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Wick's Review

Created Dec 30, 2018 07:40AM PST • Edited Feb 11, 2019 04:32AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. OK 2.5

    Aquaman is a whole lotta waterlogged cheese, almost 2½ hours worth. It’s not a bad movie and certainly an OK time at the movies, but is kinda turgid, as DC movies so often are. Fortunately, the cast saves the day, starting with Jason Momoa, who makes a compelling superhero, if not an especially charming one.

    Speaking of the charm deficit, this oh-so-serious DC movie features zero comic relief, notwithstanding Momoa’s steady stream of tough-guy bon mots, not a one of them especially witty, let alone LOL funny.

    The movie gets old early. At the onset of yet another battle, this one between a fish army and a crustacean army, I found myself not caring who’d win, instead thinking “Oh no, not another cliche CGI battle”.

    On the plus side, nice touch to anchor the movie on a female superhero, especially the great Nicole Kidman as the Queen of Atlantis. Amber Heard plays the other major female character. But, she ain’t no Kidman.

    In the end, the pluses balance out the minuses leaving Aquaman a just OK movie.

  3. Good 3.0

    Jason Momoa’s been Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian on the big screen, and spent several years in red swim trunks on Baywatch, so he’s a natural to play both Aquaman and his human alter-ego Arthur Curry. The hair-tossing is a bit much, plus he’s not given a great line in the entire damn movie, but there’s no doubt Momoa’s the heman for the job.

    • Nicole Kidman opens the movie on an elevated star-plane as Queen Atlanna, who deigns to procreate with a human. He’s played winningly by New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison.
    • Amber Heard doesn’t disappoint, but doesn’t dazzle either, in a role that’s supposed to be dazzling.
    • Willem Dafoe delivers a rare disappointing performance as a king’s counselor.
    • Patrick Wilson is more stolid than steely as a king gone bad.
    • Dolph Lundgren fills up his helmet with lots of chin as another king in the UN of Atlantis.
    • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II disappoints as Manta, the primary villain. An avenger movie – which superhero movies are, even if this isn’t The Avengers – needs a great villain. Manta isn’t.
    • Michael Beach is always strong, and largely wasted here as Manta’s father.
    • Randall Park chews scenery in his few scenes, and is then setup to appear in the inevitable sequel, along with Manta.
  4. Male Stars Very Good 3.5
  5. Female Stars OK 2.5
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Good 3.0
  8. OK 2.5

    James Wan’s film includes some poor choices.

    • Why have American pirates storm a Russian submarine and then gun down its crew? Having Russians be the innocent victims of Americans is odd and off-putting. Did Putin finance this film?
    • Then there’s the Blame People First phenomenon gone badly wrong. The film blames “surface people” for the earth’s ills, including war and pollution, and yet the überhuman Atlantians display more conspicuous consumption than Vegas, L.A. and New York combined. What, don’t they poop? Even in a live action cartoon, such internal contradictions get in the way of entertainment.
  9. Direction Very Good 3.5
  10. Play Bad 1.0

    Script quality is where DC can’t hold a candle to Marvel, whose movies are powerful and funny. Outside of The Dark Knight and Wonder Woman, Aquaman is kinda the desultory norm for DC.

  11. Music Barely OK 2.0
  12. Visuals Very Good 3.5

    60 stuntmen + countless digital artists and CGI techs

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.0
  15. Sex Titillating 1.6
  16. Violence Brutal 2.6
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.9
  18. Fantasy 4.7

    As always in superhero movies, Conservation of Energy is roundly abused.

  19. Circumstantial Fantasy 4.1
  20. Biological Fantasy 5.0
  21. Physical Fantasy 5.0

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