Annlyel explores five qualities that make James Wan’s DC Universe blockbuster so appealing…
Aquaman. After Justice League‘s dismal take on the character, I honestly thought there was no hope for the Atlantean’s potential to have a good movie. I liked Jason Momoa’s rendition of the character but the writers for Justice League didn’t understand how to incorporate him into the story, leaving him as a bland depiction of his true greatness.
This horrifying depiction of one of the coolest superheroes ever created was demolished, however, with the arrival of Aquaman. This film is a blaring triumph through and through. It manages to dazzle every step of the way and I came away from that movie theater feeling like I had one of the grandest movie experiences of my entire life. But what was it that made it such an amazing film? Well, here are five reasons this movie was able to blow people’s minds in the way that it did.
1. The Action
The DCEU is home to some of the greatest superheroes ever created. And yet, despite that simple fact each of these heroes’ various films has never been able to truly shine in the action department. Whether we’re talking about Man of Steel, which really should have been called “Wreck-It-Superman”, or the latest installment in the franchise, Justice League these movies haven’t been able to grasp the epicness of these characters in exciting ways.
The best action scene before Aquaman was the awesome fight scene on the beach of Themyscira featuring the Amazonian warriors versus the normal male soldiers. That’s the one action scene I came away from legitimately appalled by how incredible it was. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman was never able to fully shine because her action scenes were riddled with unnecessary slow-motion moments, taking away from the epicness of her abilities.
Aquaman is never burdened with this disappointment. From the first action scene to the last this movie delivers in ways I could’ve never imagined. I watched every one of these action scenes in sheer wide-eyed awe because they were all that amazing. And both climactic duels featuring Arthur Curry versus King Orm were utterly delightful–a breath of relief from what we’ve seen before with other heroes’ climactic confrontations. Yes, I’m talking about you, Batman vs. Superman.
I’ve seen some awe-inspiring action in superhero movies but Aquaman easily sits in the top three of my Best-Superhero-Action list.
2. Jason Momoa
Besides Gal Gadot’s rendition of Diana Prince a.k.a Wonder Woman and Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the beloved villainess Harley Quinn there haven’t been many actors in the DCEU who have been praised for their roles in these films. Henry Cavill, in my fair opinion, is the perfect Superman but with clunky scripts and a stoic attitude people soon began to despise this much different version of the cape-wearing Kryptonian. Now, I haven’t seen Christopher Reeve’s rendition of the character in the iconic Superman movies of yesteryear but to many fans of the character, he is still viewed as the greatest portrayer of the character to this day.
Ben Affleck wasn’t exactly horrible as Batman. In fact, I liked his take on the character in Batman vs. Superman (Justice League ruined him) but he still had a ways to go before reaching the likes of Christian Bale or Michael Keaton. Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher’s portrayals of The Flash and Cyborg weren’t exactly terrible but they didn’t seem irreplaceable. And that leads me to Jason Momoa.
Arthur Curry’s unforgivingly boisterous personality could’ve been a major downfall to the movie’s quality and yet Jason Momoa managed to pull it off in an outstanding fashion. His take on the character was undeniably perfect. When he needed to bring humor to the story he did but when he needed to take a more serious turn he was able to do that as well. Jason Momoa embodies the role of Aquaman so well that I honestly can’t imagine anyone else in the role. And, surprisingly, he looks great in the iconic green and yellow (or gold in this case) outfit. 🙂
3. The Visuals
Another thing that made the movie utterly stunning to observe was the visuals. Oh my goodness, there were so many moments when I could only stare at the screen in sheer, dumbfounded awe. Whether we’re talking about that INCREDIBLE throne room sequence or Aquaman and Mera’s horrifying chase through the Kingdom of the Trench this movie’s visuals were off the chain.
If Aquaman doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar for visual effects that would be a downright outrage because this movie is gorgeous. 100%, undeniably gorgeous.
4. The Characters
Aquaman was clearly awesome but a lot of times it isn’t the main character who ruins a film’s chances of being enjoyable. It’s the other characters, the co-stars or the villain who ends up making the film a pain to observe. Aquaman doesn’t suffer this sad fate.
Every character and the actor who was chosen to portray that character was absolutely perfect. Temuera Morrison’s take on Arthur’s father was brilliant and he managed to bring a sort of comfort to every scene he graced. Nicole Kidman was utterly fascinating as Queen Atlanna and yeah, she can kick butt. Amber Heard’s Princess Mera was way more than a boring love interest but rather a fierce warrior of the seas. Patrick Wilson was absolutely amazing as King Orm. In fact, I found him to be my second favorite character just behind Aquaman. Every scene that he graced was riveting. Willem Dafoe was perfect as the wise master type in Vulko. And Yahya Abdul Mateen II did a great job playing Black Manta.
Each of these characters brought something equally fascinating to the story and I can’t imagine the movie being as enjoyable as it was without them.
5. James Wan
I’ve never seen any movies directed by James Wan before Aquaman but his directorial vision is phenomenal. The moment I was blown away by his style of directing is that first action scene featuring Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman.) The way he throws the viewer around the room as he swung the camera here and there, angling the camera in unique ways so we can watch the fight pan out in a virtual reality-esque way was truly awesome. And that wasn’t the only time he found ways for the camera to help tell the story.
His vision for this film was outstanding and I hope to see him return for another DCEU movie in the future.
These five aspects of Aquaman are what stood out to me the most and what has left me still praising the film for its outstanding quality. If this is just the tip of the iceberg of the DCEU then I can’t wait to see what the future has to bring.
Aquaman is playing in cinemas worldwide now.
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