‘Aquaman’ falls below expectations

DC continues to produce mediocre movies

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‘Aquaman’ falls below expectations

Fair use from Warner Bros.

Fair use from Warner Bros.

Fair use from Warner Bros.

Fair use from Warner Bros.

Megan Raatz

Going to see “Aquaman,” I knew it wasn’t going to be the best movie ever, but I still came out of the theater disappointed. DC Comics’ newest attempt at putting some backstory behind its Justice League characters falls so terribly short even a wet shirtless Jason Momoa can’t save it.

If you’re one to watch the trailers before going to a movie, I assure you “Aquaman” offers nothing more than what you have already seen. Arthur Curry (Momoa) is born from the illicit relationship between lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) and Atlanna, queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman). Arthur shows no interest in learning about his Atlantean heritage, focusing most of his energy on saving submarines and drinking at the local bar. That is, until the fiery aquatic redhead Princess Mera swims into his life informing him of his half-brother Orm’s plans to take over the surface world. In turn, this leads to a gladiator battle between the brothers and a quest for the world’s most powerful trident.

The movie just can’t seem to figure out if it wants to be silly or serious, leaving it in the no man’s land DC films often find themselves in. The movie demands Orm to be seen as a formidable villain, while giving him a cartoonish shark mask and the absurd desire to become “Ocean Master.” The dialogue throughout the entire movie is clunky, leaving me wondering if I should be laughing with the movie or at it.

Aesthetically, the movie excels. The underwater scenery is eye-catching, and a Lord of the Rings-esque battle containing great white sharks and giant crabs is enjoyable to watch. While the effect of the actors hair floating around screen looks a bit cheesy and can be distracting, it ends up being endearing in a way only bad movie effects can be.

The film is two hours and 22 minutes and you can feel every second of it. Even with all that time the scenes feel rushed, leaving the plot undercooked and at times hard to follow. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays the part of Black Manta, the vengeful underwater pirate who blames Aquaman for his father’s death, and in turn, takes up way more screen time than is necessary for the plot. Not to mention his costume looks more like something out of Ant Man with its gigantic metal dome head and laser-shooting bug eyes.

The fact that the plot is a jumbled mess is not a problem in itself, in fact, the movie would have been more enjoyable to watch if it let itself go. The problem is that it was overambitious in its storytelling and world-building only to skip right over what it worked so hard on in the end.

“Aquaman:” ★★☆☆☆

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