another one of the film’s biggest strengths is the action sequences. The action in the film is absolutely stunning and incredibly well choreographed, shot, and directed. Director, James Wan’s gift for action sequences, as showcased in films like Furious 7, really helps the film shine in these scenes and I had an absolute blast watching them. They kept me at the edge of my seat cheering on Aquaman and Mera. Aside from the great action, the film’s visuals are stunning. Atlantis looks fantastic, the ships and vehicles look great, the visuals really shine in the final fight between Aquaman and Ocean Master. Even above the sea, the visuals delivered.
I love the story, and the message Aquaman also pushes. While some might feel like the inclusion of Aquaman’s origin story will make it a dime-a-dozen origin film, I felt like including his origin was important to include in the film, not just because Aquaman didn’t get a proper introduction in Justice League but because it directly ties in the story. I love how elements of his origin are woven throughout the film instead of all of it being shoved in the beginning.
James Wan’s direction is an integral part of what makes the film so good. His vision is clear throughout and manages to combine superhero action and swashbuckler elements with a background in horror to deliver such a fun and enjoyable experience. I’m really glad Aquaman didn’t suffer from massive studio interference like previous films in the DCEU have.
Aquaman’s faults start with its runtime, as it’s a tad bit too long. The plot is a bit messy and there are some minor continuity issues in the film when it deals with Aquaman’s status within the larger universe. There are also logical issues in the film, such as Mera’s ability to breathe both air and water, but the rest of the Atlantians can’t, which is never explained at any point in the film. Mera’s hair is very noticeably a wig, and it can be distracting at times. Even though Black Manta is awesome in the film, he’s only really there to help set up a sequel. Once he’s dealt with, you don’t see him again for the rest of the film, and it almost makes his inclusion in the film pointless. Also that Pitbull song sampling Toto’s Africa… I don’t know about that one. When it comes on, it just feels out of place.
Aquaman is the first step towards a brighter future for the DCEU and like Wonder Woman, shows you what happens when they have the right team behind one of their properties and as well as what happens when there’s not massive studio interference.
While I don’t think it’s as good as Wonder Woman, Aquaman (2018) is without a doubt the second-best outing in the DCEU and is a film you shouldn’t miss out on. Despite its flaws, Aquaman prevails through its storytelling, acting, action, direction, and visuals. It’s a fun wild adventure and I’m really glad I took the chance on seeing it early. I hope Amazon does with more studios for more films. The future is bright for the DCEU, and if Aquaman is our first glimpse that, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for it.
Aquaman 2 is scheduled to be released in 2023.
While I don’t think it’s as good as Wonder Woman, Aquaman is without a doubt the second-best outing in the DCEU and is a film you shouldn’t miss out on.
I’m Ian! But most of you will probably grow to know me as Spidey. I’m Your Friendly Neighboorhood Spider-Man and aspiring Pokemon Trainer. Animation, comics, EDM, pop punk, hip hop, 90’s/2000’s culture enthusiast. I’m also a member of creative collectives CGYT and Cinematic Gadget. Also, if you’re into the alternative music scene, I additionally write for All Punked Up and the Spinning Thoughts podcast on idobi Radio.